Heidelberg Hosts Environmental Dialog, International Award WinnersAugust 15, 2011
Integrating staff and end customers is key
“We’re passionate about environmental protection and are true believers,” explained Werner Drechsler, Managing Director of the Druckstudio Group in Düsseldorf. The print shop has tripled its sales in the last few years and the proportion of jobs produced using climate-neutral printing has risen to 10 percent over the same period.
A five-strong environment team with members from all departments and supported by external consultants serves as a forge for new ideas and putting in place a continuous improvement process. Employees are integrated and committed—this is one of the reasons why Druckstudio GmbH was selected as one of the 100 best employers in Germany.
The environment team at the Druckerei Lokay print shop in Reinheim in the German state of Hesse is soon to be expanded by “Social affairs and occupational health and safety.”
“Our vision is a code of practice for all employees, where fun also has an essential role to play in keeping people motivated,” observed Thomas Fleckenstein from Lokay. In his view, the environmental management system based on EMAS III, staff training, and external activities such as marketing and customer support are key to sustainability.
Ann Marie Keene from The John Roberts Printing Co. in the United States—which this year won the award for most sustainable printing company—agreed, “People are important to us—we train our employees, produce a sustainability report every year, and offer our customers tours of the company during which we show them the printing process and how we can save resources. Our customers never fail to be impressed by how much paper waste we eliminate by using Prinect Inpress Control.”
Seminars for customers are a big success at John Roberts, providing information on areas such as paper selection and other criteria for direct mailings and offering suggestions and new ideas on how to raise efficiency in communications.
An exemplary contribution to boosting staff motivation was presented by Polish print shop Werner Kenkel Spólka. This corrugated board manufacturer and packaging printer provided its almost 600 employees with training on the environment last year. Now, every time employees log onto their computers, they are asked randomly selected environmental questions from a list of 500 and are only granted access if they answer correctly. The family business also donated 600 bikes for climate-neutral travel to work—even the directors cycle to work.
“As an additional incentive, we reward our employees for good ideas. This cuts down waste and improves processes. There’s an extra bonus for reducing paper waste in printing,” explained technical customer service manager Radoslaw Jedrzejczak.
Need for lobbying for print products
One extensively discussed topic was people’s perception of the CO2 footprint of print versus online. A lot more educational work is necessary in this area to eliminate misconceptions about print and “dispel the myth that printing is harmful to the environment,” as Michael Keene from The John Roberts Co. explained.
Countless studies show that the Internet is not more eco-friendly. For example, two Google searches equate to the energy required to bring a pot of water to boil. The advantages of print include value retention and high-quality products.
“I view print as a form of communication. We’re finding that catalog production has increased once again and processing in this sector is of higher quality, featuring surface finishing, scents, and use of a very wide range of materials,” explained Arnfried Sittner from Kessler Druck und Medien GmbH & Co. KG in Bobingen.
“Print also scores highly thanks to its high recycling rate. Customers are increasingly printing to meet actual demand and products such as reference works are switching to the Internet, where they can be updated faster than in a print version,” added Dr. Achim Schorb from the IFEU (Institute for Energy and Environmental Research) in Heidelberg.
Participants welcomed the commitment by Heidelberg in offering a global platform for environmental protection in the printing industry with the Heidelberg ECO Printing Award.
“All the companies taking part, the candidates on the shortlist, and naturally the award winners provide impressive proof that integrated eco-friendly media production is the future and the right way to go about reducing global warming and protecting our environment for future generations. Overall we’d like to see a common network that pools the activities of the various task forces on sustainability (such as the FSC - Forest Stewardship Council - or Media Mundo) but also provides anyone interested from other companies with the positive examples of the award winners,” said Rainer Litty, Head of Print Production at WWF Germany (World Wide Fund For Nature), at the close of the Environmental Dialog.