Becoming a Top Green Printer the Hemlock Way – Part 2
There is always more we can do. We’ve been focused on external initiatives as we launched the carbon neutral program. Now we want to bring it back to an internal focus and communicate more with our staff, like we did in the beginning. It’s an ongoing thing.
Gail: How do you work with designers to help them design for the environment, to make their products more recyclable or reusable?
Kouwenhoven: The question of recyclability comes up regularly. We try to steer specifications to materials that can be recycled. Most fiber-based materials can be accepted in the regular recycling streams.
For example, we’ve encouraged our lamination supplier to stock a biodegradable lamination. Many printed products require some kind of laminated coating to give them strength and protect the image; unfortunately most laminates are not recyclable.
Working together we can offer a cellulose-based product that is only slightly more expensive than traditional plastic. Developed for window envelopes, the film has been turned into a laminating film.
We also regularly have creative professionals in Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC) and students in local design programs come and tour the operation. As part of those tours we give presentations about green printing concepts and designing with the environment in mind.
Gail: Is your “greenness” a marketing strategy or is it the message that underlies your marketing strategy?
Kouwenhoven: Hemlock is regarded as one of the best printers in North America; we are really an exceptionally good printer that happens to have green in its DNA. We certainly don’t say, “We’re really green and we deliver approximately what you want…”
We definitely communicate our environmental achievements, but it isn’t our strategy to say we are green first. We keep our focus on our quality and core products.
People don’t buy a product just because it’s green. When the choice is between two similar products, they will select the one that happens to be greener. The criteria are quality and price, but also green; not green first or instead of quality and price.
• 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.