The packaging industry is ripe for disruption, especially when it comes to inks. The sector’s in the sights of digital press manufacturers, print service providers and print buyers. And consumers want to feel better about using packaging that cannot easily be recycled. They don’t want to be responsible for generating waste, but if they do so, they want to believe that it won’t hurt the environment. Ink science is moving forwards to help balance and resolve the industry’s various concerns, but it isn’t moving particularly fast.
Insurance companies are starting to pay more attention to certifications in the graphics industry. If you can prove that you run your business well, for instance with a certification to ISO 9001 or 14001 management standards, they reckon you are a lower risk outfit. This can mean that your business qualifies for reduced premiums. It’s an interesting added dimension to the certification conversation and one that hasn’t been particularly well explored. Assisting insurance companies to assess risk, is an important role for consultants. It’s also important for certification bodies who can tout an additional benefit in their certifications marketing.
In his Bruno Kessler Lecture last year, Roberto Viola, Director-General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology at the European Commission, said that energy usage by European data centres will grow by 20% by 2020. The calculation is based on figures from 2015 when data centres consumed over 104 terawatt hours, which is 104 million million watts. Data centres accounted for 3% of all of the electricity used within the European Union and Mr Viola said that their energy usage requirements will grow by 35% by 2029. The communications industry will account for a substantial amount of that volume, primarily to support rising electronic media usage.
Doing something to improve the environmental sustainability of your business should be easy, but it can often seem scary. We have found that business owners in the graphics industry generally start with the obvious quick fixes, such as simplifying onsite recycling or switching to LED lighting before often losing heart. The benefit of easy steps, is that they don’t have to require much time or cost to put into place. However if you are considering more ambitious ideas, such as investing in low energy kit, the process gets a little more complicated and usually involves money.
Every year Kodak recognises printers around the world for their sustainability progress. To qualify for the Kodak Sonora Plate Green Leaf Award printing companies must use the Kodak Sonora processless plate and manage their businesses in a way that reduces overall environmental impact. In 2017, the fourth year of the prize, there were fourteen winners from all over the world. This is a record number and suggests that the sustainability message is beginning to get through.