Sustainability is one of those feel-good issues that most people are for but are not necessarily willing to put in the effort to implement. Printers are no exception. For example, out of the thousands of printing companies in the country, only a few dozen have gone through the rigors of becoming SGP...
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According to Macfarlane, “We began the certification process with regular committee meetings to encourage employee participation and communication. We conducted extensive research to identify environmentally friendly print materials, such as recyclable banners and biodegradable rigid substrates. As part of the certification process, we also opted to upgrade our equipment to incorporate more sustainable processes. For example, our new flatbed printer substantially reduces the amount of waste produced, and the printer’s UV inks have virtually no VOCs. Other improvements were based on the safety and health checklist that supports our goal of providing a safe working environment. SGP Certification was a substantial undertaking, but the resulting improvements in our products, processes, and facility were well worth the effort.”
At Berman, they have used their SGP certification in their marketing but have found it useful in other ways, too. Erin Walter, Berman’s technical sales director, said “We have highlighted the demands of participation and the limited number of printers nationally that have qualified for this status. However, the impact is really internal. We didn’t go through the process for notoriety, but for the internal discipline required to maintain certification. This is the where the largest impact and benefit has been.”
SGP certification at ProGraphics was part of a rebranding effort, according to Macfarlane. “We rebranded our image to reinforce our emphasis on sustainability, including adding a recycled paper background to our website and business cards. We also changed our tagline to highlight the fact that we are now certified.”
When asked if certification has had a significant impact on her company, Macfarlane said “Certification has helped differentiate us in the marketplace. We are the only certified facility in Austin and the second in Texas. It has also given us the tools to become certified in local environmental programs as well, increasing our exposure locally.”
Is It For You?
When asked if they would urge other printers to pursue SGP certification, both Macfarlane and Walter said it is certainly something other printers should consider.
“I would recommend certification to any printer who wants to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable business practices,” said Macfarlane.
“We would recommend that other printers pursue the certification,” said Walter.”But only if they are committed to following the principles of the program because it involves a great deal of discipline and hard work.”