Italian paper company Favini is underlining its commitment to protecting the environment by renewing its support for a community based project in Madagascar, off the African coast. The company is working to help improve the quality of life for the community of Sahavondronina by teaching more innovative farming techniques that make it possible to respect the local ecosystem while helping to develop a more ecological tourism industry.
The project is named “Voiala” and is a microcosm of community actions aimed at protecting and recreating natural resources that have been heavily exploited. The main goal of the project is to use the experience at Sahavondronina to develop a model for other local communities to follow. At present, the inhabitants of this village in the east Madagascar, are protecting 2,077 hectares of virgin forest and in reforestatiion around the village, which has been stripped bare by decades of exploitation.
For the first three years, Project Voiala focused on protecting 2,077 hectares of virgin forest from further destruction, exploitation and poaching, as well as on related education efforts. At the same time, infrastructure was created in order to help with reforestation. Between December and March, a period that coincides with the rainy season, the project has planted more than 12,500 plants donated by Favini, involving 300 people and 2 schools, covering 6 hectares. Quarterly reports are posted to the Favini website to highlight the progress being made.
Andrea Nappa, CEO of Favini, comments, "We are proud to be partners of a project that has a great social value that provides a real support to the people to preserve their own environmental heritage. We strongly believe in the need to protect and reforest valuable forest, which fully represents our philosophy and our commitment to protect the environment , this is an important 7 year project from 2009.”
Favini was the first Italian paper company to adopt the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Standard as a guarantee to respect rigorous environmental, social and economic standards in the raw materials used to manufacture paper.
Royal Mail has joined the Two Sides and Print Power campaigns, describing the groups' actions to promote print as a sustainable medium as 'completely complementary' to its own work in the area. Royal Mail has emphasised 'the important role mail plays in the fabric of our daily lives' as well as the impact of printed marketing material in a digitised industry.
The goal of the Two Sides and Print Power campaigns is to promote the responsible production and use of print and paper, and dispel common environmental misconceptions by providing users with verifiable information on why print and paper is an attractive, practical and sustainable communications medium.
Royal Mail is an essential part of the UK’s economic and social infrastructure, serving companies, customers and communities six days a week; delivering 59 million items every working day to businesses and households.
David Gold, Head of Public Affairs at Royal Mail comments: “It is important that we recognise and focus upon the importance of mail for all UK citizens; ensuring that companies and consumers alike not only recognise the important role mail plays in the fabric of our daily lives but also how mail can deliver corporate marketing messages that really stand out an increasingly digital and media cluttered world”
Gold continues, “The mission of Two Sides, to promote the attractiveness and sustainability of mail, is completely complementary to our own activities and we are looking forward to working with the organisation to assist the development of their campaigns and strengthen our own relationships with information that will benefit all our stakeholders”.
Martyn Eustace, Director of Two Sides responds; “It’s great to see Royal Mail, an organisation very much at the forefront of print and mailing technology, supporting our campaigns. We’re currently having great success, supported by magazine and newspaper publishers, with our £2.5 million ‘No Wonder You Love Paper’ campaign, aimed at changing consumer perceptions about print and paper’s sustainability. The Print Power magazine, which promotes print’s unique effectiveness as part of multi-media campaigns, is now established as a must-have magazine for Brand Owners and Media Decision Makers. Royal Mail’s support for these campaigns, and our ability to collaborate with them, will be invaluable.”
Knud Wassermann, Editor in Chief of Austrian magazine Graphische Revue, has joined Verdigris and others in opposing Google's Go Paperless 2013 campaign, describing the initiative to urge business to go paper-free as 'nothing more than a clumsy attempt to market its services' which 'conveniently ignores the environmental impact of its own activities'.
"The “Two Sides Initiative” has compiled a list of facts designed to infuse the discussion with greater objectivity and demonstrate that internet communication is not necessarily the great boon to the environment it is often made out to be. Basically, it is no simple matter to compare the environmental impact of paper-based communication with the internet. A closer look at figures from the USA shows that the country’s over 2000 computer centres were already consuming more electricity than the entire paper industry back in 2010 and three per cent of the 76 billion kilowatt-hours required to run these centres were attributable to Google. The constantly growing volume of data is, in turn, causing the amount of energy consumed by the IT industry to increase and there is no end in sight. Furthermore, millions of energy-hungry laptops, PCs and tablets are all connected to the internet, most of which are produced in China under highly questionable social and ecological conditions.
