How to be a Truly Sustainable Business

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Pinball eco friendly printing / printer PortlandIn these turbulent economic times, there’s two major approaches that can happen: tighten everything down and hope you survive, or create new opportunities, within your business or in a whole new one.

For those that choose the second option, there are several interesting paths to follow, and many places to find ideas to inspire which one you choose. Springwise is my favorite, with thousands of trend spotters around the world, writing brief, engaging pieces on companies expanding what’s possible. For quick scanning, they’re categorized by type, as in Eco & Sustainability, Style & Design, Non-profit & Social Cause, and Life Hacks.

This piece on Scout Books, sustainably made custom designed journals created for what Springwise calls “minipreneurs” is one example. Though this article was focused on how Pinball Publishing enables ecologically minded artists and innovative swag seekers to create high quality journals to their specifications in a relatively small run, suitable for selling on Etsy stores and the like, it was when I looked further at Pinball itself that I saw a dynamic business model well suited for these times. [social_buttons]

They are primarily a printing press, and from the looks of it deeply committed to both their customer’s satisfaction and the environment, for longer and more broadly then recently “greening” printers.

Beyond that, making efficient use of their own resources and I imagine the creative Portland community around them, they have their own designer card series which serve as a creative way to promote both their particularly high quality single job printing and the artist who created the design for the card. Tenth & Grant are their own original paper goods creations. Using their design & printing talent in a whole different arena, they’ve got a small record label, Bangback Records.

And they don’t keep all the business to themselves. Their resource page has a huge, attractively laid out list of creative professional/service companies.

In doing that, they are not dependent on any one stream of income. If printing orders are down at the moment, they could focus more energy on their own efforts. But when you step back from it, this multi-community connecting is a wise business move, as several different markets are made familiar with and want to support this business that seems clearly in support of their client’s success as well.

Now that’s a sustainable business.

Readers: What other examples of cross sector sustainable businesses have you seen? Comment below please