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Funds from FESPA’s Profit for Purpose programme have been deployed to finance the participation of print sustainability specialist Paul Machin in key discussions around the forthcoming EU Ecolabel for printed paper. Working through Intergraf, the international confederation for printing and allied industries - with whom FESPA collaborates closely – Machin was involved in a series of EU Ecolabel Board debates over the label’s definitions.

His contribution was instrumental in two key victories for screen and digital printers. Firstly, Machin’s lobbying efforts ensured that the screen printing process was accepted as being suitable for the label, having initially been discounted as a ‘dirty process’. Secondly, his expert technical insights have secured exemption for screen and digital printing from the label’s restrictions on VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions. Machin successfully argued that the restrictions on emissions would impose an unfair restraint to trade for screen and digital printers.

Before the EU Ecolabel for printed products becomes applicable it will undergo a scrutiny period by the European Parliament as well as the European Council.  Chris Smith, responsible for FESPA’s Planet Friendly programme, explains, “There is strong demand from print buyers for products carrying an EU Ecolabel, so it’s important for screen and digital printers to be able to respond. For printers to comply, the EU Ecolabel specifications have to be realistic and achievable. Paul’s technical, chemical, legal and environmental expertise has helped the EU Ecolabel Board to understand the real-world requirements of these printing processes. The result is a significant victory for FESPA’s European community of printers.”

Paul Machin is a long-standing consultant to FESPA within the scope of its Planet Friendly programme. Within his remit for FESPA, Paul Machin also participates actively in Intergraf’s Environmental Working Party and in the Intergraf CHEMI group, which deals with the impact of REACH, the European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use. Paul also contributes a regular Planet Friendly blog published on www.fespa.com.