Obviously enough, energy is needed to manufacture paper too, but much of it is generated from renewable sources and hence 65 per cent of the energy used to produce paper and cellulose in the USA and 54 per cent of that consumed in Europe originates from renewable sources. According to its own statistics, Google cites a figure of only 30 per cent. Of course, paper also needs to be printed and transported to its recipient. However, despite this fact, it is hard to imagine that more energy is used for this purpose than that expended to manufacture and operate the many millions of digital gadgets with which we meanwhile find ourselves surrounded – particularly in view of the rule of thumb that 80 per cent of the carbon footprint made in printing is caused by paper manufacture.
Paper and printing industry under pressure to justify itself
However, this is not an attempt to convey the impression that all is well in the global paper industry. There are still black sheep among paper manufacturers in the emerging economies of Asia and South America that use raw materials from non-certified sources. For instance, just before Christmas the WWF released a study proving that fibres originating from tropical timber had been found in the children’s books of German publishers. In order to present a complete picture, it should be mentioned that the production of children’s books has been largely relocated to Asia in recent years. Examples of this nature are frequently used to give the impression that tropical rain forests are being ruthlessly felled to produce newspapers, magazines and books, putting the entire value-added chain of paper-based communication under pressure to justify itself and causing its long-term environmental protection endeavours to disappear in a cloud of smoke.
Up to 50 million tonnes of electronic waste
One fact currently being ignored in the ongoing discussion on the environmental compatibility of digital communication is the amount of waste it causes. According to Greenpeace, electronic waste is currently the fastest-growing category of municipal waste. In Europe, the volume of e-waste is rising by 3 to 5 per cent per year – almost three times faster than the amount of waste overall. The number of electronic products being thrown away has significantly increased in recent years and meanwhile accounts for up to 50 million tonnes per year. Although in the EU, at least, there are regulations in place obliging manufacturers to take back their used electronic devices, the IT industry can only dream of the 70 per cent recycling rate that the paper and printing industry has been achieving for many years. No more than an estimated one third of electronic waste is currently being recycled. To make matters worse, some of this waste is being exported as hazardous waste that ends up on the landfill sites of developing countries. By contrast, paper is subjected to a number of recycling procedures and decomposes at the end of its life cycle.
In the meantime Google and similar companies have begun to compensate for their CO2 emissions by purchasing carbon certificates. Google even claims to have become carbon-neutral since 2007, due to the mixture of greater efficiency in its computer centres and the use of renewable sources of energy combined with carbon emission compensation. However, in this regard the paper and printing industry goes one step further, meanwhile offering carbon-neutral types of paper as well as printing machines and an increasing number of printing companies are offering their customers the option of compensating for the CO2 emissions generated during production by means of a small donation. As far as I know, there is still no such thing as a carbon-neutrally manufactured iPad.
Solidarity throughout the entire value-added chain
However we look at it, both electronic and paper-based communication have an impact on the environment and it is simply untenable for Google to claim that paperless communication is fundamentally better, no matter how green they try to picture themselves. It is therefore even more difficult to comprehend that the paper and printing industry has been unable to rid itself of the image that continues to stick from the past as environmental bad guys. One would think that Europe’s 100-billion-euro paper and printing industry is capable of representing its interests both at national and EU levels. Hence solidarity is urgently called for throughout the entire value-added chain for printed communication – to set the record straight once and for all on the subject of environmental compatibility."
About the author: Knud Wassermann has been Editor in Chief of Graphische Revue since 1998, during which time he has transformed the journal into a leading title for media design and production. A graduate of the Vienna College of Graphic Design (HGBLVA), he has been a close observer of the industry from a variety of perspectives for more than 20 years. Knud Wassermann is constantly in touch with the latest developments from his intensive daily contacts with producers and users. He assesses, presents and analytically documents current trends, facts and backgrounds covering all aspects of the printing industry.
Sun Chemical has released its 2012 Sustainability Report which it says 'showcases the company’s leadership in eco-efficiency through established data-driven metrics', as well as detailing examples of how raw material suppliers are contributing to the company’s environmental footprint.
