Beyond Trendy: Going Green Gains Considerable Traction

In September I wrote a column about environmental sustainability, saying that it is red hot and “everyone is talking about it.” It’s no longer just talk. According to “Outlook 2008,” a special report from B to B Magazine – The Magazine for Leading Marketing Strategists (, “going green” is becoming a mainstream goal for corporations. It identified green marketing as the most important marketing challenge that organizations will face in 2008.

Large corporations are pumping millions of dollars into positioning themselves as responsible. The widespread belief is that environmentally sustainable efforts will be rewarded by customers/consumers. So, of course the goal of these efforts is to increase goodwill and sales. By the same token, organizations are attempting to at least not lose sales by being dismissed as environmentally passive or, even worse, harmful.

Print is an obvious top candidate for these organizations—both as a target for reform and the vehicle for promoting a company’s success. If you are prepared, you can benefit greatly from this shift in corporate consciousness. But are you prepared?

What advice do you have ready for clients who are eager to make their print promotions more environmentally responsible? How knowledgeable are you about the papers, certifications and processes that enable companies to meet their goals? Do you understand the problem of “green-washing” and how organizations can really make an impact?

In 2008, every print solution provider (sales rep, manager, owner) should be able to speak intelligently about at least the basics of sustainability in print. Can you?

What’s your answer for print customers looking to go green? Should such efforts be left up to the individual printer, or would the industry benefit from a national program to define and promote green printing practices? Share your thoughts by posting a comment below.


(Note: the 2008 Print Oasis Print Buyers Conference offers a Sustainability Intensive to help print buyers and printers discuss how to meet these new goals. The 2008 Print Oasis Conference will be held on Feb. 9-12 at Amelia Island in Florida. For more information, go to:

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  • http://PeterKiddell Peter Kiddell

    What is ironic is that it is not a matter of saving the planet because it has survived numerous disasters including the meteor strike that wiped out the dinosaurs, several ice ages and massive earthquakes. The reality is that the tsunami of legislation and marketing output is to save the corporate structure and life as we or they know it. That is not to say that it isn’t necessary to be responsible about our wonderful planet. If our Governments stopped wasting Billions of pounds/dollars worth of resources in unecessary wars it would be a good start. Then they didn’t insist on continually increasing the money supply to fund Trillions of debt so that people buy product they don’t need. But then that is too simple.

  • http://KentMollohan Kent Mollohan

    You’re correct about the need to become more green, for all businesses. I will buy from the true green-moving firms; some will have trouble moving this direction, but real efforts can be rewarded. Phony PR efforts are likely to end in lost customers and profits. The industry can use more guidance: you maybe?

  • http://CeliaWerschulz Celia Werschulz

    Our paper reps keep us in contact with all of the papers moving toward FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification. I feel it is my responsibility to advise my clients what papers meet what "green" certifications, and to let their clients know they are spending the extra money! We are currently not an FSC certified printer, but I do expect we will as soon as our clients request it.