Lou Cysewski is an EO member in Seattle, as well as the co-founder and CEO of Coolperx, the first net carbon neutral merchandising company in the world. She’s on a mission to transform the SWAG industry from a toxic polluter to a conscientious connector of people and values with a strong focus on sustainability. We asked Lou about her experience. Here’s what she shared:
What does it mean to be the world’s first net carbon neutral merchandising company?
Promotional products represent a nearly US$30 billion industry that produces about US$24 billion in landfill waste every year. On average, typical SWAG is only kept eight months by its recipients. With Coolperx, I wanted to help companies and consumers alike walk away from the industry of cheap, useless gifts and opt for quality, usable, sustainably-made gifts that actually build meaningful relationships and a sense of appreciation.
We developed our proprietary and accredited “Climate Cost Index” to evaluate the impact on the environment of all our products―from concept to end-of-life―which helped us further our environmental sustainability goals. We then made―and continue to make―decisions regarding our choice of product materials, packaging, shipping practices, etc. We also reclaim 100% of our business emissions and the emissions created by our sales by building clean solar energy in dirtiest parts of the US energy grid.
Is it profitable to be sustainable?
The biggest, most consistent reason companies continue to make harmful choices for the environment is because of their near-term profit mindset. The bottom line is that being sustainable is more costly upfront.