By Marie Clapper
I recently toured the new Menasha Packaging headquarters in Neenah, Wisconsin. It is really an amazing place — beautiful, architecturally exciting, and sustainable.
Packaging and Displays — How It All Began for Menasha
When I learned that originally Menasha was a wooden pail factory, I thought, “What an unusual start for a packaging company.” But then I discovered that back in 1849 when the company began, barrels and other wooden packaging were the dominant means of shipping goods to market. So Menasha’s journey over these past 167 years has a logic to it.
Sustainability at the Forefront
Almost from day one of that journey, Menasha’s commitment to the environment has been part of its culture. Since Menasha is a manufacturing company, it carefully monitor its energy and water consumption as well as their waste. In addition, the company has a number of strategies to improve its environmental performance, and I saw its commitment to the environment up close and personal when I visited.
Here are a couple of sustainable highlights (some big, some small) that I noticed and admired.
- New forklifts. A few years ago, the company began to replace propane-powered forklifts with electric ones that help reduce their carbon impact. That technology alone delivers more than $3,000 a month in combined energy savings.
- Transparency. The company chooses to report its emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), an independent nonprofit holding the world’s largest database of primary corporate climate change information. The company also publishes a yearly Corporate Social Responsibility Report which features its scorecard for water, waste, and carbon emissions reduction.
- Recycle city. Employees are provided with recycling bins to properly recycle paper and cans. Plastic water bottles have been replaced with water dispensers. And more and more recycled material is used in its product manufacturing.
- Special calculator. Customers can evaluate the environmental impact of new packaging designs with an Environmental Sustainability Calculator from Menasha Packaging. The calculator compares possible design solutions and gives back savings data and environmental information. Bonus: It’s easy to understand!
- No paper zone. My personal favorite on my visit was learning that there are no wastebaskets at the desks! Talk about getting your employees to think sustainably.
Menasha’s commitment to the environment runs deep. They don’t apply sustainability like a cosmetic that makes them more attractive to others. Sustainability is part of them; it’s part of their core.
The company recognizes that it needs to be sustainable to ensure it maintains the capacity, people, and skills to live up to its commitments and deliver the outstanding care its customers expect. Menasha also participates in third-party collaborations that instill customer confidence. It uses certified material sourcing, monitors impacts using the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative, and operates under internationally recognized quality standards.
As they say, Menasha Is the Complete Package. I think they are that for the environment, too.