24 Sep 2021

The changing face of sustainability – from Swampy to Wal-mart

Mike Duke Swampy

In his latest blog, Marcus Timson, Director of FM Brooks and co-founder of the EcoPrint Europe Live 2012 event, writes about the changing face of sustainability...

"One of the problems that some people seem to have with sustainability is its image.  For many people, the image of sustainability is that of an anarchic, righteous, self-satisfied, virtuous individual who recycles, eats pulses, campaigned for nuclear disarmament in the 1980’s and wears odd clothes.  While this image - or indeed stereotype - still exists, is making way for a modern, local, global, trend-aware and visionary individual who wants to conduct their life and business in a different way. Of course, it is difficult to shake of the image of the past, but in my opinion, sustainability has definitely moved mainstream and is becoming more and more business- focused.

And that is good because for sustainability to succeed, it has to be commercially successful.  No business is sustainable if it doesn’t make money.  No business can grow unless there is something of value that is being created and sold for a healthy profit.  And no business can generate social and environmental value without money and a commitment to innovation. A strong sustainable business has to be innovative throughout its processes, its personnel development and its product ranges in order to thrive in the long term.

But let’s get back to the image of sustainability.   In the UK in the 1990s, we had a character called Swampy (out of interest - where is he now?)   Anyhow, he was pilloried by the UK media and the political institution as an example of an irresponsible, but educated youth who had nothing better to do than cause a nuisance of himself.  Regardless, he raised the profile of the pro-active eco-warrior by protesting against road building in certain parts of the UK.

I am not doubting his good intentions or accusing him of anything other than good-natured and committed protesting.  However, he went some way to generate the stereotype that many people still have of environmentalism and sustainability: the generic view that - to be sustainable - you must be part of a small minority of misfits, with whom the mainstream cannot identify.

The current lead eco-warrior, as far as I am concerned, is Mike Duke, the CEO of Wal-mart.  The single biggest retailer and commercial employer on the planet, Wal-mart is making great strides in sustainability. It asks its enormous supply chain to align with Wal-Mart’s goals for carbon reduction. This is a real force for change and the brands, productions, employees, suppliers and customers of Wal-mart are all gaining some green credentials from this strategic and significant change. The collective impact of change on a massive scale reaches out and can make a big difference.

So over the past 20 years, the face of sustainability has completely changed.  For those who don’t understand or don’t want to understand sustainability then fine, continue doing what you have always done.  However, the world is changing and soon enough bad print won’t be tolerated by the mainstream.

ASDA, which is owned by Wal-mart, recently reported that its customers consider that green is actually the ‘new normal’. To them, it isn’t such a big deal or nor does it represent a big change.  So people are changing and have changed; businesses are changing and have changed; ergo so must print. Whether you are a wide format printer, offset, litho, flexo, label, screen or digital, narrow, whatever, and however you describe yourself, change will occur.  The EcoPrint Show will help any print company make sense of this change, align with the new face of sustainability and profit in the process."

For more information on The EcoPrint Show, please visit www.ecoprintshow.com

3M Commercial Graphics joins SGP as Platinum Patron


Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP), a non-profit organisation providing sustainability certification in the graphic communications industry, has welcomed 3M Commercial Graphics as its newest Platinum Patron. Minnesota-based 3M is a technology and product leader in the large format graphic materials industry. 

"We recognise that what's good for the environment can also be good for business," states Jean Sweeney, Vice President of 3M's Environmental, Health, and Safety Operations. "Our sustainability efforts are focused both on reducing our environmental footprint and growing 3M through the creation of products that help our customers address their sustainability challenges."

"I am pleased to provide support to SGP at the Platinum Patron level," comments Bob Doughty, Vice President and General Manager, 3M Commercial Graphics Division. "This investment is well-aligned with our long-standing commitment to sustainability and with our reputation for providing the industry with the best and most innovative large format graphic products. SGP helps provide a framework for sustainable innovations to our industry that benefits 3M and our customers."

"Adding 3M to the SGP community sends a strong message that sustainability is now the norm for the graphic communications industry," states Marci Kinter, SGP Chairman of the Board. "And the support of innovative industry leaders like 3M helps to secure SGP's role in the sustainability framework for our industry sector. We look forward to working with 3M, and to their participation in the future development of the SGP program."

