Business-specific sustainability thrives through partnerships and collaboration. Collaboration enables organizations and businesses to learn from one another, support each other’s initiatives, and help proliferate best practices amongst the wider business community.
Recently, a small sustainability-focused initiative was conducted through a partnership between Keurig, Kotmo, and Credo in an effort to exemplify sustainable business collaboration in action.
Keurig had contracted Kotmo to design and provide drink coasters made from recycled acrylic, made of 30% post-consumer acrylic and 70% post-manufacturing acrylic waste (learn more about the project here). The high standards for the product increased the complexity of the work, however the challenge was enthusiastically received by the Kotmo team.
Post-production: 30 coasters remained with slight blemishes that didn’t meet Kotmo’s high quality standards. In an effort to find a way to use the extras and divert them from landfill, Kotmo looked towards corporate partnership to help capture value from the remaining products.
After a collaborative conversation, Keurig agreed and endorsed the idea of donating the extra products to La Gare, a non-profit shared workspace, associated with Credo, a Montreal B Corp.
“Yes of course, that’s a great idea,” responded Marie-Anne Champoux-Guimond, Keurig’s sustainability and strategic partnerships advisor. Soon after her enthusiastic approval, the coasters were delivered and immediately put to use under mugs of fresh Keurig coffee at La Gare.
Lessons provided by sustainability partnerships
Prioritizing sustainability doesn’t end at production. For Keurig, their commitment to sustainability did not end by commissioning the production of a product made from recycled materials. It extended to post-production waste reduction and community engagement. By willingly engaging in this collaboration, Keurig limited the overall impacts of their project, and created an opportunity for Kotmo to do the same.
Keurig and Kotmo were able to come together and apply a shared value system to utilize products that would have otherwise been thrown away. The partnership was able to occur as a result of Keurig’s comprehensive commitment to sustainable business, and the belief by all parties that sustainable production, and support of the local economy were worthy of time spent planning and implementing the project. Even though this was a small partnership, it provides two lessons that are important to acknowledge within the business community.
- Sustainability initiatives can spread awareness about certain realities existing in modern business operations. In this case, Kotmo and Keurig faced the reality of waste management within product design and creation. Kotmo, by acknowledging the extra materials utilized by the production process, was able to see a problem, turn it into an opportunity and strategize solutions. Relatedly, by acknowledging the positive impacts on the community and the environment enabled by redirecting the extra products to a community organization, Keurig was able to help lessen the impacts of their product.
- Managing a sustainable business means increasing complexities and timescales. By devoting time and resources into sustainability, Kotmo, Credo, and Keurig are required to think about more variables than an average company and on a longer time frame. Keurig wanted to build a product out of 100% recycled acrylic while limiting overall impacts during production; Kotmo wanted to eliminate waste and utilize responsible materials; and Credo wanted to provide a viable home for extra products that allowed them to provide value instead of taking up space in a landfill. All of these objectives meant each company had to solve problems with solutions that were designed with the future in mind.
As a certified B Corp, Kotmo is fully aware of the challenges that can arise when a business decides to operate sustainably. Money, people, and planet can become difficult to manage at the same time. What Kotmo, Credo, and Keurig have exemplified is that there is always a way to improve the way you do business. By working together, each business played an important role in supporting their business, their community, and their planet.
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