Developing a green economy and making sure that development is sustainable is important for all businesses, including the printing industry. Print is embracing a green agenda not just because printers care about the environment. The sustainability message is a matter of survival for the printing industry in some developed markets. Large corporate customers want to be accountable to shareholders , so printers need answers. This much is obvious, however the recent EcoPrint Report, “The Business of Sustainability”, raised a number of other related concerns for the printing industry.
A lot of big international brands are starting to get heavy about their carbon footprint. BMW for instance has a clear environmental policy and also expects its suppliers to maintain environmental management systems. Printers have been aware of this move amongst the big names for a number of years and many are setting up environmental initiatives in response. They want to be sure to have a sensible answer for the likes of BMW, Tesco or Marks & Spencers when want to know about a print service provider’s environmental credentials.
The mega traditional press manufacturers such as Heidelberg have been relatively slow to embrace the sustainability message. However, a bit like turning an ocean tanker, once the turn is underway it is slow but it is decisive. So it is with Heidelberg who is investing substantially into carbon calculation, in order to offset its emissions. We spent sometime at drupa with the folks leading this work, to find out how much of it is greenwash and how much is for real. A detailed evaluation will take more than a quick blog to cover, but the gist of it is that Heidelberg’s efforts are as sincere as they are impressive.
As drupa winds its way to a grateful close we have been struck by the sheer enormity of the task facing the printing industry, when it comes to reduced environmental impact. If it’s true (and we reckon it is) that climate change can only be mitigated by a reduction of worldwide greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions, our industry must do more. If for no other reason than because print is central to our communications models and print is an important dimension for every other business.
Sustainability is the hot term at drupa this week and we are seeing more and more companies jumping on the bandwagon. And not just companies. Industry associations such as the German VDMA are working with their members to measuring the energy usage and CO2 emissions of printing machines. Worthy work indeed and we hope to learn more about how the VDMA is doing its calculations.