Don’t Be Green – Be Sustainable!

For years now, you’ve been told that you need to be a “green” printer. Well, now I’m going to tell you to be a sustainable printer instead.

First, let’s look at what those terms mean. Green and sustainable have much the same meaning to most people, however, they really are two different things.

Originally the term green was used to imply that products and services are produced with minimal harm to—or exploitation of—the natural environment. It’s logical to equate green with the environment; after all, we would all like to save those trees.

Sustainable products and services extend beyond the environment to include consideration of the impact on people and society, and add an element of economic viability. If a business is not economically viable, it’s not a business, plain and simple.

What makes a sustainable printer?

Triple Bottom Line

Whether you refer to it as the “triple bottom line” or simply “sustainable business,” by interlacing three areas of focus—society, environment and economy—you achieve sustainability. A sustainable business is:

Socially Responsible

• Honest in all business activities and contributes to the strength and growth of supporting communities.

• Respects the dignity, welfare and safety of all workers throughout the supply chain.

• Contributes to the community with livable pay scales for employees.

Environmentally Considerate

• Benefits the natural order as much as possible.

• Respects eco-system limits in production, processing and distribution.

• Avoids ecologically destructive practices, such as water pollution, over-harvesting, soil destruction and erosion.

Economically Prudent

• Accounts for natural capital throughout the production and supply chain.

• Generates a reasonable profit to support the long-term viability of the business.

• Creates real economic benefit to society.

How do you get there?

Just out is an excellent book—“The New Rules of Green Marketing” by Jacquelyn Ottman, the Grand Dame of green marketing. Ottman has been helping companies “go green” since 1989.

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A business adviser and problem solver, Gail is managing director of Business Strategies Etc., which provides strategic marketing and business planning services and manages the execution of marketing communications tactics that help companies:
• Define their sustainability strategies,
• Deliver a positive, sustainable image,
• Gain credibility, trust and respect, and
• Measure the results of their green initiatives and actions.

Gail is a nationally recognized speaker on a wide range of subjects and brings enthusiasm and a unique blend of experience to the podium. As an industry analyst and journalist contributing to publications in the United States, Canada, India and Brazil, she has covered a number of beats, particularly sustainability in printing and mailing, print on demand, variable data printing and direct mail.
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