Saving the World from Bad Hi-Fi and Irresponsible Manufacturing and Packaging Practices
By Dave Tovissi
Vice President and General Manager
HARMAN Luxury Audio
Anyone who grew up on the sales floor at a specialty audio retailer remembers the mantra “We are saving the world from listening to bad hi-fi.” We felt it was our obligation to the consumer to call out those manufacturers that invested more in marketing versus innovation. Today, the mantra is slightly modified but it should still be shared with our customers.
A growing number of companies, including HARMAN, are treating sustainability as an important objective in their strategy and operations to increase growth and global competitiveness. This trend has reached well beyond the small niche of those companies who traditionally positioned themselves as green.
Our CEO and President, Michael Mauser shared this statement to all HARMAN employees. “The world continues to change, and the cost of inaction is clear - As One HARMAN we are committed to ensuring we all thrive responsibly and sustainably - our actions today will echo into tomorrow.”
There are several reasons why companies, including HARMAN, are pursuing sustainability:
• Increase operational efficiency by reducing costs and waste
• Respond to and/or reach new customers and increase competitive advantage
• Protect and strengthen brand and reputation and build public trust
• Build long-term business viability and success
As a member of HARMAN’s Sustainability Steering Committee, I have seen the results of our company’s initiatives. Whilst our Business Unit may not be able to use all the learnings from the steering committee due to the sheer size of our products, the Luxury Audio product and engineering teams are looking for every opportunity to innovate our product design and packaging to be better stewards for the planet.
A perfect example of how our business unit is innovating for the planet is on full display with our latest New Product Introduction that has finally started shipping. The JBL XD (Extreme Durability) indoor/outdoor loudspeakers have several unique features that make them some of the most sustainable products of their type:
• Engineered to IP67 ingress protection level ensures that the product can repel and protect against the smallest amount of dust and a high volume of water. The IP67 rating allows for these products to be specified and installed in marine applications without the worry of rusting or damage from the harsh conditions of the sea. Another benefit of IP67 is the protection against wires or the smallest of tools contacting any electrical element of the speaker which could cause a short to the electronics or damage to the loudspeaker.
• This is the first-ever IP67 loudspeaker designed for repairability. Repairability is becoming more important than ever. Last year, France became the first country to require electronics manufacturers to state a repairability index of their products. The index is based on how easily a product can be repaired along with the availability of parts and technical documents needed by a consumer to perform their own repair of a device. Every part of the Stage XD loudspeaker can be repaired or replaced and when reassembled properly, as noted in the technical documents, it maintains the IP67 rating.
• Sustainable packaging was fully implemented on the Stage XD loudspeakers. From using biodegradable molds to house the products to the use of Soy Ink in the printing of the retail friendly boxes, our team was laser-focused on making this product and its packaging as eco-friendly as possible.
As stated earlier, we have a commitment to providing you and your customers with the most innovative products in the world. That commitment is just as important as providing you with products and packaging that will help make the world a better place to live. This commitment will deliver new customers to your stores and provide you with value propositions that elevate our products in the hearts and minds of your customers.
Later in this newsletter, you will hear from Lou Schreurs, Vice President of Commercialization, who will talk about the broader efforts that our company is pursuing to meet our sustainability goals. As our leader in sustainable causes, Lou pushes us to be better in our efforts to protect our planet.