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Heidelberg Organizes First 'Environmental Dialog' at the Print Media Academy

April 2009
HEIDELBERG, GERMANY—April 23, 2009—More and more print shops are taking on board the principles of sustainability and Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg), too, is committed to this development. For a number of years, the company has been employing a variety of measures for minimizing the use of resources, and for reducing emissions and waste or even eliminating them altogether—both in its own manufacturing operations and in the subsequent use of the presses it produces. Intensive dialog with users, i.e. print shops, is an important part of this strategy.

In order to encourage print shops with an interest in the environment to share know-how and to make ideas that have already been implemented accessible to others, Heidelberg initiated its first "Environmental Dialog" at the end of March. During this event at the Print Media Academy, a dozen or more representatives of print shops with excellent green credentials - mainly from German-speaking countries - discussed issues relating to environmental protection in the print media industry with representatives of various associations.

The event was hosted by Dr. Achim Schorb from the IFEU (Institute for Energy and Environmental Research) in Heidelberg. To get the ball rolling, two print shops presented their environmental concepts. Lokay-Druck from Reinheim near Darmstadt is looking to become Germany’s most environmentally friendly print shop by 2012. Stark-Druck, a web and offset printer from Pforzheim in Baden-Württemberg, is soon hoping to heat both its own premises and those of a neighboring mail order company with the waste heat from its machinery.

Green printing in practice
The forum’s central message was that green printing is not a utopian concept, but achieving green printing is more a matter of mindset than technology. According to Dr. Schorb, "There's no point having the most environmentally friendly press available from Heidelberg if the printer doesn't intend to use it for environmentally friendly printing." Martina Fuchs-Buschbek from Oktober-Druck in Berlin was convinced that familiar and long-established processes represent more of an obstacle to implementation than the environmental issues themselves. "The young generation finds it easier to make the necessary changes in terms of machinery and chemicals because their training gives them a basic understanding of the relevant concepts. Older and less flexible colleagues will gradually retire," she stated.

The animated and at times heated discussion identified print buyers’ decision-making structures as a problem. It was pointed out that even if the actual customer is interested in green print products, he or she is often not in a position to place the order personally. This is usually the task of the purchasing department, which is normally only interested in one thing - low prices - and pays little attention to how the product was manufactured. It was agreed that further work was required to convince buyers to change their ways.
 

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