Corporate Change-Makers

The wide-format industry may not save lives daily, but we can still make the world a better place.

I’ve lived in San Francisco for five months now and it’s been a pretty large adjustment from my life in Cincinnati, both personally and professionally. I drive a car maybe once a week to get out of the city or make a large grocery run. I’ve learned to factor in the amount and angle of hills when walking somewhere. And I’m now working 100-percent remotely, which has definitely been the most interesting acclimatization of all.   

But one thing really stands out to me when comparing my Midwest roots: the number of people experiencing homelessness in this city. As of 2017, there are 7000-plus living on the streets or in shelters. But that figure is actually less than in Cincinnati. My former home has 9000 people facing housing insecurity. Why didn’t this stand out when I lived there for six years? An easy answer is that SF is a 7 x 7-mile peninsula, and Cincinnati spans seven hills and 79.5 square miles. But it doesn’t stop me from questioning how this number got so high and what I can do to help.

I now volunteer once a month for the Burrito Project, an organization that prepares and delivers burritos to people living on the street in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and Oakland. It’s not solving the problem by any means, but it’s part of my social responsibility. 

I’m sure many of you are involved in volunteer programs, enjoy mentorship roles, or diligently recycle at home. But what’s your company doing?

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is when a business works toward sustainable development by implementing economic, social, and environmental benefits for all stakeholders. This can include philanthropy, ethical business practices, economic responsibility, and sustainability initiatives (see our sustainability feature for shops that are focusing heavily on this).

So, what’s your shop doing to give back to your community? Do you have a public list of principles your team sees and abides by every day? Are your prices fair and honest? Are you a member of the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership

Just Googling CSR can be daunting when you see the myriad search results for what your business can do. Try starting small. Even a once-a-month giveback can lead to something much more.

Read more of Adrienne Palmer's Insight.

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