- More and more print shops are establishing their own environment teams
- Support and training for staff and end customers are key
- Need for lobbying for print products
Environmental protection, like sustainability, is a global issue of ever increasing importance that also affects the print media industry. Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) therefore played host once again to the international Environmental Dialog at the Print Media Academy on the occasion of the presentation of the second Heidelberg ECO Printing Award. Guests included the award winners and the print shops nominated for the award - in other words, companies that have long been committed to environmental protection. The participants discussed current and future environmental trends with Stephan Plenz, Member of the Management Board responsible for Heidelberg Equipment, and the members of the independent panel of judges. The entries submitted for the environmental award show a clear move toward fully integrated sustainability management. As well as print shops' environmental commitment, the importance attached to social factors is increasing all the time.
According to the participants, the next step involves saving increasingly scarce resources such as water, utilizing intelligent heat recovery systems in the pressroom, and above all allowing employees and end customers to play a part in the sustainability process. "The idea behind the award and the Environmental Dialog is to motivate print shops throughout the world to strengthen their commitment to environmental protection even further and to offer an international platform for sharing ideas and learning from each other," explained Plenz, who presided over the Environmental Dialog.
According to one participant, New Zealand, for example, is only at the start of the CO2 debate compared to Europe. And yet an increasing number of print shops there are applying for certification, while the demand from customers for climate-neutral print products - first and foremost from large B-2-C companies - is continuing to grow. "We're proud of using climate-neutral printing and being one of New Zealand's most sustainable companies in the printing sector," said Jenny Carter, Financial Director and Environmental Officer at Soar Printing Co. Ltd. in Auckland.
Participants all agreed that a commitment to sustainability pays dividends. A growing number of end customers expect suppliers to employ an environmental production process for print products, while state-of-the-art machinery and improved processes also help cut costs. "We process around 6,000 jobs a year and five percent of these are now produced using climate-neutral printing," explained Rob Nugent from Australian print shop Vega Press, which won the award for the top sustainable innovative solution at the Heidelberg ECO Printing Award. This proportion is set to rise in the next few years, as the Australian government is planning a CO2 tax.