On the other hand, Sorrento Mesa Printing owner Scott Cappel says: “We looked at these programs and felt that it was more sizzle than steak. We had no accounts that actually asked for these certifications, so we just took a pass. We posted our environmental police on the website and also attempt to do whatever we can without the need for third party certification.”
In the franchise arena, most systems tout their sustainability efforts on their corporate websites. For example, Sir Speedy’s “Environmental Message” reads, “We are committed to innovative sustainability practices focused on building a better world for future generations. We are changing the way we do business to preserve natural resources and the environment by reducing waste and reusing or recycling production materials, where possible.” The message goes on to list a dozen specific sustainability efforts.
At FastSigns, its “Environmental Promise” says that it “adopts and promotes sustainable business practices designed to reduce our local, regional, national, and global impact.” Here again, specific sustainability steps are outlined.
Case in Point
Of course, sustainability efforts can be validated without certification from a graphic communications-oriented organization. One example is the PostNet franchise in Steamboat Springs, CO, which was recently chosen as Sustainable Business of the Year by the Steamboat Sustainable Business Consortium. PostNet owners Kathy and Terry Stokes signed up for the Sustainable Business Program in 2007 and in the first six months their PostNet operation was able to reduce its energy consumption by 30 percent by such simple steps as turning off idle equipment and using more efficient lighting.
“We started realizing that there were definite cost savings,” says Kathy Stoke. With that in mind, they also upped their recycling efforts and turned to paper with at least 30 percent recycled contents for all their printing. They also established a shredding service and started a recycling program for used packing peanuts, which they, in turn, use in their pack and ship operation.
Although there are many printers who have chosen the individual route to sustainability, Kinter sees potential growth possibilities for SGP’s certification program with its recently launched Take Action campaign.
“We quite simply want to raise awareness of the SGP brand within the graphic communications industry and print buying community,” she says.
“Many within the print buying community are contemplating how to take the step to ‘green’ their supply chain. By reaching out to this community, we are able to provide them with a credible sustainability certification program that works, so that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Our message to the graphic communications industry, both printers and suppliers, is one of simplicity—to take that step to support the sustainability movement within our industry sector.”