Do people really care where their stuff comes from?

Members of the Lulu team recently attended the 12th annual Sustainable Business and Social Impact Conference (SBSI) sponsored by Duke University.  Lulu COO, Kathy Hensgen participated in a panel discussion titled “Responsible Consumption and Production – Do People Really Care Where Their Stuff Comes From?”

Katie Kross, the Managing Director of Duke University’s Center for Energy, Development, and the Global Environment (EDGE), led the conversation with representatives from Walmart, Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, Burt’s Bees, and Lulu. Each participant provided a unique perspective on their social and environmental impacts.

As part of the discussion, Hensgen explained that Lulu’s path to sustainability began in 2002 following Bob Young’s experience publishing traditionally. When all was said and done, he did all the work, got paid the least, and ended up with a garage full of books his contract required him to purchase as stock. In response, Young launched Lulu, a DIY print-on-demand publisher. The print-on-demand model removes the burden of maintaining a book inventory allowing authors and institutions to print only the books they need at any given time. He later learned that nearly 40% of all traditionally published print books do not sell and are eventually returned for pulping and recycling.  So not only did his print-on-demand model benefit authors, it also benefited the environment by preserving our natural resources.

Contributing to Lulu’s sustainability initiative, our global print partners are contractually obligated to manufacture books with a 0.5% defect rate or lower. This not only ensures high quality books, but also reduces waste by eliminating rework and reprints. Lulu books are printed on paper that is Forest Stewardship Council certified meaning suppliers must follow good harvesting practices.

Panel participants. Kathy Hensgen is seated on the far right.

 

Following the completion of our B Corp certification, Lulu remains committed to a path of continuous improvement with a strong focus on the environment. In addition to our sustainable business practices, Lulu recently relocated to an energy-efficient building, uses eco-friendly office products, has implemented robust recycling programs (including composting). We are now also purchasing renewable energy credits and working with our supply chain to improve their environmental impact.

We think people do actually care where their products come from. Sustainability is not always easy, but we believe that even small steps and improvements make a big impact over time. In all we do, our goal is to be better than yesterday, everyday.

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5 Comments

  1. susan turner

    Hi there, I am thinking about writing an auto-biography and was wondering if you could help or advice me on what the basic steps are and if anyone would even be interested to read it. I have tried to sell a main event of the story to magazines but unfortunately they are unwanted due to the event taking place in 1998. Historic they said. I don’t know really how to put pen to paper. Any advice or help would be most appreciated.

    Many Thanks.
    S. Turner

  2. Glenn@Lulu

    Hi Susan
    If you are a celebrity, your autobiography or memoir may have a wide audience. If not, your story may have only local or family interest, but writing it ensures your story, written in your words, will live on. My advice would be to sit down and think about the highlights of your story and how each of them moved you forward. I wrote an article last year about memoirs that you may find helpful, here is a link: http://www.lulu.com/blog/2016/05/memoirs-if-you-dont-tell-your-story-who-will/

  3. Hi Susan Turner,
    I think it’s great that you feel compelled to record beautiful moments that made up your life. This is wonderful! I would first get the thoughts out of your head and written. Make that first brain dump – the ugly first draft. From there you can step back, look at what you have written and decide what your purpose is. If your desire is to provide value to others, who? Is there a way you can tell your story that would relate to a specific group of people who would also enjoy reading it and be willing to buy it? Are you committed to telling your story exactly as it happened or adding in a little fun or history that may relate better to others?
    If you have something written down, you can get real feedback that will help you along the writing process. If all in your imagination, nothing will happen. Sometimes just beginning…beginning to write…can help you to know what is possible. By beginning, you will also discover if you even like writing or not! It may not be a money maker, but you sure will learn a lot about yourself, possibly learn another skill, and for sure have your memories documented for yourself (and family) which would be lovely to read any time you want. If you have time and the desire to write, you can’t go wrong by beginning something new.

  4. Hi have sent email regarding printing of A4 Landscape Books in colour , 140 pages , 150 GSM plus , minus with Hard cover, Have had No reply as yet, i need a price for 1 book and for 10 books, i live in BRISBANE AUSTRALIA , where are your nearest offices to me , many thanks MICHAEL
    I sent email to you on the 18 th of FEB , thank you

  5. Kevin

    When I read the headline for this at first I thought it may be about imports, but it seems not.

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