Talk about taking the first big step. CVS certainly did that last week with the announcement they would no longer be selling tobacco products in their stores. They will lose between 1.5 and 2 billion dollars in sales, making this a huge decision. But, as a healthcare company they made the right choice.
Is there anything that our industry can do that parallels this? No. But there are a couple of smaller programs that we can all work on.
First, worker safety. CVS made a statement about the safety of their customers. We can do the same for our employees. “Safety first” is not just a slogan for the wall. Every job you take must have the safety of your crew factored in. Every employee has to have and use personal safety gear; no exceptions for the old hands, or your nephew who is a pain-in-the-neck. Will you give up a little bit of revenue skipping a job where the customer wants an annealed store-front, where there is a high wind load, making installation hazardous?
Second, consumer education. Low-E should be used in every new or renovation construction. There may be a question as to which type of low-E is best suited for the job, but you should never accept a job with clear float. Teach your customer the benefits of low-E. Saving energy is everyone’s job, and using low-E is our little corner of this puzzle.
Third, working off-the-books. Don’t do this in your company. Yes, it does cost you more, but you’re not breaking the law, and your employees will see you as an honest person.
Fourth and last, follow CVS’s lead—give up your cigarettes or chew, and ban smoking in your facility and your trucks. Give your employees a smoking cessation program as an employee benefit. You will have fewer sick days from your staff, your medical insurance costs will go down with healthier employees, and your showroom will not smell from cigarette smoke, turning off some of your customers.
Be gutsy; try one or all of these steps. When you look in the mirror, you will be smiling.