Monday, September 14, 2009

Calling Your Business Green Doesn't Make It So

A bad photograph of my beautiful business cards.

The Milkweed Mercantile is a proud member of Green America. Someday, when we get all components of the business up and running, we'll have that little Green America icon on our home page. Until then, I pay my annual dues, read the material, and follow along on the Green America Green Business Network email posts.

A recent post was a request for a green printer. I am happy for this opportunity to sing the praises of a truly green printer, to cheer on those who are striving to "do it right" and to vent about a huge pet peeve.

I have a lot of "green" friends, who are doing their darndest to run "green" businesses. But it always strikes me as odd when they ask me for a "cheap green printer" or, even worse, a "cheap" printer. As in, "My green values are important until it comes to my wallet, and if no one knows that I used a cheap (i.e. non-union, non-ecologically sound) printer, well, that's OK!"

When I was a kid my mom used to tell me "If something is worth doing, it's worth doing well." At the time I rolled my eyes, but I think she was on to something. We'll never change the world by taking shortcuts on the things that might not show.

When it came time to have business materials for the Mercantile printed, I chose to go with Consolidated Printing in Chicago (another Green America member). On the back of my card I requested a union bug, a women owned business logo, and a Printed Green logo. It is important to me that those I do business with are clear about my standards and hopefully, my integrity.

Consolidated was a breeze to work with - we are located in rural Northeast Missouri, and handled all transactions easily by phone and internet. The jobs were printed beautifully and delivered early. I may not always get it right, but in this instance, I think I did. Here's to Green America and its members, working hard to change the world by changing the way the world does business!

September 15th Addendum: Thanks to all of those who emailed regarding green printers. There are a number of EXCELLENT green printers everywhere, doing fine printing work and ecological activism. If you are in the Rochester, New York area, I recommend calling Monroe Litho - they really walk their talk! They are the first SGP (Sustainable Green Printer) in the Northeast and belong to FSC, SFI. They run on 100% wind power and constantly strive to make their"foot print" smaller and recycle everything. Yay!


  1. Really appreciate that you are "walking the walk" in all aspects of the business to earn a true green title for the business.

  2. That's great to hear. Thanks for sharing.

    Now if we can only get the printing and flexible packaging industry to use water-based products instead of solvents.


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