November 17, 2022

How Technology Helps Sustainability Initiatives Thrive

Technology and sustainability are inextricably linked. Cloud-based digital platforms enable advanced levels of productivity and efficiency, thereby serving as a catalyst for meeting sustainability goals. Automating tasks and reducing time, effort, and errors minimizes waste and therefore energy usage. So, how can businesses integrate technology with sustainability?

Esko sat down with Marek Skrzynski, VP Technology & Innovation at CSW Inc., to discuss their sustainability goals and successes. In this session of Esko’s Sustainability Series, CSW Inc. shared how taking an early, technology-led approach helped their business to not only become more sustainable, but to also deliver additional business benefits.

The Not-So-Obvious

Skrzynski explained sustainability means something different to everyone. For brands and suppliers, it means becoming leaner and more innovative to limit redundancies and touchpoints, consume fewer resources and energy, and standardize and unify operations. Doing this successfully helps companies achieve the sustainability their consumers want. And, at the same time, companies can achieve real, profitable benefits. This was CSW’s experience. 

Setting Sustainability Goals 

CSW digitally transformed all of their business operations and locations to emphasize sustainability and innovation. CSW’s initial sustainability KPIs included an environmental management plan with aggressive goals that evolved over time. For example, their initial 3-year plan was to reduce power consumption by 5% every year. They then wanted to transition 15% of that consumption to renewable resources. This led to the use of low impact and recyclable materials, reducing the output of waste including CO2, wastewater, and solid waste streams. Overall, CSW reduced solid waste streams by 40%. Additionally, they reduced trash containers by 50%, resulting in a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. 

Investing in New Technology  

Previously, CSW used physical mockups in their product development process. However, during the pandemic, they converted to virtual CGI renders to produce enough 3D mockups to send to consumers. Going digital allowed them to create faster with more accuracy. 

Additionally, CSW utilized this new, cloud-based technology to reduce ink usage. Inks are dirty materials. CSW uses Esko’s WebCenter to help customers reduce their ink usage by identifying the best type of printing for their needs. A report is then created via WebCenter’s Automation Engine calculating how much ink is required. These pre-production calculations result in reduced material usage, waste, costs and, overall, a smaller carbon footprint. 

Of providing these estimations to customers, Skrzynski notes, “This is a big process. We showcase different scenarios to customers so that we can see and predict how much material they are going to use with each option. That saves them material and costs. It’s a more efficient process to reduce waste in the life cycle.” 

 

A Systemic Approach

Technology results in decision making that is ultimately more sustainable. It unlocks new capabilities for the measurement and tracking of environmental and social impacts across value chains and improves management and investment decisions to increase performance against sustainability goals. 

Per Skrzynski, “It’s this combination of process automation, data transparency, and circular service design that is helping us to become more sustainable.” In particular, CSW has achieved: 

  • More customer focus – “We have more focus on customer relationships because we have removed manual effort”
  • Higher quality output – “CSW further reduce the number of touchpoints and can deliver faster to the customer and to a higher quality”
  • Enhanced employee morale – “We have redeployed team members off menial tasks to focus on more profitable areas of the business. Its putting less stress on people who can engage in the more profitable parts of the business”

Food for Thought - The CSW Experience

CSW is a perfect example of how companies can become more sustainable while maintaining profitability through the use of technology. Skrzynski offers this advice, “Start small. Define goals…don’t just follow trends… Automate [and integrate] anything you can, [and] remove redundant things [because] more efficiency reduces waste. We must keep learning, adapting, and changing to survive and meet the changes as our world adapts and grows.” Want to learn more about CSW’s experience? Watch the webinar replay!

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