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Despite the Economy, NAPL Finds Printers are Committed to Sustainability

May 2009
PARAMUS, NJ—5/19/2009—Economic conditions may have bumped environmental concerns from the top of the printing industry’s investment objectives, but more than 80% of printers surveyed by NAPL’s Printing Economic Research Center (PERC) are either pursuing or soon intend to pursue environmental sustainability measures, according to a recently published NAPL White Paper, Environmental Sustainability: Structural Change or Just a Fad?
“Companies are facing urgent business issues, and for many, environmental concerns aren’t anywhere near the top of the list,” note White Paper authors Andrew Paparozzi, NAPL Vice President and Chief Economist; Joseph Vincenzino, Senior Economist; and Kong Lue Wang, Research Associate. “Nonetheless, the movement toward environmental sustainability continues to permeate societal thinking. All companies, printers very much among them, need to ask: How do we approach the challenges presented by environmental sustainability issues and how do we harness the opportunities?”
The White Paper, published by NAPL, the printing and graphic communications industry’s association for business management excellence, and sponsored by Kodak, is based on an NAPL survey of nearly 175 printers from throughout the United States, representing sales from under $3 million to more than $40 million and a variety of printing processes, including lithography, digital, and flexographic. It includes breakdowns of printers’ views on sustainability by company size and location; benefits, challenges, and disappointments of sustainability initiatives; customer demands for ‘green’ printing and its marketability; and top green printing practices.
“No doubt, printers have thought about environmental issues for quite some time, and usage of more eco-friendly printing techniques clearly is not new, but the concept of being or going ‘green’ has definitely intensified throughout the economy in recent years,” note the report authors, pointing out that slightly more than half (55%) of survey respondents indicated that their thinking on sustainability has changed over the last two years and that “regardless of current business conditions, sustainability issues have definitely gained some traction.”

More than 80% of participants indicated that they are either currently undertaking sustainability initiatives (71.1%) or plan to do so over the next year (9.8%), although the White Paper notes that survey responses make it clear that the concept of sustainability “encompasses a wide range of definitions and viewpoints—from a full array of extensive measures such as using wind-generated electricity or replacing delivery vehicles with more energy efficient models to basic recycling of paper and materials.”
Two-thirds of those surveyed indicated that the current business/financial climate was not causing them to change their environmental initiatives or position and another 17% said they were actually expanding sustainability initiatives. Only 2.4% said they were cutting back on initiatives and 10.8% that they were postponing sustainability plans. “Based on survey results,” concludes the report, “printing companies aren’t significantly altering their stance on environmental sustainability because of weak economic conditions.”
Each NAPL corporate member receives a free copy of Environmental Sustainability: Structural Change or Just a Fad?” as a benefit of membership. Non-members may purchase the 16-page report for $39.95 (affiliated NAPL Network companies: $29.95). To order, go to and enter code NP405 or call (800) 642-6275, Ext. 4.
About NAPL:
NAPL is a not-for-profit business management association representing companies in the $120+ billion commercial printing and graphic communications industry in North America. NAPL’s comprehensive slate of business-building solutions provides company leaders with the management tools they need to make informed business decisions in an ever-changing market environment. The association also handles administration of NAQP, the National Association of Quick Printers, which specializes in the unique concerns of small printers nationwide, and the industry’s Research and Engineering Council, which is dedicated to manufacturing technology and productivity improvement issues. For more information on NAPL or its affiliated associations visit or call (800) 642-6275.

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