Environmental Compliance — Being ‘Green’ Reduces Red Ink
There is no question, however, that the costs of compliance are significant. Frequently, these are costs related to increased overhead as a result of record-keeping requirements or reporting. Too often the activities that generate these costs are seen as separate from the operation of the company, rather than a part of the operation. When seen as organic to the business, opportunities will arise for turning costs into benefits. For instance, the record-keeping requirements related to VOCs can provide improved information related to usage rates and enable management to reduce costs, as well as pollution.
Other opportunities for improving costs, while becoming more eco-friendly, may be found by simply asking your suppliers to provide such alternatives. In many cases, printing industry suppliers have developed environmentally conscious products that not only help printers to reduce their impact on the environment, but can also lead to cost reductions or improved operations. Identifying and evaluating these alternatives, however, may require a different approach to purchasing.
Too often, an attitude of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” ends up leading to a belief that as long as what you are doing today works, you don’t need to consider alternatives. This attitude is strengthened by the situation that exists for most people who make these purchasing decisions, which is that there are not enough hours in the day to complete their tasks now, and the idea of adding another duty will not be well-received by them. But, this means that eco-friendly alternatives may not even be considered.
This can best be remedied when a company’s top management makes it a priority to identify such alternatives. This can be followed up by notifying suppliers and others that you wish to evaluate all of your production operations to identify alternative materials and methods that will reduce the impact you make on the environment, while maintaining or even improving financial results wherever possible. Even if you consider yourself already well-informed on these alternatives, you will be surprised at what you discover.
Gerry Michael is a CPA/consultant who has focused his practice on the printing industry for nearly 35 years, first as the founder of GA Michael & Company, and later as Graphic Arts lead partner at Carlson Advisors. Currently, he is a consulting principal with the firm of Falco, Sult Inc., and works with printers across the country on management and strategic planning issues, and is a frequent speaker at industry meetings, and contributor to various industry publications.