Envision Tees: Start Small

Adding eco-friendly concepts started with a love of nature.

As Tom Rauen’s basement business grew into a two-facility screen printing, embroidery, and promotional products operation, he realized his company was having a bigger and bigger impact on the environment. The CEO of Envision Tees (Dubuque, Iowa) is a trail runner and calls himself a big outdoors person. 

“I enjoy being in nature, and I want that to be around for my kids and grandkids to enjoy, as well,” he says.

So he began taking a look at how Envision could reduce its effect on nature, starting with an energy audit with the local utility company. Envision installed sensors in the light switches in every room to conserve power. They began reusing boxes, packing materials, reject prints, and more. Some of the changes were as simple as being mindful enough to turn off all the computers at the end of the day. Some were as monumental as installing 72 solar panels, which Rauen estimates offsets about 40 percent of their energy use.

“You can start small,” he says. “Shut off your computers at night. That’s saving energy; that’s helping the environment; that’s reducing your electrical costs.” Envision is looking into formalizing its sustainability efforts with a local certification, but being conscientious is where it starts. The company uses soy-based chemicals, and they offer an organic shirt option made by Royal Apparel from recycled plastic. 

Envision prints for a wide customer base, serving corporations, events, schools, and so on, but they also work with a number of eco-conscious companies that don’t mind spending a little more. A new project Envision has in the works for later in 2018 is Driftless Brand, a line of US-made, organic cotton shirts for which a portion of the profits will be donated to trail conservation. 

Read more from the April/May 2018 issue, or check out more from our Printing With a Purpose series.

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