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Special Sustainability Report: Embrace Certification, Conservation

November 2008 By Ed Farley
IN THIS new era of environmental responsibility, the message of “green” implies that a company uses state-of-the-art business practices and promotes good corporate citizenship. For a print provider, going green can transform an ordinary printed product into a powerful marketing tool, even as it serves customers as their most durable and trusted communication vehicle.

As more and more customers look for environmentally responsible vendors, the decision to turn printing operations green can positively impact a company’s bottom line. The key for business owners in taking advantage of this new market opportunity is gaining certification for processes and facilities, from the materials used to the operations implemented. This assures customers of the integrity of your environmental initiatives.

Consider this: Consumers routinely pay more for a “certified” automobile because they know it has been thoroughly inspected and approved. Likewise, for print consumers, seeing evidence of “certified” product quality instills trust and confidence—oftentimes the tipping points in vendor selection—and opens the door for higher sales and profits in your company.

According to a Pitney Bowes online survey* of 1,000 U.S. respondents on consumer attitudes toward the environment and the impact of direct mail, more than 87 percent stated that environmental conservation and preservation are important or somewhat important to them. Sixty-seven percent of the respondents said their opinion of advertising mail would be more positive if they knew there was a “green mail” label awarded by an independent third party, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This survey indicates that print providers need to educate the public about their green initiatives and positive environmental impact.

It makes sense for the printing industry to offer consumers a green alternative. Our industry can synchronize its efforts of certifying the products and processes used by industry manufacturers, distributors and printers. This will create a powerful value proposition for providers that can increase sales, and for their customers who are concerned about product quality and integrity.

To join paper manufacturers and distributors in tapping this market, printers can go green by bringing their operations into compliance with all environmental regulations, and by adopting pollution prevention and resource conservation practices. As an example, consider these Green Printing Practices developed by printers and representatives of the Printing Industries of Northern California (PINC):

1) Computerize prepress operations (eliminates photochemicals and saves water and energy).

 

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