Across the industry, we are all looking forward to writing new stories in 2014, stories that tell of revenue growth and profitability, of new business and rising customer numbers. We all want more engagement and more dialogue with our markets and we all want to see printers and publishers gain ground. And when it comes to environmental impact improvement, there are some specifics we’d like to see.
At the top of the list has to be that markets be more willingly informed about mitigating environmental impact. We’d like to see industry associations providing more environmental support, following the likes of UNIC in France. UNIC has developed a series of tools to help members assess the greenness of their businesses and to learn more about how to improve their environmental impact. UNIC has also developed a carbon calculator for members and their customers.
We want to see wider understanding of how carbon footprint management impacts every business, not least because of how it can improve profitability. Companies should be making proactive efforts in 2014 to improve resource use, rather than waiting for customers to push them. ISO 14001 for environmental management should be at the top of 2014 priority lists and its implementation fast-tracked.
2014 is the year when new technologies for carbon calculations start coming onto the market. Caldera already has a rudimentary calculator that operates in prepress using RIPped data, but this is only a start. In consumables we want to see wider use of HDPE over standard PVC banner material. This will help reduce carbon footprints in the wide format sector. HDPE is also 100% recyclable, which customers will appreciate particularly if it aids their CSR and regulatory compliance. Recycling rates for all substrates will continue to rise in 2014 and blue chip customers who are subject to environmental regulations will seek out service providers who can help them with compliance.
2014 should be the year when more standards to support print’s environmental impact reduction efforts get going. Work is already underway on e-media carbon footprinting, deinking and on paper profiling. This last provides a common means of specifying how a paper’s carbon footprint is calculated, so that customers worldwide can trust the numbers for all paper products. Uptake of ISO 16759 for carbon footprinting should also continue apace.
Our biggest wish for 2014 is that printers and customers become more informed about their options. Noisy messaging from industry associations, the trade press and manufacturers could vastly improve market awareness of print’s sustainability and its power to improve return on digital media investments. Let’s start putting print’s environmental sustainability and effectiveness at the centre of media discussions.
– Laurel Brunner