Green prizes are an excellent way to encourage improved environmental habits, but in the graphics business we aren’t exactly awash with them. That may be because sponsors find it hard to specify award winning criteria. Or it may be because not enough companies can be bothered to submit entries. Either way the upshot is that over the last couple of years some high profile environmental awards in the graphics industry have been quietly discontinued. Kodak is a notable exception with the Sonora Plate Green Leaf Awards, launched in 2014.
The Kodak awards recognise customers who can demonstrate exceptional progress in their efforts to cut the environmental impacts of their businesses. The awards are attract entries from all over the world and in 2016 year Kodak recognised eight printing companies from a range of sectors. These are all users of the Sonora processless printing plate, however the award is not based purely on use of Sonora. Instead it looks at a range of criteria including impact reduction initiatives and best practices. Huge CONGRATULATIONS to the 2016 winners! They are Reynolds and Reynolds (US), Informco (Canada), Groupe Estimprim (France), Royalpack (Poland), UVO communication (S. Africa), Ohshaika Printing (Japan), Kava Printing (China), and NPE Print Communications (Singapore).
These winners share some key characteristics in how they manage their operations. Most significantly, sound environmental practises are integrated into the businesses, with monitoring of water usage and energy, as well as working with their local communities to support sustainability principles. Being green is not mere lip service for these companies, so in judging for the Green Leaf Awards the use of environmentally desirable materials such as Sonora is only part of the evaluation criteria. And although the focus for Kodak’s Green Leaf Awards is currently Sonora, we would like to see the programme expanded. Perhaps the 2017 prizes could extend to the wider Kodak customer base to recognise how other technologies such as Flexcel or Nexpress have been used to reduce environmental impact.
It is worth remembering that the added benefit of environmental awards is that they give the industry something sustainable to shout about. The printing industry is regularly lambasted for its lack of sustainability credentials, and however unfair this may be it is a persistent charge. It’s useful and in the interests of the industry to be able to point to examples of how print is actually not so very bad. Processless plates, prepress automation and streamlined workflows, are all part of taking a more environmentally friendly and sustainable approach to media production. The more printers who can demonstrate the sustainability of print, the better.
– Laurel Brunner