In 2022, Chroma Color Corp. received a bronze medal in the EcoVadis Sustainability Assessment. This year, the firm improved to a silver medal in that ranking, placing the McHenry, Ill.-based materials firm among the top 25 percent of organizations evaluated by EcoVadis.
That recognition reflects the efforts of Chroma employees and of Jennifer Presnell, who started the firm's sustainability program and serves as director of quality and regulatory affairs.
"We must be responsible in what we do and that we educate ourselves, our customers and the communities we serve in order for there to be a viable future for all of us," she said. "Take one step at a time — make one improvement over the last step and eventually you'll be into the journey."
Chroma's sustainability program includes reduction of water usage, improving air quality, reuse of scrap materials and reduction of electricity usage.
"With some additional efforts and current projects underway, we'll continue to achieve our sustainability goals and do the right thing for our employees and the people we serve," Presnell said.
Presnell's plastics career began in 1997 as a quality control technician at Plastics Color Corp., which later was acquired by Chroma.
"It was just going to be a summer job for me before I went to grad school," she recalled. "I figured I could learn what plastics had to offer even though it was 'the enemy' from my environmental background. Twenty-six years later, I'm still here."
Along the way, Presnell has learned that sustainability takes a continuing effort.
"It's easy to desire to do better and do what is right," she said. "I believe we all want to do better and work for a company that's helping to make the world better. But even if you provide resources, a plan or a program, we can slip back into old routines. Things may happen and we digress.
"The breaking of that cycle — to not resort backwards or let bad habits back in — has been the most challenging thing," she added. "To keep the momentum from plummeting and keep the motivation to achieve the overall goal takes hard work and commitment, but it's very rewarding when we reach milestones."
We must be responsible in what we do and that we educate ourselves, our customers and the communities we serve in order for there to be a viable future for all of us. Take one step at a time — make one improvement over the last step and eventually you'll be into the journey."