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Sustainability 2008

Sustainability 2008

Table of Contents Kindermusik & Sustainability: a note from Michael Dougherty . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 At-a-Glance: Accomplishments, Challenges & Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6–7 Our Commitment to Sustainability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Our Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Carbon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16–18 Facilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Our Environmental Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 The Future of “Green” at Kindermusik . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23




Kindermusik & Sustainability I am proud to introduce Kindermusik’s first report on sustainability to our community of educators, parents, and partners. Now in our thirtieth year, Kindermusik International has focused on exceptional educational materials from our earliest days. We have created and brought to classrooms the world over a body of work that has transformed music education and informed teaching methods and parenting skills. Our energy for continuing to adapt and improve these materials is renewed each time we hear a child ask: “Mommy, is today a Kindermusik day?” Yet we have come to know we have a responsibility beyond the classroom. With the publication of this first report on sustainability, we turn our attention to becoming a small company that is truly a model for others who seek to make a responsible profit while honoring its people and its planet. In 2002, we took a first bold step by becoming 100% employee-owned. Fewer than one percent of small companies in the U.S. go to this length to ensure that each and every employee shares fully in the benefits of ownership. Our educators and parents have the comfort of knowing that each product and class experience is shaped by the hands of an owner who believes passionately in the benefits of music education. We are guided by core values at Kindermusik International, the first of which is “We do what is best for parent and child.” In these days in which so many companies are focused on the “quick buck,” our owners consistently strive to make choices for the long term. There is so much more we can do. As a publisher, we face both challenges and opportunities in limiting the environmental impact of our products and packaging. Though we are small, we do serve educators and parents in over seventy countries; we must attempt to limit the carbon footprint created by movement of physical product. We believe that the most effective solution is reduction, that the most effective recycling is reuse, and that we can have a positive impact by making better choices in design and in raw material selection. Finally, as educational publishers, we must help the children and families we serve to see the good we can do together in our stewardship of planet Earth. Michael Dougherty CEO, Kindermusik International 5

At-a-Glance: Accomplishments, Challenges & Goals First Steps • Personnel • Behaviors survey • Communications: parents/public, educators, employee-owners • Packaging reduction: CD sleeves • Reduce, reuse • Green purchasing • Green cleaning • Carbon footprint • Carbon reduction: Renewable Energy Certificates • Sustainability report


ng the Tal alki k W • Trickle-down constituency • Print reduction: curriculum materials • Packaging reduction: curriculum packaging • Recycling • Carbon reduction • Personal carbon reduction options • Quantify and reduce office-related waste • Product grid • Statement of environmental policy

the Running n I • Shipping reduction • Carbon footprint: manufacturing • Facilities assessment • Environmental philanthropy


Behaviors survey An in-house behaviors and values survey has helped us determine where we stand, as a corporate culture, on issues of sustainability. We’ve quantified where there is most interest and energy; where there are background gaps, and where there are the biggest opportunities for change.

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Trickle-down constituency The “footprint” of our corporate facilities is only part of what we want to reduce, and is indeed relatively small in comparison to the larger global footprint of the Kindermusik name and brand—namely the footprint of our educators and the parents and children they know and teach.

Percentage of employees

Personnel To ensure that sustainability is a nuts-and-bolts, best-practices, walk-the-talk priority that takes root across all teams and operations in the company, we have dedicated a staff member to sustainability issues.

I think sustainability is an important issue to our customers: 80 60 40 20

45% 21% 26% 8% Very Pretty Not Not much much really at all

When I think about the environment, I feel guilty: Percentage of employees

First Steps

A peek at our behaviors survey:



60 40 20

18% 16%


Very Pretty Not Not much much really at all

Honestly, I don’t care much about this “green” stuff. Just leave me alone so I can get my work done: Percentage of employees

Our Commitment to Sustainability





40 20



Very Pretty Not Not much much really at all

We aim: • to ensure that Kindermusik International adopts sustainable practices. • to provide education and incentive for Kindermusik employee-owners to integrate principles of sustainability into their work lives and everyday practices. • to provide opportunities for Kindermusik educators to adopt Kindermusik-inspired sustainability initiatives and to contribute sustainability solutions and ideas to us. • to inspire Kindermusik families to participate in sustainable behaviors. 8



Communications First Steps

Our success will depend heavily on communication. We have created the following avenues for dialogue: “Kindermusik Green” blog for parents and public This blog will introduce and explore current sustainability terms and issues, feature recent news items pertinent to families, announce Kindermusik sustainability initiatives, and solicit ideas, thoughts, and feedback. “In the Key of Green” Teacher’s Lounge page and blog for educators This blog will announce Kindermusik sustainability initiatives, offer basic education on sustainability terms and issues, provide a place for educators to share their own sustainability-related innovations and classroom solutions, and enable KI to solicit ideas, thoughts, and feedback on ways to introduce sustainability into our headquarters and product development. “Green Together” digital newsletter for employee-owners This in-house newsletter will propose and/or announce Kindermusik sustainability initiatives, share recent news items pertinent to sustainability initiatives in our industry, offer basic education on sustainability terms and issues, and provide a forum for employee-owners to ask questions or offer suggestions about the company’s green projects.


Our Products First Steps

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Packaging reduction: CD sleeves We’ve introduced a new CD packaging design into some of our lines, reducing materials use and eliminating the need for shrink-wrap. The new CD sleeves are made of 100% post-consumer recycled paperboard that is processed chlorine-free and recyclable. Inks are 100% vegetable (linseed) based. Print reduction: curriculum materials We have launched a major initiative aimed at reducing the amount of curriculum materials we print on paper and ship around the world. We are currently piloting the digital delivery of at least some Teacher Materials and an “online forum” approach to the sharing and development of Kindermusik’s proprietary curricula. Packaging reduction: curriculum packaging We are currently exploring several new curriculum packaging options, including the use of 100% post-consumer recycled paperboard and making some packaging optional.




