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Jennifer Nalewicki | December 05, 2013
3form has made a name for itself in the A&D community by creating beautiful building materials and architectural hardware solutions with an eco-friendly process behind them. As the Salt Lake City-based company's new director of sustainability, Mike Johnson has a proven track record in educating and promoting sustainability within various communities. Johnson is tasked with elevating 3form's status as a green leader across four platforms: advancing product transparency and responsible manufacturing, innovating to reach the company's goal of carbon neutrality by 2017, increasing the company’s recycling rate, and engaging employees in sustainable practices through education and community action.
Fundamental to this program is keeping 3form on track to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2017 and maintaining the trajectory of its Path to Zero program, which has diverted nearly 100 percent participating product waste from landfills. He has also introduced products with up to 100 percent post-consumer recycled content. And the Full Circle program that Johnson now directs creates jobs for artisans in developing countries around the world by incorporating handmade materials such as African textiles into glass wall panels.
“Now we want to make sure recycled projects have a good story from birth to when they’re recycled in the end,” he says. “[We want to] make sure the entire channel of events help the environment.”
In his new role, Johnson says he enjoys feedback from his colleagues and people outside the company. He often fields suggestions on ways to incorporate leftover materials used in the manufacturing process. “I never know what I’m going to have waiting for me in my inbox,” he says. “Creativity is limitless.” However, he recognizes that it can be a challenge to teach others the importance of putting this creativity towards sustainability.
“It’s a lot like financial budgets. Once people get the hang of it, it’s pretty simple, but teaching it to them for the first time can be confusing and misleading,” he says. “Especially when there’s a depressing note, since the state of the planet is not so good right now, so people find it overwhelming. [My job is to help] make it simple and fun…to get them excited.”
Prior to joining 3form in September, Johnson served as founder and chief of sustainability for ReDirect Guide, a multimedia company he started in 2000 that identifies local businesses across the nation that work sustainably and certifies and promotes them throughout their communities. He continues to play an important role in the company he built.