At the Lundquist College of Business, going "green" means more than sporting University of Oregon colors and supporting the Ducks. The college's Lillis Business Complex, recognized as the most environmentally friendly business school facility in the country, is a model of green building design, according to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. And just recently, the business school's Sustainable Supply Chain Management Center (SSCM) partnered with window covering manufacturer Hartmann & Forbes (H&F) to launch an enterprising recycling initiative as part of that company's Project Green.
H&F's Take-Back initiative collects used shades from consumers for recycling. Shades that have reached the end of their useful life are sent to the company (it will even accept its competitors' natural shades) and disassembled. The resulting components are then either recycled or composted. SSCM worked with H&F to develop the process and policies guiding the Take-Back initiative. The initiative is the final step in Project Green, the company's entrepreneurial effort to bring to market fourteen new organic shade weaves using bamboo, grasses, jutes, and river reeds.
"This project is a wonderful example of how SSCM builds connections with the business community to foster new experiential learning opportunities for students," said Charles H. Lundquist Professor of Sustainable Management Mike Russo, the founding director of the center. Russo worked closely with H&F President and Founder Mike Jones, M.B.A. '01, to launch the project. M.B.A. students are currently working with H&F to analyze additional aspects of Project Green and how the company might further improve its manufacturing processes.
Russo also espoused the benefits that companies gain from partnering with SSCM. Among the benefits to H&F, Russo explained, is that the collaboration helped the company become the first in its industry to develop a complete cradle-to-cradle product life cycle. This has enabled H&F to establish a first-to-market position that meets the burgeoning green building industry's demand for sustainable window treatments.
"Hartmann & Forbes was founded on the principles of environmental responsibility. But when we decided to move from principles to practice, we knew we needed some expertise. Mike and the Sustainable Supply Chain Management Center provide that expertise and helped us refine the most aggressive environmental policies and procedures in the business," said Jones. He hopes other businesses will follow his company's lead in developing sustainable business solutions.
"We're a small company, but our influence on the environment can still be significant if it starts a change in both manufacturer and consumer behavior," he concluded.