There’s no big advantage to starting with one initiative over another, he believes, since the goal should be to build a comprehensive process optimization program. Some may view the various certifications as kind of trophies, Podmayersky laments, noting that it’s possible to collect FSC or FSI chain-of-custody certification without really becoming an environmentally responsible printer.
“This is a journey,” he says. “You can start at any level of ease or sophistication you want. Once you start, it’s endless what you can do to get more efficient.”
The formalized portion of Art Litho Printing Solutions’ environmental journey got a jump start last year. The Baltimore-based, mid-size sheetfed and web printing operation became FSC certified in August of 2006, then closed out the year by signing a contract that enables it to offer clients 100 percent utilization of wind energy to produce their jobs.
There was no particular significance to the sequence of events, admits Kari Laudano, marketing coordinator. “In the printing industry, both paper and energy are used in excess,” she observes.
Art Litho’s story is similar in that its management team saw the potential to dramatically improve the company’s production processes and reduce waste by becoming more environmentally responsible. With paper being the main resource used by a printer, it’s a natural place to start.
“It was not an either or choice between FSC certification and wind power. Both are extremely important,” Laudano notes. “The main difference is that becoming FSC required the commitment of Art Litho Printing Solutions and its vendors.”
What’s required to institute an environmental program depends on several factors, she says. The process is easier if a company has previously taken at least some initial steps, such as having a recycling program like Art Litho did, so there’s already employee buy-in.
A single point person should be able to manage an environmental program for a small company, but establishing a committee is probably the better route for operations with 100 employees or more, she advises. Using outside consultants can be beneficial when a company is starting a completely fresh program and does not know where to begin, or to manage a major initiative, Laudano adds.