Sustainability and Printing
As part of the supply chain for retail conglomerates and consumer good manufacturers, the flexo industry is taking steps towards adopting sustainability best practices in all aspects of production and operations. As consumer purchasing behavior continues to follow the ‘green’ movement, manufacturers strive to meet consumer demand not just for ‘green’ products, but for sustainable, environmentally-friendly business practices in producing these goods.
To accomplish this and outwardly promote themselves as sustainable businesses, printers work to meet criteria set by third-party certification programs such as the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP).
As stated by SGP on its website, its mission is to “encourage and promote participation in the worldwide movement to reduce environmental impact and increase social responsibility of the graphic communications industry through certification and continuous improvement of sustainability and best practices within manufacturing operations.”
Certification programs such as the SGP, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), ISO 14001, and ISO 9000, give members of the printing industry the opportunity to establish knowledge of and execute sustainable business practices, including materials used in production, processes employed and equipment used, and even facilities where these materials and processes are used. Additionally, these programs hold those that have been certified accountable for sustainable manufacturing and operations.
That said, these measures are taken not just for the sake of “going green”, but also in an effort to respond to print customer demand for manufacturers that have sustainability programs in place. According to Doreen M. Monteleone’s “Sustainability in the Flexo Industry 2012” (featured in the Spring 2012 issue of FLEXO magazine), the recent 2012 FTA Sustainability Survey showed that more than 50% of print buyers are inquiring into whether printing facilities have formal sustainability programs in place. Consequently, close to 40% of printers polled are or plan to institute annual measurable sustainability goals, while 38% have issued company-wide sustainability reports.
3M Commercial Graphics, an industry leader in large format graphic materials, was recently welcomed as a Platinum Patron of SGP. The company has entered into the partnership in support of ‘green’ practices and is committed to reducing its environmental footprint and adopting sustainability best practices to benefit themselves and their customers.
“Adding 3M to the SGP community sends a strong message that sustainability is now the norm for the graphic communications industry,” states Marci Kinter, SGP Chairman of the Board. “And the support of innovative industry leaders like 3M helps to secure SGP’s role in the sustainability framework for our industry sector…”