Manage for Success: A Sustainable Vacation, Newsletter #100, August 2009

"Manage for Success" is a free monthly newsletter for record label executives who want to operate their companies efficiently and successfully. It's published by Keith Holzman of Solutions Unlimited, a management consultant, troubleshooter, and trusted advisor, and is based on his many years as a senior executive in the music industry.

Copyright 2007 & 2009 by Keith Holzman, Solutions Unlimited. All rights reserved.


It's vacation time!

In order to overcome the virtually constant clamor of doom and gloom on the part of much of the press that writes about the music industry, many of us typically take off part of August for a little rest and relaxation.

However, like some workaholics, I remain at my desk providing much needed advice and succor for my clients while, in whatever spare time remains, I pore over "The Complete Guide to Starting a Record Company" looking for what might need updating.

Meanwhile, I'm including here part of a two-year old jotting about Sustainability and why I think it's important.

Sustainability is not just about keeping your artists in the studio making records and regularly performing on the road, or even keeping up the sales numbers. It’s about operating your company in a green, "sustainable," fashion. This is how Wikipedia defines it: " Sustainability focuses on providing the best outcomes for both the human and natural environments now, and into the indefinite future."

When building a house, for example, sustainability means using renewable materials such as quick-growing bamboo for flooring rather than slower growth oak or maple. It means using as little electricity or gas as possible for making hot water or heating a home. For example, you might use solar panels to heat water for pipes installed below the floor that keep them at a steady temperature, and also for making hot water for showering, doing dishes, etc., as well as for heating a swimming pool. It means using photovoltaic panels for generating electricity. Put enough panels on your roof and watch your electric meter run backwards as you supply surplus electricity to your local utility when you don't need it yourself. It means using as little water as possible to keep your garden green by using drought-tolerant plants and greenery instead of water-wasteful grass, or even installing a cistern or gray-water system.

What does this mean to an environmentally friendly record label?

Let's start by discussing the primary thing you manufacture, assuming you still release this form -- the Compact Disk. CDs are far from being green since they're made of plastic with an aluminized coating that is not biodegradable. Unwanted ones will supply landfills for centuries to come! Let's hope someone comes up with an alternative -- other than digital downloads -- as "green" media for containing music.

But you can
do something about the packaging. Ask your printer to use paper made principally from post-consumer waste. Not only does it take ink well, it usually looks great. Speaking of ink, ask the printer if they can use soy-based ink rather than ink made primarily from oil byproducts.

How about eliminating those nasty plastic jewel boxes. What a waste of oil, and fodder for landfills! Consider using a package made of bio-degradable paperboard. Not only can they look extremely attractive, but they can be recycled when your buyer no longer wants them. (Of course your label is the exception -- all of your music will appeal to its buyers for generations!)

What else can you do -- both at work and when home?

Try to reduce your energy usage. Use natural light instead of electric light whenever possible during daylight hours. Replace high-wattage energy-wasting bulbs with fluorescent tubes, low-voltage lamps, the new screw-in fluorescent bulbs, or better still, bulbs made with LEDs. They're more expensive, but outlast conventional bulbs by a factor of ten or more!

Be sure that water-using devices such as toilets and faucets don't leak. Repair them if they do, and flush only when really necessary.

Turn your thermostat down in winter to reduce need for heat, and up in summer to use less air conditioning.

Don't be wasteful with paper products, and recycle whatever is no longer needed. Most communities now have some form of recycling depots readily available. Print on both sides of the paper whenever possible, and re-use the reverse side of paper that would otherwise be tossed, for unimportant in-house documents.

Drink tap water and use a thermos (remember them?) rather than spending money for plastic-bottled water. And if you must buy the latter -- be sure to recycle the bottles (but remove the caps -- apparently they should be unscrewed when tossing them into the recycle bin.)

In general, try to reduce your carbon footprint as much as possible. You'll save money, and most important -- our planet -- even when you're on vacation!

Until next month,

Keith Holzman -- Solutions Unlimited

Helping Record Labels Manage for Success.



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Copyright 2007 & 2009 by Keith Holzman, Solutions Unlimited. All rights reserved.