Sustainability: It’s Red Hot

I study trends of major print media buyers. For the past few years, print buyers were most interested in learning about digital and variable data printing. While the interest in that topic isn’t waning, the hottest—and perhaps more ubiquitous—topic of interest is sustainability, including green printing and social responsibility. Sustainability is red hot. Everyone is talking about it.

The adoption of new technologies, workflows and solutions is typically slow, particularly on the printers’ side. Despite that history, we’re seeing evidence of very fast adoption as large corporations are moving quickly to create sustainability programs. An obvious target for these programs is print promotions.

Most buying companies are just starting to investigate ways to buy green, so now is the perfect opportunity to start collecting and sharing information with your customers. Don’t worry about not being an expert on the topic. It’s true that printers who have FSC certification and offer deeper solutions for environmental responsibility will have a significant and distinct advantage. However, even coaching customers on simple solutions for buying green can be a great value.

How is your company working with your customers on these issues?

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  • http://JohnPack John Pack

    In this "eco-frenzied" climate, it seems to me that the printer is in a position to move too fast in the wrong direction if not careful. It wouldn’t necessarily be wise to spend lots of money on a "green" initiative unless there was a way to validate, certify and utilize it. For instance, for about $50,000.00 a mid sized printer can buy enough carbon offsets to call themselves "carbon neutral", however these offsets aren’t yet reliable. The FTC is working to regulate, certify and validate offsets but until then it’s potentially smoke and mirrors and that just won’t do considering the serious nature of the issue. Another example would be the use of "soy" based inks. Soy ink is great but if those beans came from Brazil where they are clear cutting rain forests to grow them, shame on the printer because today, the sustainability conversation goes far beyond the environment to include a very crucial social responsibility component. If the people that pick the beans make .50 cents a day, we didn’t do the cause of sustainability and corporate responsibility any favors, in fact we worked against it. <br />
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    We feel that there are going to be several "Betamax" equivalents as it relates to sustainable business practices and our job is to help the print buying community find the "DVD". Stable, efficient, effective best practices that will truly work to make a sustained impact. We do this by being a company that’s critically engaged in the conversation. Also we work to gain notoriety in the print buying community as a company that is not only educated but is also willing to educate it’s customers and the print buying community at large.<br />
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    For Quality Color it’s simply not optional because some of our clients are among the largest direct mailers in the world and consequently under the most pressure from NGO’s. Our job is to know the most about this issue and apply those practices that are legitimate and truly valuable.

  • http://JimT Jim T

    A little off topic, but the Betamax comparison is poor. Betamax was superior in quality to VHS and only failed because Sony was greedy when it came to licensing their technology. An alternative format was born and the rest is history. DVD appeared about two decades later.