Three Strategic Principles

3M's sustainability work is guided by three strategic principles: economic success, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility. The company builds lasting customer relations by developing differentiated, practical, and ingenious solutions to sustainability challenges. 3M uses life-cycle management tools to evaluate a product's environmental impact prior to product launch, and it continuously improves on products and processes through both innovation and Six Sigma principles. Its employees engage in dialogue about sustainability and take action to improve the company's performance. 

Environmentally Preferred

3M Commercial Graphics has many highly durable and flexible UV-curable inkjet inks that have low VOC content. It offers non-PVC film options in its intermediate and premium product lines. The company also concentrates on environmentally preferred packaging, including a boxless packaging initiative (which reduces packaging waste such as boxes and endplugs) and a recycled resin endplug initiative. To date, 3M employees have completed 8,600 projects that have resulted in the elimination of more than 3 billion pounds of pollution and saved the company nearly $1.4 billion.

For more information, please visit www.3m.com/sustainability

Agfa Graphics recognised for sustainability efforts

Agfa Mxaward Pic

Agfa Graphics Ltd has won the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Manufacturing Excellence (MX) Award for Sustainable Manufacturing, sponsored by Arup, a global professional services firm headquartered in London.

Agfa was awarded the honour at a celebration held at the Park Lane Dorchester hotel.  "We highly appreciate this award as a recognition of our focus on sustainability," said Dominiek Arnout, VP Operations at Agfa Graphics. "The manufacturing industry values our continued efforts on sustainability by awarding one of our production plants, and appreciates our concern for the environment, the people and the community Agfa Graphics is part of.”

On its sponsorship role, an Arup spokesperson comments, "Businesses with the ability to produce first-class products, using sustainable processes, need to be seen as role models. They deserve our admiration and for their achievements to be celebrated to the wider industry.”

Besides the ISO9001 quality standard, Agfa Graphics streamlines its efforts to achieve sustainability in the form of energy management, workers concern and Safety Health & Environment (SH&E) compliance across the globe across its various manufacturing plants. Throughout all its production facilities, Agfa Graphics adheres to local restraints and regulations and commits to all norms regarding environmental management (ISO14001), occupational safety and health management (OHSAS18001). Moreover and by implementing SERP, a global Sustainability and Energy Reduction Programme, the company intends to prepare for upcoming changes and expectations based on worldwide standards.

Dominiek Arnout continues, "As a sustainable supplier, Agfa Graphics will be capable of delivering the right products for the market place in general, and in particular for the graphic industry where sustainable print production becomes increasingly important. Proof of this are initiatives taken by many of the leading printing and publishing companies to reduce the carbon footprint of their operations and the announcements that sustainable production of media will be an important future-relevant subject at the upcoming drupa 2012. One of the products Leeds is involved in, is our award winning :Azura TS printing plate. This uses a water based coating process and, compared to conventionally processed plates, reduces waste generation by about 80%."

The Agfa Graphics' strategy of sustainability through ongoing innovation dovetails into this general concern of the printing industry. It encouraged a global approach under one management to streamline all efforts across Agfa Graphics' manufacturing plants and to develop synergies that can be found between the various facilities.

"All of our manufacturing plants worldwide will benefit from the work that led to this MX Award for Sustainable Manufacturing through exchanging of best practices that have been benchmarked by the award winning Agfa Graphics Ltd production plant in Leeds (UK),” said Graham Cooper, Worldwide Sustainability Manager at Agfa Graphics.

[photo caption: Alan Balfield (Director of the ARUP Group Board - left) congratulates Graham Cooper (Worldwide Sustainability Manager at Agfa Graphics - middle) and Derek Jackson (SH&E Specialist at Agfa Graphics Leeds - right)]

Stefanie Thiele joins EcoPrint as Sales & Operations Executive

Ecoprintshow 510

Stefanie Thiele has joined EcoPrint in the newly created Sales & Operations Executive role.  Stefanie has an MA, with distinction, in Events and Conference Management as well as a BA in Event and Congress Management.  Her mother language is German, but she is fluent in English and speaks basic Spanish. After studying for her BA, she secured an internship at Messe Munich International Fair Ground. This position became permanent and she went on to provide logistical support across 3 large exhibitions, the biggest being Productronica, which has over 1500 exhibitors.

