RPI has become the first producer of personalized products such as photobooks, notecards, stationery, and business products to be recognized and certified by the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) for its sustainability practices.
SGP provides the only whole facility certification program for the graphic communication industry and goes well beyond the idea of simply recycling materials and using ‘green paper.’ While green certification organizations are highly beneficial for certifying materials that may be used in the print process, SGP is focused on the manufacturing process of making printed products.
“This is our industry’s gold standard for recognizing a company’s commitment to sustainable manufacturing practices,” said Rick Bellamy, CEO at RPI. “To be the first company that specializes in delivering personalized print products to achieve this certification is an honor that recognizes our company-wide effort to embrace sustainability.”
SGP is an independent, non-profit organization founded in 2008 by the industry’s top trade organizations to provide a certification label for sustainability in the graphic communications industry. Before its creation, there were no boundaries or parameters set as to what defined a sustainable print manufacturing operation.
SGP’s third-party validation of sustainability also ensures that a company isn’t simply ‘green washing’ in order to enhance its corporate image for the marketplace.
In order to receive SGP certification, print facilities such as RPI must exceed compliance with local, state, and federal laws. They must establish sustainability management systems, implement best practices across the organization and commit to continuous improvements in sustainability.
The final step in SGP certification is an on-site audit conducted by an independent, SGP-trained auditor who tours the facility and reviews documentation associated with the application. The SGP audit of RPI was completed in late September, 2013.
Once certified, facilities must report annually to SGP on their status and progress.
RPI started the official SGP audit process earlier this year in February, but the company’s sustainability roots stretch much deeper.
“Various departments started talking about sustainability and recycling in 2007, but we got serious about it as a company in 2010 with our company-wide ‘War on Waste’ program,” Bellamy said. “Today, through our company-wide Zero Landfill initiative, 97 percent of RPI’s waste is being recycled or diverted from landfills, representing a 57 percent increase in just three years.”
In addition, RPI’s holistic green initiatives enabled the company to take advantage of sustainability incentives from the local utility company, Seattle City Light resulting in significant savings that have produced a high return on investment.
“Our customers are very concerned about sustainability, just as we are,” Bellamy said. “We listened to what they had to say, and then put a great deal of effort into our certification initiative. Sustainability is a core part of RPI’s culture, and the SGP certification validates our hard work and commitment. It’s something that all of us – from our staff to our customers and industry partners – can be very proud of.”