Schawk Inc. — Sustaining Business and Nature

The new MAN Roland 900 XXL has helped Schawk’s Los Angeles facility bolster its production of outdoor signage.

Of all the colors in the spectrum, environmental green has been a popular one for David Schawk, president and CEO of Schawk Inc.

Visitors peer over some printed samples during a recent open house at Schawk’s Los Angeles plant.

This isn’t the Schawk founded by Clarence Schawk in 1953, but the beauty of the company—not to mention the driving force behind its survival—is the ability to reinvent itself. The founder used his wedding money to get the company rolling, and his son has used the explosion of technology in the 21st century to continue it.

“We went from a traditional craft trade into the digital world. Slowly, but surely, we have progressed into a brand consultancy-type business, more so than a printer or a prepress company,” notes David Schawk, president and CEO. “Changing technology has changed our service offering.”

Schawk counts among its customers some of the biggest names in consumer products, retail, pharmaceutical and advertising, including Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Procter & Gamble, Home Depot, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline and Bayer. In fact, 34 of the Fortune 100 companies are Schawk clients. Not surprisingly, internationally known companies leverage the advantages offered in Schawk’s global platform, particularly 90 on-site facilities. These customer-located branches staff anywhere between two and 35 Schawk employees.

It was the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, that helped guide Schawk down the path to environmental sustainability. The retailing giant has pressed its suppliers to move toward eliminating waste and saving money. According to Alex Sarkisian, Schawk executive vice president and COO, the retailer is bullish on looking for new sources for savings.

“Wal-Mart has publicly stated that it can save $3.5 billion by reducing packaging material consumption by 5 percent,” Sarkisian notes. “That’s a gargantuan number, and that’s just for them.”

Beyond the Norm

The business sense is obvious, but Schawk has taken greater steps beyond cutting spoilage where possible. Its seven-pledge program entails the following commitments:

• Use clean production technologies and best practices for environmental protection in worldwide operations;

• Provide goods/services to clients that enable them to meet and exceed regulatory and proprietary environmental initiatives;