With a desire for new challenges she went on to work for GHM, an exhibition organiser in a sales role. This was an all-rounded role of generating leads, new business and account management.  This was across three exhibitions, reporting to the Exhibition Director.

Frazer Chesterman says, ‘We recognise how important the German market place is for our business, so to employ another event specialist with direct experience of the German exhibition marketplace was a very logical move. EcoPrint is developing nicely and Stefanie will be directly responsible for helping to build the profile of commercial print within the event. Clearly, this year will be an exciting one for EcoPrint and we are looking forward to developing a team that works for the Germany and European print marketplace.’

And now Intergraf lends its support to EcoPrint

Ecoprint Logo B Kose

EcoPrint has announced that Intergraf, Europe's leading professional federation for commercial print, is now a supporting association of EcoPrint 2012.
The news extends EcoPrint’s reach into the commercial print sector and confirms the exhibition as the number one forum for promoting a sustainable print industry.

Beatrice Klose, Secretary General, Intergraf comments, “It makes perfect sense for Intergraf to support EcoPrint 2012. For many years we have been providing our members with the advice, solutions and, more recently, the practical tools they need to successfully adopt sustainability within their companies. EcoPrint is both a unique and inspiring prospect for Intergraf and we are delighted to be a part of it.”

As the leading pan-European professional print trade organisation, Intergraf has achieved notable success in its long-term work devoted to sustainability. This includes the development of key steps in the formulation of a carbon calculator that helps print businesses to measure and gauge their carbon output.

Frazer Chesterman, Director, EcoPrint adds, “Since the launch of EcoPrint in October 2011 we have been pleased at the level of interest in the show from across the entire print spectrum. The issue of sustainability is not confined to any one part of the print industry and Intergraf's support is exciting given its respected place in the commercial print sector. EcoPrint 2012 will mark the formation of a new community focussed on the biggest single issue facing the industry today, that of sustainability – both ecologically and economically.”

Intergraf represents 23 national printing federations in 20 countries in Europe. It promotes and protects the interests of print and related industries by working with the European Institutions to enhance the sector's competitiveness through lobbying, informing and networking.

EcoPrint 2012 will feature seminars, debates, discussions and advice for print businesses, creative agencies, marketeers and print buyers who are keen to successfully adopt a sustainable strategy. It will be the first exhibition devoted to driving forward the print industry’s definition of sustainable products and services for print production. EcoPrint 2012 will focus on applications and the business of sustainability, in a unique format unlike the traditional print trade show model.

For more information on EcoPrint, please visit http://www.ecoprintshow.com/

[picture shows Beatrice Klose, Secretary General, Intergra, alongside EcoPrint Show logo]

ISA welcomed as newest Gold Patron of SGP


Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP), a non-profit organisation providing sustainability certification in the graphic communications industry, today welcomes the International Sign Association as its newest Gold Patron. The International Sign Association (ISA) is a trade association comprised of manufacturers, users and suppliers of on-premise signs and other visual communications systems. ISA recognises SGP as the industry standard for sustainability in print facilities, and encourages sign companies with print production to become SGP Certified. ISA hopes to feature several SGP certified facilities in its third-annual Green Product Showcase in 2012, where more than 20,000 conference attendees will experience the latest sustainability innovations.

"We are delighted to support the SGP Partnership in their important efforts to provide an industry standard for sustainability and best practices within print manufacturing operations," comments Sapna Budev, Director Industry Programs, ISA.

"With ISA joining the SGP Partnership, the programme now has the full support of all major trade associations in the graphic communications industry," states Marci Kinter, Chair of the SGP Board of Directors.

ISA implements a variety of programmes and services to assist member companies with sustainability. For example, it educates signage companies on how to become state- and EPA-compliant with regulations surrounding air quality, hazardous waste, recycling, energy efficiency, and more. It also researches alternative energy solutions for use in sign production, and ensures companies' understanding of the Federal Trade Commission's Green Guidelines. Additionally, ISA is heavily involved in tracking and testifying on various environmental codes and standards that affect sign fabricators and suppliers.

For more information about the SGP Partnership, the Patron programme, or the SGP certification process, visit www.sgppartnership.org