The Print Wire
Other news from the industry
May 01, 2013
Verdigris Blog: Taking Another Step Forward with ISO 50001
medium_laurel3.jpg The weekly Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner

Agfa Graphics has had a sustained commitment to improving its carbon footprint for many years. It has also made considerable efforts to help the industry do so as well, particularly with the Azura line of chemistry-free plates. And we’re proud to say Agfa is one of the Verdigris project’s founding members. Now the company has announced that it has achieved ISO 50001 for its plate manufacturing plants in the UK and Germany.

Agfa is one of the first companies in the world to get certified to this relatively new standard for energy management. But we hope it won’t be the last. Gaining certification to ISO 50001 is an important step towards reducing the graphics arts’ environmental impact. ISO 50001 lays out what a company needs to do in order to continually improve its energy performance. Like any management system the assumption is that energy efficiency, use and consumption should all be monitored and improved as part of a structured management programme. The standard specifies what has to be done to demonstrate energy management, including what should be measured and requirements for documenting and reporting the data. The specifications are comprehensive and address all aspects of energy performance that are within an organisation’s. This is not a prescriptive standard however, so organisations have considerable flexibility in how they implement it. The goal is to strive for, and prove, continued improvements in energy performance.

Agfa has been developing its family of chemistry-free plates for many years, helping to remove chemicals, waste and processing resources from the platemaking process. Chemistry-free platemaking helps printing companies reduce their environmental impact, as well as cut costs. Increased platemaking efficiency minimises downtime on press. However platemaking is an energy intensive business conducted on a huge scale. With this certification, conducted by Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance, Agfa has a proven commitment to its energy management programmes in its British and German plants. The company is one of the first in the world to achieve certification to ISO 50001 and is working towards certification at all other Agfa Graphics factories around the world. The company hopes to achieve this within the next eighteen months or so.

Agfa’s new certificate is about more than altruism or marketing: energy is one of the biggest costs facing any business. Managing it efficiently inevitably leads to substantial costs savings and provides additional insight into how manufacturing processes can be improved. In Agfa’s case, its programme to manage energy and achieve ISO 50001 certification has already resulted in “multi-million euro efficiency savings worldwide”. This is another great example of how efforts to cut carbon also cut costs.

– Laurel Brunner

Verdigris supporters who make the blog possible: Agfa Graphics (www.agfa.com), Digital Dots (www.digitaldots.org), drupa (www.drupa.com), EFI (www.efi.com), EcoPrint (www.ecoprintshow.com), Fespa (www.fespa.com), Heidelberg (www.uk.heidelberg.com), HP (www.hp.com), Kodak (www.kodak.com/go/sustainability), Pragati Offset (www.pragati.com), Ricoh (www.ricoh.com), Unity Publishing (http://unity-publishing.co.uk) and Xeikon (www.xeikon.com)

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