Heavy metal carbon calculators
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By Laurel Brunner, Verdigris
8 June 2012
Heidelberg offset the carbon footprint of its drupa 2012 stand [pic: drupa]
This article is part of the Verdigris series of stories about understanding the environmental impact of print. The Verdigris project is supported by founder members Agfa Graphics, Canon Europe, Digital Dots, drupa, HP, Kodak, Ricoh and Unity Publishing, and associate members EFI, Pragati, and Xeikon.
The mega traditional press manufacturers such as Heidelberg have been relatively slow to embrace the sustainability message. However, a bit like turning an ocean tanker, once the turn is underway it is slow but it is decisive. So it is with Heidelberg who is investing substantially into carbon calculation, in order to offset its emissions. We spent some time at drupa with the folks leading this work, to find out how much of it is greenwash and how much is for real. A detailed evaluation will take more than a quick blog to cover, but the gist of it is that Heidelberg's efforts are as sincere as they are impressive.
For instance the carbon footprint of Heidelberg's entire drupa stand was offset, a bold move given that this added a chunk of cost to an already costly enterprise – consider that the price of carbon on the European carbon exchange is roughly €20 (£16) per tonne. Heidelberg decorated its drupa stand with 3,500 used printing plates harvested from its demo facilities in order to save on paint in Düsseldorf. That is about 0.07 metric tonnes (70kg) of carbon equivalent just for the wall decorations. Add in the machines, the stand construction (using recyclable materials of course), travel and accommodation for all staff, machinery transport, all before, during and after the show. Despite its battered balance sheet Heidelberg made a huge, if not the biggest, investment into carbon neutrality of any exhibitor at drupa.
The company has been assiduous in its data collection, working with primary data, that is, data that it has direct control over, wherever possible. The data for machines for instance was based on Bill of Materials (BOM) information, to cover absolutely everything required to construct a machine. Rough material assessments were made for supplied materials using data provided by the materials supplier. This secondary data was supplemented by additional information sourced from the EcoInvent database where necessary. Heidelberg used FSC stocks and wherever possible worked with papers for which a paper profile could be provided. The exceptions were papers where a machine's performance might otherwise be compromised.
Heidelberg has developed a carbon calculator of its own for providing carbon neutral machines to its customers, including cradle-to-gate manufacturing and delivery in its calculation. Individual calculations are done for every machine that leaves Heidelberg factories, since no two machines are alike, varying in the number of units, electronics and so on. This calculator is compliant with ISO 14040 and ISO 14044, the standards for lifecycle assessment, and fully accredited. Heidelberg is making an impressive and bold effort, taking the lead in carbon calculations and investment that benefits the whole industry, customers and competitors alike.
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