We started the Verdigris blog in 2012 just before a highly successful drupa and here we are with the 100th, just following IPEX. If anyone had ever considered that there was a battle underway between the two exhibitions, it would have to be said that drupa has won hands-down. Big name exhibitors such as Ricoh and Kodak abandoned the show en masse rendering it pretty much untenable as an exhibition. This was great for those remaining such as Konica Minolta and Fujifilm, but as a global platform for print, IPEX disappointed. Despite a last ditch effort to turn it into a content driven event there was no overriding theme for IPEX, no echo for the future. Worst of all, sustainability was hardly whispered, despite a barely populated area on the show floor called the EcoZone.
This is such a shame because industry events are excellent venues for showcasing print’s sustainability. Apart from attracting industry players they can reach out to other players in the supply chain, and indeed this is the objective of successful exhibition organisers. This additional and, for exhibitors, otherwise unreachable audience is what makes the cost of trade show participation worth it. This is also why sustainability should be a central component of industry events: we want the sustainability message to reach the uninitiated and we want to change perceptions that print is environmentally hostile.
Changing negative perceptions of print in the marketplace is an inevitably slow business, however progress is being made. For instance carbon accountability is becoming a requirement for blue chip countries around the world, and print is obviously part of this equation. What we need now is to have sustainability on every event organiser’s agenda, properly supported and with real facts about media, not just lobbyists for paper makers. Education is the only way to really make a difference, but there is still too little of it in the market. We all need to do more to get the sustainability message out there. And then environmental impact mitigation efforts might have more meaning for print buyers and consumers, helping to further burnish print’s environmental profile.
In between drupa 2012 and IPEX 2014 we have covered many topics in this blog and indulged in many rants like this one. However the goal remains the same: to get people to understand more about sustainability, and to use ecofriendly measures to improve business operations and margins. Here’s to the next 100!
– Laurel BrunnerVerdigris 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)