In 2008, Joel Fruendt knew things had to change. Clarke Mosquito Control, a global environmental products and services company where Fruendt served as general manager, made it a strong priority to build sustainability into the business in such a way that positively impacted the business.
“We were determined to change an industry that hadn’t changed in 50 years,” Fruendt says. “With the implementation of this major initiative, we integrated sustainable, fiscally sound practices in all areas of our business.
Because of this, Fruendt was named one of 2010 Smart Leader honorees by Smart Business and U.S. Bank. We asked him about the dramatic shift and what innovation means to him.
Q: Give us an example of a business challenge Clarke faced, as well as how you overcame it.
The sustainability initiative was a major paradigm shift. My role was to ensure that this philosophy was integrated into everything we do, every situation we face. Together as a company, we identified the three passions that drive our business: innovation, sustainability and community.
From the launch of Natular, the first reduced risk product for mosquito control, to converting our corporate fleet to hybrid vehicles, Clarke has put aspiration into action. Through changes to energy use and system-wide green policies, we have set forth clear goals to reduce waste, tap renewable energy resources, drive sales of NextGen sustainable products as identified in our Clarke Eco-Tier™ Index and reduce our carbon footprint. Introductory projects aimed at replacing paper-heavy processes not only significantly increased productivity and improved efficiencies, but generated a savings of nearly $100,000 in the first year.
Q: In what ways are you an innovative leader, and how does your organization employ innovation to be on the leading edge?
In 2002, Clarke set out to build a new, green larvicide from the ground up. After six years and over 35,000 hours of development and regulatory review, Natular became the first larvicide to have five formulations OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) Listed, enabling them to be used in and around organic agriculture. In 2010, we received the highest honor of our industry — the 2010 U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award. This award recognizes outstanding chemical technologies that incorporate the principles of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture and use. Natular is the fifth pesticide ever to be awarded this recognition and the first public health product.
How to reach: Clarke Mosquito Control, www.clarke.com
Read the entire interview with Joel Fruendt at http://people.sbnonline.com/fruendt