ISPA’s sustainability manager shares her take on the importance of sustainability within the bedding industry and what attendees can look forward to at ISPA’s first Sustainability Conference
Question | Tell us about your background and interest in sustainability.
The relationship between business and the environment has always been a passion of mine. I studied both business administration and community and environmental studies in undergrad and earned a master’s degree focusing on sustainable development. My career has been focused on various aspects of business and the environment. There is so much potential for an organization to build efficiency, reduce waste, innovate, engage employees and have a big impact, and I want to be a part of that.
Question | Why is sustainability important to the bedding industry?
I see incorporating a sustainability plan as a set of positive outcomes across the value chain. The bedding industry builds durable products that customers depend on every night. Companies have an opportunity to produce products that can positively impact communities and the environment, which has cost savings potential. A purpose-driven company can attract and retain talent that contributes to the sustainability plan and help build financial success. Customers are increasingly using their spending dollars on products and services from purpose-driven companies. Incorporating sustainability into an organization adds value throughout the organization.
Question | Why did ISPA decide to dedicate a conference to this topic and how did the conference evolve?
The industry is already doing a lot when it comes to sustainability. ISPA decided it was the right time to get the industry together to celebrate those efforts, learn from one another and align on terminology to make sure we are using the same language. ISPA has pulled together a group of experts on various topics that impact the bedding industry. We also have assembled a panel of suppliers and manufacturers that will share their sustainability initiatives with attendees to help see what’s possible and the impact sustainability can have on an organization. The goal is for you to finish the conference with a clearer plan forward for carrying out your sustainability initiatives and messaging to consumers.
Question | What should attendees expect to learn from the conference?
Whatever stage of knowledge, implementation or connection you have to sustainability in the bedding industry, you will leave with new information, contacts and ideas to grow and further develop your company. As this is our first conference, we will cover some basic information and current events pertaining to sustainability. Next year we will go even deeper on topics that the industry wants to learn more about.
Question | What is something that most concerns you about the implementation of sustainability in the bedding industry?
While walking the floor at IPSA EXPO, it was clear that the industry is making this a priority. The innovation and critical thinking that has occurred in this space in recent years is inspiring. The challenge is updating the thought process to imbed sustainability as a factor in every decision within the organization. Fortunately, the decision-making framework already exists and incorporating a sustainability lens can easily fit into that framework. It takes time, but sustainability within an organization needs to be integrated into the organization’s existing processes, rather than a stand-alone activity. I don’t want organizations to get overwhelmed or frustrated. Small changes can have big impacts and every step is progress.