Misconceptions and myths of green vol 1, pt 2
What do you think?
POST A COMMENT
By Laurel Brunner, Verdigris
1 December 2011
Efforts to improve cost effectiveness generally have a positive impact on the environment, from the design of airliners to digital presses. Cost savings drive business improvements, and environmental impact improvements
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.
Click here to read volume one, part one.
Misconception 4: A green agenda will slow down my production
Adopting a green agenda does not mean less efficient production. There is no reason why pre-press and press technologies need to be slower in order to reduce their impact on the environment. In fact a more efficient and fully automated pre-press workflow is likely to be faster and produce less waste on press. The time taken to automate a workflow or improve colour management should be treated as time spent in improving cost effectiveness, production capacity and profitability. This is part of managing the business and reduced environmental impact is a positive side effect.
Misconception 5: A green agenda will make my business less efficient
Removing inefficiencies is a key goal for any successful business so, of course, a green policy that makes the business less efficient is worse than useless. However, green initiatives do not have to make processes inefficient. The objective is to develop and adapt an environmental policy that improves production and management processes to be more efficient and less wasteful. This can be achieved through such initiatives as optimising delivery schedules and routes, and ensuring that all machines and digital systems are fully functional.
Misconception 6: Reducing my company's environmental impact is pointless
For many years print has had a positive and relevant story to tell when it comes to the environment. Paper is a sustainable resource, based on a harvested crop that is continually replenished. It can also be recycled up to six times.
A PhD thesis published earlier this year by Phil Lawrence, of Sydney, Australia's University of Technology, confirms that printing has indeed made huge progress when it comes to the environment. He reports that quantitative and qualitative research showed a substantial reduction in the printing industry's environmental impact over the last 20 years: "Printers have been forced to adopt new and highly efficient technologies into their businesses […] The printing industry has become about 97 percent less environmentally damaging than [it] was in the Kyoto base year 1990." These efforts have been made in the interests of efficiency and cost reductions, but the knock-on effect has been an extremely positive environmental impact. And printers continue to work to reduce their impacts across all sectors.
Misconception 7: Adopting a green strategy is a waste of money
Reducing waste is what a green policy is always about and that includes saving costs rather than wasting money. In any enterprise, however, money is wasted if it is invested without establishing a means of return or of measuring that return. From human resources to capital equipment, business investments must be made wisely, with risks managed and implementation fully resourced. An environmental policy is no different and requires management to ensure a good result. Low-cost initiatives, such as organising spaces for optimum energy use or deals to sell waste materials, are unlikely to be a waste of money. The waste comes when investments of time or equipment are not fully leveraged.
Misconception 8: Efforts to reduce the environmental impact of print are unlikely to have an impact
As Phil Lawrence's work has shown, there is a very high likelihood that environmental efforts will have an impact for the industry as a whole. More interesting for print company owners is the impact a green effort will have on their businesses. The impact is directly related to the commitment of the company to the policy and to communicating it effectively to customers. If this is well done, there will definitely be an impact.
Misconception 9: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not print's problem
The world-wide rise in greenhouse gas emissions is every business owner's problem, since it is of concern to consumers and governments. The printing industry accepts this, which is why so many companies have developed green business strategies. Hiding behind the press is no way to face the environmental threats all industry must face. Managing environmental impact is every business's responsibility, and ultimately consumers expect responsibility from their service providers. This reaches to all links in media supply chains, from pre-press to distribution.
In part two of this story we look at some of the myths surrounding environmental initiatives in the printing industry.
Comments in chronological order (Total 0 comments)
There are no comments yet for this article.