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Sustainability, industry trends, and rooftop revels

December 1st, 2018 / By: / Editorial

“It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.”  ~Ansel Adams

Just in case you missed the recent announcement: IFAI’s offices in Roseville, Minn., have just installed solar energy panels on the (flat) roof to reduce energy usage, and possibly even sell some of it back to the grid. “One of our core values is to reduce our environmental footprint, and the solar array is a big step. We will be able to decrease our reliance on electricity and reinvest the savings in our members,” says IFAI president and CEO Steve Schiffman. Projected savings over the next 20 years is $85,000.

IFAI is also now partnering with APPI Energy, with the goal of providing members with data-driven consulting solutions, designed to help them save time and increase budget certainty on the energy procurement process. APPI can help members by recommending when to buy energy, and which contract length is best.

Every year at this time, I start reviewing 2018 business, societal and planetary trends (after all, if we wreck this one, where are we going to go?), to see how our editorial coverage is measuring up. At IFAI Expo 2018 last month in Dallas, presentations and discussions were focused on those trends—like automation, trade issues and re-shoring, employee shortages and training opportunities, high-tech fabrics and equipment—but also on the basics of business, like lean manufacturing, testing and productivity and multigenerational workplaces.

To my regret, I couldn’t make it to the show this year—but based on what I heard, the topic of cradle-to-grave sustainability wasn’t getting top billing any more. That may be because it’s now everyone’s goal, and we’re all just finalizing the details.

I hope so. But it’s one of my goals to make sure that we’re giving this topic a lot of coverage in the Review in 2019. If you’ve got a sustainability story to tell, like the one from IFAI, you’ve got an audience. Let me give you some publicity? I can’t promise to send you my “Earth Day 1970” button, but I can get your name into print.

Next month in this space, I’ll be focusing on 2019 business, societal and planetary trends … and questions like: “How do we try to support local businesses when possible, while recognizing that most commerce is now global?” Both consumers and businesses have some choices to make.

The January issue will also feature articles on women in the industry, and will be distributed at IFAI’s Women in Textiles Summit (WITS), March 6–8, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency Savannah, Savannah, Ga. Those are some stories I really look forward to hearing; they’ll generate their own brand of electricity, and I don’t anticipate any power shortages.

In the meantime, I need to check with building maintenance and see if IFAI’s new solar collectors have still left room for a dance floor up there. Even in Minnesota, roofs aren’t used just to keep the snow off of our computers. We’ve got another year to celebrate.

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