Resources First Steps

Reduce, reuse Kindermusik is currently adhering to a moratorium on the purchase of office supplies, furniture, and tech equipment, and establishing a policy of sharing, reusing, and reducing the need for simple resources we might otherwise simply replace. Human resources, payroll, medical coverage, and professional development, coaching, and evaluation paperwork have all been converted to online/digital formats. We anticipate that the annual reduction in waste and expenditure will be upwards of 15%. Green purchasing/EPA standards When it becomes necessary to purchase supplies, our goal is to use the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s purchasing standards and to group orders to reduce shipping quantities. Green cleaning Our home office cleaning service uses natural, non-toxic, plant-based cleaning materials and biodegradable paper products.

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Recycle There are still some items we can’t avoid purchasing. Our first choice is to purchase items that are recyclable and made of at least 30% recycled material. Each of our offices has a recyclables policy posted and enforced.


Carbon First Steps

Carbon footprint The first step in reducing our contribution to global warming was to quantify the impact of our company’s greenhouse-gas-emitting actions, or “calculate our carbon footprint.” We measured electricity usage in two corporate offices, a half dozen home offices, a recording studio, and a warehouse; calculated emissions from employee commutes, air travel, and car rentals; and measured emissions from shipping and receiving.

A peek at our carbon footprint: 6,232

Gallons of gas used by KI employees to commute by car


Miles traveled by KI employees by air (USA only)

8,945,223 Pounds of CO2 produced by shipping (USA/Ground only)

Calculating our carbon footprint was an essential first step because it (a) increased awareness of the systems and behaviors that cause the emissions in the first place; (b) will provide a “measuring stick” against which future quantities can be compared; and (c) has revealed where our negative impact is greatest and where our opportunities for the greatest emission reductions lie.

Carbon reduction Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) provide the option of balancing our emissions. RECs can be purchased in a one-to-one ratio with specific energy expenditures and represent the investment in and creation of an equal amount of renewable energy (in this case, National Wind). While RECs are ideally a last step, used to counteract the portion of overall emissions deemed unavoidable, Kindermusik chose to launch its commitment to sustainability action by purchasing 59 RECs. They have been allocated to offset the energy consumed by The Process Recording Studios (48,000 kWh/yr) and Kindermusik Convention 2008 (9,000 kWh for convention facilities and hotel accommodations). 16


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Carbon reduction This initial step will be followed by education and incentives to decrease total emissions more holistically, beginning with electricity usage, travel, and inbound and outbound shipping. We also hope to energize employeeowners, educators, and parents to participate in a variety of personal carbon reduction options, following Kindermusik’s corporate lead by reducing and/or offsetting their own carbon emissions.

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Shipping reduction Currently, a large portion of Kindermusik’s carbon footprint rests in outbound shipping. In the future, we plan to reduce our impact by (a) digitalizing many curriculum offerings and (b) looking into more efficient packaging and shipping options. Carbon footprint: manufacturing We print and manufacture books, CDs, Teacher Materials, Home Materials, and instruments at a variety of sites around the world. Although calculating the emissions of third-party vendors is not often considered within the scope of a company’s footprint, we aspire to quantify and reduce the overall impact of the products we create.


Facilities ng the Tal alki k W

Quantify and reduce office-related waste We now have systems in place to keep long-term track of our facilities emissions and reductions. In 2009, we hope to initiate water measurement and conservation devices, as well as systems (like programmed thermostats) that will help us better control our electricity usage. A peek at our electricity usage averages: Headquarters The Process Recording Studios

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26,400 kWh/mo 4,760 kWh/mo

Facilities assessment We hope, too, to have our facilities evaluated by a LEED-certified professional who can assess our properties; propose energy-reduction, water conservation, indoor air quality improvement, and solid waste reduction solutions; and reveal opportunities for innovation.


Our Environmental Policy Sustainability report Creating a sustainability report doesn’t “change” anything all on its own, but by insisting that a company’s data and attitudes be gathered, assessed, and expressed in a single place, it does make effective change possible. We’re proud to have produced our first-ever sustainability report and look forward to reporting our progress next year.

First Steps

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Product grid This year, we will begin to create a product “report card,” identifying certifications and eco-labels associated with given Kindermusik products, investigating each product’s life cycle, and introducing transparency into our supply chain. Statement of environmental policy We will also generate a statement of our environmental policy, including guidelines for vendors regarding manufacturing/ingredient guidelines, human rights and labor issues, and environmental compliance.

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Environmental philanthropy If it becomes possible, we hope to contribute to environmental organizations and causes that align with Kindermusik’s mission to do what’s best for both child and parent, including a charitable materials donation and recycling program.



The Future of “Green” at Kindermusik Having established our sustainability beginnings at Kindermusik, we’d like to imagine it would be all blue skies from here . . . but we know we have our work cut out for us. In a tight economy, our first green initiatives need to be ones that reduce our collective impact on the environment without costing the company, its educators, or its families more than we can reasonably spare. And in a time when the average person’s attention is in high demand and accordingly divided, our first green initiatives also need to be ones that are simple, high-impact, and easily understood. If, in the course of the next year, we can reduce a portion of the quantifiable impact of the things we create and the people and places we use to create them, we will have met a difficult challenge. But better yet—if, in the course of the next year, we are able to reach, energize, invigorate, empower, and educate some portion of the thousands upon thousands of people upon whom Kindermusik already has an impact, we will have met an even more honorable goal.


Sustainability 2008