In the big picture though there are companies that have embraced sustainability and are in fact reaping the rewards of being first-to-market and have developed strategies to recognize cost savings in other areas of their business that offset the higher cost-to-produce wide format graphics using “greener” inks and substrates.
Christopher Howard, senior vice president, sales & marketing, Durst Image Technology US LLC
The service providers that were initiating various programs prior to the economic crisis still look to be implementing them and ensuring that the fundamentals of such programs are being followed through. One of the key drivers that has such programs still in effect is the requests from the end user customer base on how the print portion of their marketing communications can fit into their own sustainability goals on a corporate level.
Lance Hutt, global product manager – digital, Avery Dennison Graphics & Reflective Products Division
Yes, print buyers, print sellers, manufacturers, consumers and the government are driving the industry to be more focused on sustainability – by minimizing the effects of our manufacturing processes and making our products more environmentally friendly.
If the greener option was available at the same price and performance, everyone would choose the more eco-friendly products. However, the willingness to pay a price premium for greener options varies by customer and end user. The higher the premium, the more niche it becomes.
Don Knox, US director of sales, Large Format Printing, HP Graphics Solutions Business
From our perspective, an increased emphasis on environmentally-conscious printing technologies has not been slowed by the economy as a result of increased end-user demand, regulatory pressures and a desire to improve working conditions for print shop employees. Print-buyer customer interest in sustainable printing services is growing rapidly, as much as doubling the number of inquiries about their suppliers’ environmental practices in the last year.
PSPs also see sustainable printing as an opportunity to reduce capital costs such as ventilation, emission permits and other operational costs such as waste disposal, landfill fees and energy bills. Often employees themselves are behind better environmental practices, as it improves the working environment and productivity.
Additionally, we expect to see a tightening of ambient air quality standards with more stringent regulation of Volatile Organic Compound emissions, which will in turn generate greater demand for sustainable printing systems.
HP Latex Printing Technologies opens new opportunities as it responds to the need of more sustainable signage, reduces the need for special ventilation and improves workplace environment.
Ken Madsen, president, GSG
I think the trend has flattened on the client side, but GSG is still committed to the sustainability. It is imperative to continue...We believe in “Green to Gold!”.
Lee Manevitch, technical support director, Signs Now, a division of Allegra Network
Signs Now has a sustainability initiative that many of our franchise members have helped shape. But the reality is that for our franchise members’ customers, keeping the doors open in today’s climate has become infinitely more important than choosing products and processes that are “green” or sustainable—one tends to sacrifice ideals in a survival situation. Until the additional cost of going green can be justified by end-users, it will stall during every economic downturn.
That said, as we prepare to pull out of this bad economy Signs Now’s position is that anyone who already has a sustainability plan will be ahead of those who don’t. And even though recyclable products historically have cost more than non-recyclable products, once we experience a sound economy we should expect customers to start asking again for greener signage solutions.