By removing EPS foam from our manufacturing process, BERMANFALK paves the way for other companies in the hospitality industry to reflect on their processes and start implementing sustainable solutions.

“It’s about us doing the right thing, us doing the better thing, us doing the different thing, because we can and we care.”

Sonny Marshall, Director, Manufacturing & Quality Assurance

Prepare For Impact: Leaders in Sustainability

At BERMANFALK, our commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives is seamlessly integrated into our processes and acts as a guide for our daily operations. We’ve implemented several strategies and are actively collaborating with many other parties to improve our impact, which is a testament to our dedication in creating meaningful change. For example, we are members of the MindClick Sustainability Assessment Program (MSAP), which is a designated initiative that rates the environmental health performance of numerous companies over a span of different industries. We have been rated a “MindClick Leader” for four years in a row and maintain ongoing communication with their organization to ensure we conduct our operations thoughtfully. 

The MSAP serves as a guide for determining which improvements to add to our priority list, while also providing accountability and motivation to think more deeply about policies, materials, and environmental impact. Through MindClick’s breakdown of categories for assessment, we are able to indicate which areas need more attention according to our score. One of the flagged areas of improvement was our packaging, to which we were using expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, commonly used in the hospitality industry for its favorable characteristics such as being lightweight and cost effective. EPS is not an environmentally friendly material as it fragments into little beads that take hundreds of years to break down. These microplastics have contributed to the global waste crisis as they become harmful contaminants that infiltrate ecosystems, accumulating in landfills and oceans globally. 

BERMANFALK was rated a MindClick 2024 Leader in every category up for assessment. Click here to learn more about MindClick.

Given our involvement in the MSAP and company-wide dedication to sustainable practices, BERMANFALK is transitioning from EPS foam to honeycomb packaging. Honeycomb packaging offers a more eco-friendly alternative, being both recyclable and biodegradable. This transition not only reduces our environmental impact but also demonstrates our willingness to innovate and adopt sustainable practices. By making this change, we are further solidifying our position as a leader in sustainability within the hospitality industry.

New Honeycomb Packaging: Process of Implementation 

The process of implementing the new packaging required a thoughtful analysis of its environmental impact and effects on production activities. Many factors were considered in the decision-making process of the type of packaging we sought best to meet our high standards, such as cost implications and weighing challenges that each packaging material posed. We evaluated various foam options and the viability of biodegradable bags. An example of one of the challenges we encountered was the ink used in the print of biodegradable bags which would rub off due to the humidity and heat during shipping, making them unsuitable for our needs. Our team also assessed the benefits of using existing materials against the potential benefits of developing new packaging solutions. 

“It’s a big process – firstly there’s a lot of research that goes into it; understanding what the options are, what the net result would be, and ultimately being able to use materials that can provide the same quality of protection, if not better.” – Daniel Berman, Executive Vice President.

Choosing the new packaging involved lots of research and careful consideration of several factors, including durability and protection. International Safe Transit Association testing (ISTA) drop tests conducted with SGS Laboratories demonstrated that honeycomb packaging provides better impact resistance during handling, particularly in protecting edges, corners, and preventing puncture damage, ensuring that products continue to arrive at their destinations in pristine condition. While honeycomb packaging is common in retail settings, its application to hospitality projects posed unique challenges due to product customization and tight project timelines. This shift required a more thorough pre-planning schedule, as material thickness, size, and empty space needed to be determined well in advance.

BERMANFALK’s new honeycomb packaging represents a significant milestone for the company and the hospitality industry. The decision to transition from EPS foam to honeycomb packaging was driven by the global waste crisis, which should prompt other companies within our industry to find more sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging solutions. Implementing the new packaging involved several steps, but the process was smoother than expected. We were able to replace non-environmentally friendly materials with sustainable alternatives without significant cost implications or compromising the quality of our packaging. 

“It’s reassuring to know that all the packaging we need to protect beautiful products isn’t going to outlive us, and we’re making a conscientious choice to make that happen.”  – Shellie Cohen, Vice President, Business Operations.

Setting New Standards: Creating a Lasting Impact

Switching to sustainable packaging aligns perfectly with BERMANFALK’s core values and mission. As a company that prioritizes reliability and customer centricity, this change ensures that we are dependable not just for our clients today, but for future generations, as we reduce our environmental impact. Our commitment to putting people first is evident in this decision, as sustainable packaging reflects our consciousness towards the environment and surrounding communities. By voluntarily conducting research and rigorously testing sustainable alternatives to our processes, we are demonstrating our commitment to excellence and quality. This initiative not only encompasses the company’s dedication to providing high quality products but also highlights our willingness to elicit change that will actually make a difference. 

“Now that this is something we have implemented, it’ll touch every department in the company, and it will go into many conversations.” – Emily Coquin, Team Leads, Projects.

This initiative exemplifies BERMANFALK’s dedication to ongoing improvement. By proactively addressing sustainability challenges and developing innovative solutions, the company is establishing a new standard for industry excellence. This commitment extends throughout all aspects of operations, from manufacturing to delivery. Moving towards sustainable packaging is not merely about meeting existing standards, it’s about creating new benchmarks. BERMANFALK believes that genuine excellence involves constant efforts to enhance and innovate, even in unconventional or challenging areas. Embracing sustainable packaging allows the company to expand possibilities and redefine leadership in the industry.

“It may seem small but a thousand small things added up makes a big difference.” – Dan Ryan, Business Development Executive.

Sustainable Decision-Making: Encouraging Others

BERMANFALK always strives to be forward-thinkers, to which this initiative demonstrates the significance of our priorities and our capacity to enact change to realize them. While challenges accompany this transition, we view the steps we’ve taken as a valuable investment in both the industry’s future and the planet as a whole. We hope this initiative serves as a catalyst for similar actions within our industry, demonstrating that meaningful change is achievable through collective action.

“Experts always say ‘don’t try to make it perfect, just try and do something’ because something makes a measurable impact. Something is better than nothing.” Aaron Berman, President.

Proactively integrating sustainable practices into a company’s business operations is crucial in an industry like ours, where unsustainable waste is a common issue. It is imperative that we all continue to explore more environmentally-friendly alternatives and search for ways to incorporate them into our day-to-day operations. We are not just looking at this one change, we are actively taking steps to improve our practices across the company and contribute positively to communities and the environment around us.