The economic crisis has definitely affected sustainability. While customers like the idea of sustainability, many can’t afford to pay a premium for sustainable products. Alcan Composites’ Care & Conserve sustainability initiative assesses the company’s entire supply chain from raw materials to disposal. Rather than focusing solely on materials that can be recycled at a premium, we encourage designers and fabricators to incorporate a cradle-to-grave sustainability focus in the project design phase, including selecting materials that utilize recycled content and that can be transported efficiently to reduce fossil fuel expenditures. Additional Care & Conserve sustainability tips can be downloaded from our website.
Ed McCarron, director of marketing, digital imaging, InteliCoat Technologies
Now more than ever, it is a priority for businesses to be as efficient as possible. Sustainability is here to stay and it will continue to become a more important component of our industry. While incorporating sustainability practices into a business can have a positive impact on the environment, it can also be a good avenue to reduce the cost of doing business. For example, InteliCoat installed a new boiler that cut our energy use by about 40 percent.
At InteliCoat, we’ve achieved significant progress in dramatically reducing operational costs and waste while increasing our service levels through our enterprise-wide Lean Program. In 2008 and 2009, we completed a number of sustainability initiatives that have had a positive impact on our cost of doing business. We continue to reduce the solvents used on site and develop more water-based coating platforms. Additionally, all “non vinyl” solid waste and trim is recycled into fuel cells for power generation.
Catherine Monson, chief executive officer, FASTSIGNS International, Inc.
Some of the early demand for environmentally-friendly products has given way to concerns about the economy. Within our centers, we are seeing increased interest in regards to conserving energy and reducing waste. Even in a sluggish economy, FASTSIGNS still believes that providing sustainable products and solutions whenever possible is an important and meaningful goal.
Angie Mohni, vice president of marketing, Neschen Americas
Many print service providers like the idea of sustainable/“green” products; however, most aren’t willing to pay the premium nor are their customers. The sustainability movement is still in the very early stages of adoption by the mass market. More education needs to be provided so that print service providers and their customers understand the positive impact their selection of products can have on the environment.
Rick Moore, marketing director, MACtac Graphic Products
I think the recession has been an opportunity for companies to be creative about being “green.” At MACtac, some of our sustainability initiatives have assisted us in saving money while we have made important advancements toward reducing our carbon footprint. It is an exciting time for consumable products related to sustainability, especially boards, papers and fabrics that are recyclable as well as equipment, inks and manufacturing processes that are environmentally friendly.
I do think that the economy has curbed some of these advances, because green sometimes comes with a premium, but sustainability is not something that will be achieved overnight. We are continually encouraged that this is a sustained movement and that it is not going away—it is important to the industry as a whole.
Rich Nickols, digital product manager, UV curable coatings, Nazdar
Definitely as margins and profits fall it is becoming more difficult to spend the additional cost for green products and processes.
Randy Paar, display graphics product manager, Océ North America
A year ago the sustainability movement was foremost on everyone’s mind and quickly gaining momentum. Now it’s been slowed by the poor economy...sustainability is great but at what cost? Once we see the economy settle down, I feel that the focus will return even more than before.
Barry Polan, vice president, National Sales, Merisel
While we believe and are committed to the continued improvement in manufacturing methods as they relate to the environment and world around us. There is no question that we have seen a TEMPORARY shift in the hierarchy of needs from our clients. And for now cost has taken the top spot.
Michael Robertson, president and CEO, SGIA
The recession slowed down the move toward sustainable business practices and imaging solutions; but only slightly. Consumer interest will keep sustainability issues at the forefront for most in the business community. Making the effort now to incorporate sustainable business practices will be a huge competitive advantage in tomorrow’s marketplace. That’s why SGIA created a four-step program to help members maximize this opportunity.