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CEO Thought Leadership Series from Trade Show

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COMMIT! FORUM – Philip Rundle

Doug spoke with Philip Rundle, President of Rolland, about the importance of businesses incorporating sustainability as a way to build profit. Rundle explains how assimilating sustainability into one’s business is a top-down, bottom-up process that starts internally with a common ideology.

“I think it’s all about a common vision and a philosophy between the organizations, and what drives the economic benefits.”

“You’ve got to get everybody on board on this one. It’s top-down, bottom-up. It’s something that you’ve got to weave through the organization.”

DOUG SIMON: We’re at Commit Forum 2017 at MGM National Harbor in Maryland. We just heard from Philip Rundle, who’s president of Rolland. Thanks so much for being with us.

PHILIP RUNDLE: Absolute pleasure.

DOUG SIMON: Great. Now, you talked about the importance of businesses incorporating sustainability as a way to build profit.
PHILIP RUNDLE: Right.

DOUG SIMON: Can you explain?

PHILIP RUNDLE: Yeah. I think it’s all about a common vision and a philosophy between the organizations, and what drives the economic benefits. And the way I look at it is that sustainability, when you look at it just as sustainability, it doesn’t register that I’m going to make any dollars out of this, right? But when I look at I’m going to save water, I’m going to run my facilities through biogas versus fossils, I’m going to take 23,000 compact cars off the Earth, I’m going to save 70,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, it’s significant.

And that all drops to the bottom line. And that translates to the businesses that we work with, like Patagonia, who send out over 11 catalogs per year, which is significant paper that goes out into the industry. And every time they’re sending out a catalog, they know the benefits of working with an organization like ourselves, because they are deriving those benefits from what we have brought to the sustainability side of the story.

DOUG SIMON: Great. So as a corporate leader, how do you get the people on your team engaged in this kind of effort, as well as the partners and the client companies that you work with? Obviously, Patagonia has sort of a whole feel for sustainability that it would go against what they’re about not to do it. But how do you get your team on board?

PHILIP RUNDLE: So internally, it’s our DNA, as I described earlier. You’ve got to get everybody on board on this one. It’s top-down, bottom-up. It’s something that you’ve got to weave through the organization. I don’t believe in missions and visions, because I think people put them on the wall and they just pay homage to them.

DOUG SIMON: And they might even put it on paper.

PHILIP RUNDLE: And they might even put it on paper.

DOUG SIMON: Hopefully it’s recycled, you know?

PHILIP RUNDLE: And they probably put it on coated unrecycled paper. But in all honesty, it’s a vision and a philosophy. It’s something that we love and eat and breathe every single day of our lives. And it’s– the organization and the people within the organization are exceptionally motivated because they see the results, they see what we’re doing to better the earth, to better the planet. They see the impact of our philosophy and our practices, and what it means to the future.

DOUG SIMON: It’s great that you bring this up and call attention to it at this conference. One thing we don’t necessarily see enough of is internal spokespeople at organizations getting out there, getting on television, getting in the media talking about the importance of these issues. Do you think it’s important, and what can you say to maybe persuade other leaders, presidents, CEOs, to just really get out there to get more people to be involved in those missions?

PHILIP RUNDLE: I think you’ve got to get brave. The pulp and paper industry is, as I said earlier, is a pariah of the Earth. That’s how it’s seen because it’s forest destruction, it’s huge water usage. But you’ve got to be brave. You’ve got to be transparent.
And I go back to the LCA, the Life Cycle Assessment. Do the life cycle assessments, because once you do a life cycle assessment, you can go out, you can be exceptionally transparent because nobody can poke holes into your story. And you can actually stand up and talk about the impact that this has on the Earth.

DOUG SIMON: That’s awesome. You’ve had a great impact. And hopefully, our viewers will take this to heart. Thanks for being with us.

PHILIP RUNDLE: Thank you.