MCD is a 30-year-old manufacturer of graphic arts products and print finishing located on the southeast side of Madison. We specialize in creating eye-catching and differentiated printed communications pieces. Our products include the manufacture of book and catalog covers, stationery products, pocket folders, brochures, direct mail products and point-of-purchase display products, Our processes include die cutting, embossing, foil stamping, laminating, and folding and gluing. We have 70 team members and produce on a 6-day, 3-shift schedule.
Our company’s vision and values includes learning how to operate in an environmentally sustainable way as well as growing a company where people can be involved in creating their future. We have accomplished a number of projects related to sustainability. They include extensive recycling, plant re-lighting, operational control using an energy monitoring system, and motor upgrades to energy efficient alternatives.
In order to take the next steps and to go deeper into operational changes towards operating sustainably, we would like to undertake a study of all material flows in and out of our company. In each case we would like to know how much of a particular material comes into our plant, what more sustainable alternatives we have, and what materials flow out of our plant and the alternatives we have. Many of our outgoing materials are recycled today, however we believe that there may be recycling streams of more value.
We would like the project to list and measure these flows and to help us prioritize the opportunities on the basis of which have the greatest impact and which are most doable. Examples of incoming materials are foil, chipboard, customer stock, corrugated boxes, UV coatings, laminate, skids, skid wrapping, copper and brass tooling, etc. Examples of outgoing materials are paper scrap, foil scrap, metal skid strapping, stretch wrap, copper and brass, etc.
In addition to the material flows, we see next phases of this work including the location of our suppliers and how we can buy local, and also energy flows in and out of the company. We would like the project to anticipate these future phases.
Artamos Meats, Inc. is looking for help to boost sales and clientele base. Being that we are a very young company our marketing budget is limited. We are compiling an email list of our current customers and are also looking into advertising on a neighborhood and local level i.e., church bulletins. I would like to be able to advertise a senior discount day and offer some sort of discount on fresh meat purchases. It is important, I think, for us to find a better way to advertise the personal and environmental health benefits of organic meat products and in doing so make it easier for people to look past some of the “sticker shock” that comes with shopping for organic products. We would also like to target the average consumer looking for a delicious cut of meat, someone who may not be concerned about the social implications of organics, but is looking for the best tasting meat available. We would also like to find a way to broadly advertise an end of the month freezer sale each month that would offer 20% off the sticker price of any pre-packaged items in our storage freezer.
Good Harvest Market is a brand new business enterprise. In order to provide superior service, they want to develop consistent values among employees, and a consistent message on the background and purpose of the store and the things that they sell. Ideally, this message would be delivered in a fun way, so the entire process of designing and developing an employee training program should be included in the final recommendations.
Nightly newscasts report on the stock market and the GDP. But do these common measures really tell us how society is faring? Northwest Environment Watch, a Seattle-based think tank, doesn’t think so. In early March, it released its first annual Cascadia Scorecard, intended as a better assessment of the overall well-being of the Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia). On four of six measures, the region is improving: protecting and managing forests, containing sprawl, lowering birth rates, and improving life expectancy. On the other two — economic security and energy efficiency — little progress is being made. “There’s an old adage in business that what gets measured gets fixed,” said NEW’s Clark Williams-Derry. The report is intended to help the region build “a way of life that can last, where the human economy is reconciled with the natural systems that support it — where people are doing fine and nature is, too,” he said.
The purpose of this project is to create interest in such a scorecard for Madison. You will need to identify who would carry the message of this scorecard, how the information would be obtained, how the information would be disseminated, etc. This project is a little more vague, and will require some development of the client.
Marvelous Batiks is a small, artist led business which currently employs fifteen young workers and trains other textile artists with a relationship from a local vocational school. Flotea Massawe, the artist who developed the business has developed a business plan, and has secured working capital and production equipment and facilities. The products include table linens, clothing, batiks, pillow covers, table runners, wall hangings and curtains. The designs use traditional techniques to produce designs adapted to suit a Western market. In order to grow beyond her current production level, Ms. Massawe needs to develop sustainable markets in Europe and the United States. As she told us in a recent visit, “ please help me grow our markets. Every additional young person I employ is one who does not have to sell his or her body on the street and face certain death from AIDS. “
You will be asked to identify potential markets, match product and pricing to the market, and determine a fair, marketable price.
San Francisco pioneered precaution as an overarching philosophy for guiding local government policy. In Seattle, a Precautionary Principle Working Group has proposed the precautionary principle as an overarching guide. Purchasing policies are an easy place for local governments to start taking precautionary action. They can look at their supplies and ask “are we buying the least harmful product?” These sorts of questions could be asked for every product a government buys. Because governments buy so many supplies and services, they could leverage their purchasing power and push for least harmful alternatives and bring down the cost of these alternatives for other governments and for the average consumer. Your project would be to lay the foundation for introducing the concept of a precautionary principle in Madison. You will need to not only understand the precautionary principle, but find someone on the city council – or Mayor’s office – who will introduce and fight for the idea.