This article is part of a series on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that features RV Industry Association members who are leading the way with impressive CSR efforts in our industry. Grand Design RV’s Facilities and Operations Director Ann Spratt shares how the company has made efforts in corporate social responsibility with the implementation of impressive recycling programs. Check it out!

CSR COMPONENT - SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENTAL PRACTICES

One component of CSR is a company’s focus on sustainable environmental practices. This can include reducing energy use or conserving energy, lowering emissions and reducing waste, while at the same time addressing larger supply chain issues like workers’ rights and procurement transparency.

The RV industry overall has been a leader in helping conserve and improve our natural environments by partnering with local, state and federal agencies on projects and policies supporting America’s impressive system of public parks. The industry also constitutes an important part of the $734 billion outdoor recreation economy in America and takes our role as a member of the outdoor recreation community seriously. However, we need to be conscious of the “greenness” of the entire lifecycle of our products as environmental legislation may seek to target industries that may be viewed as not “green enough.” 

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THE POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY

Talk of climate change and a growing trend towards supporting green industries have continually made recent national and local news. For example, there has been a lot of attention on reportedly large amounts of plastics accumulating in the ocean, sometimes resulting in knee-jerk political responses that affect every-day businesses and consumers like banning plastic bags and straws in municipalities across the U.S. Additionally, a sweeping package of federal environmental reform known as the Green New Deal continues to be debated by presidential candidates and supported by the progressive wing of Congressional Democrats.

It is important to share with Members of Congress and state legislatures—particularly those interested in progressive environmental legislation—the RV industry’s innovation in energy efficiency, product lifecycle consideration, reducing a plant’s carbon footprint, environmental education of RV consumers, and other “green” activities that highlight the industry’s successes in self-regulation and innovation.

The ability to contextualize political issues with real-life examples of manufacturers and suppliers who are thinking “green” significantly enhances the standing of the RV industry in relation to these issues, as well as the ability of the RV Industry Association’s government affairs team to advocate for you and your companies.

An RV Industry Association member that has already implemented some impressive recycling efforts is Grand Design RV.

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RECYCLING WITH GRAND DESIGN

Grand Design RV, a manufacturer of RVs based in Middlebury, Ind., began their recycling program for two reasons:

“Why did we start recycling? Well, we of course wanted to be ecologically aware, but we also looked at a recycling program from a business perspective and moved  forward after doing a cost-benefit analysis .” – Ann Spratt, Facilities and Operations Director, Grand Design RV 

For those that may balk at the increased cost that may come with implementing a recycling program, it is important to note that it is less expensive to recycle when you include rebates and a reduction in waste charges for your facility. Each state, county or municipality may have different rebates, grants or other incentives for companies to participate in a recycling program, so check with your local area’s governing bodies for what may be available to your company. Recycle Indiana is a great place to start for companies located in Indiana.

“We believe that every company has an obligation to have a sustainability plan and whenever possible eliminate and/or reduce materials going to the landfill.” – Jerry McCarthy, Vice President-Service Operations, Grand Design RV

Grand Design RV recycles a wide range of materials, diverting approximately 4,000 tons of recyclables that would have otherwise been sent to the landfill. These items include cardboard, wood scraps, foam, plastic, copper wire and sheet iron.

Addressing the stigma that recycling means significant labor increases has also been a priority for Grand Design RV. If done right, additional labor can be mitigated and easily offset by rebates and cost avoidance of not sending recyclable materials to the landfill.

How much is your company spending sending waste to the landfill? Find out the True Cost of Commercial Waste Disposal, here.

Are there CSR initiatives underway at your company? Would you like those efforts to be featured in an upcoming RV Industry Association spotlight in this series? Contact Ashley Brinkman at [email protected] with the government affairs team today to start a discussion!