The Fespa show in Hamburg last week brought together a huge lineup of players. They came from all parts of the sign and display business, including digital wide format and screen printing technology providers and users. The textile printing system makers and buyers were also out in force, keen to see a surging number of digital textile production systems for soft signage. The cohort included other textile production options for both roll to roll fabric printing and garments. There was even packaging and label printing equipment on show, plus a huge number of companies offering materials, components and inks. But very few exhibitors were shouting about their environmental credentials and the topic was mostly absent from the Fespa conference and seminar sessions.
Last time we checked there were almost five hundred different eco labels around the world. Most of them applied to food and coffee, or soil or some such. But a handful, such as the Nordic Swan, apply to any type of business, including the graphics industry. The Nordic Swan label is amongst the most internationally respected and it is also special because it has specific guidelines for printers who want to achieve certification.
It’s not unusual to encounter examples of environmental ignorance or to hear alarming comments from people who should know better. We experienced both in a recent meeting whilst discussing the need for environmental standards in the graphics industry. We were told in no uncertain terms that environmental science is really very simple. We were also told that there is a finite amount of carbon dioxide on the planet and that the amount of it won’t expand or diminish. Really?
We all know what happens to printed paper when it’s sent off for recycling. It either gets burnt or sent for processing into new materials, but when old computers reach end of life, matters are less simple.
Wow. Hard to get the noggin around the fact that this is the 250th Verdigris environmental blog we’ve written. Over the last five years or so we have covered all manner of environmental matters relevant to the graphics industry. But has it made any difference to the market’s sustainability awareness? It’s no more than a vanity to say that it has, so far better to look at any scraps of evidence, but evidence of raised environmental awareness is impossible to attribute to these blogs.