The report describes a balanced scorecard approach that Sun Chemical uses to assess suppliers’ environmental performance and provides details about questionnaires that were sent to suppliers asking about their sustainability policies, carbon footprint emissions, the potential impact on deforestation, etc.
The report cites two case study examples of raw material suppliers who published sustainability reports and described their contributions and practices to eco-efficiency.
“We’re going beyond providing meaningful data that will help meet customer goals,” said Gary Andrzejewski, Sun Chemical’s Corporate Vice President of Environmental Affairs. “We are showing concrete examples of things our raw material suppliers are doing to help Sun Chemical meet and improve upon its eco-efficiency goals. It is our goal to manufacture products that help our customers better meet their environmental goals and we can only do that by ensuring our suppliers are also doing their part to contribute to sustainable practices.”
The report shows data collected every year since 2005 from approximately 170 Sun Chemical sites in over 25 countries. The key sustainability metrics measured in the data include: energy consumption/conservation at production and non-production sites, the energy carbon footprint at the production sites, process waste reduction, water consumption, materials safety, and employee safety.
Providing a report that shows the ongoing management and monitoring of key sustainability metrics is an important part of Sun Chemical’s sustainability policy.
“Our sustainability policy pushes us as a company to improve the eco-efficiency of our processes and products,” Andrzejewski said. “Our R&D efforts are a pivotal part of this process as we provide our customers with solutions that will be both eco-friendly and save them money. These data-driven sustainability reports have played a key role in helping our customers achieve many of their eco-efficiency goals.”
All of Sun Chemical’s sustainability reports, along with the “Carbon Footprint Report 2010,” which outlines the results from nine independent environmental analyses focused on quantifying the carbon footprint of its product lines, are available to customers and can be requested online at www.sunchemical.com/sustainability.
Customers in the U.S. can also calculate the initial carbon footprint for their facility operations by visiting www.sunchemical.com/suncare.
Verdigris, the environmental awareness initiative, is asking the printing and paper industries and their customers to ‘Go Google-less’ in response to Google’s Paperless 2013 campaign which urges people to stop using paper. Verdigris wants the industry to stop using the Google search engine and related products such as Google+, Chrome or Android in the hope that Google will reconsider.
The Paperless 2013 campaign (www.paperless2013.org) claims that relying exclusively on digital communications instead of using paper benefits the environment. However, Paperless 2013 is more about getting people to use cloud storage, online bill management, accounting and e-signatures.
Verdigris claims that Google and its campaign partners are using an environmental message to encourage use of their own technologies, not to aid environmental sustainability. “Their arguments are ill-founded and potentially damaging to the environment,” says Laurel Brunner, Verdigris founder.
Electronic devices cannot be recycled; paper can. Unlike paper, electronic devices are not based on a sustainable resource, but depend on oil-based plastics and rare earths neither of which can be replenished. Electronic devices require huge amounts of energy to support and maintain the content they deliver, whereas paper based content has a one-time carbon footprint. Electronic devices create an environmentally damaging waste stream that cannot easily be managed. Paper can be reused, recycled and disposed of responsibly when it reaches its end of life.
Verdigris wants enough people Go Google-less to encourage Google to reconsider its campaign. “At the very least, they might try to better understand the environmental impact of media and about what industry can to do help reduce environmental impacts,” says Laurel. “The higher the number of users, the higher Google can charge advertisers. Reduce the number and we undermine the source of Google’s income. The threat of harm to its revenue model might encourage Google to become better informed and be more responsible in its environmental positioning, particularly as relates to print and paper.”
Heidelberg Druckmaschinen AG has become an associate member of Verdigris, the not-for-profit research initiative which works with the global graphic arts community - printers, manufacturers, print buyers and publishers - to evaluate the carbon footprints of different media. Heidelberg joins a number of other leading manufacturers which are backing Verdigris, including Agfa, EFI, HP, Ricoh and Xeikon, as well as the drupa , FESPA and EcoPrint Europe exhibitions.
Explaining Heidelberg’s decision, Harald Woerner, the company’s Product Manager, Environment and Sustainability, praises Verdigris’s “precise and efficient communication” of the respective environmental impacts of different communications media. “At Heidelberg we regard sustainability as a long-term balance between environmental protection, business goals and social responsibility. We invest heavily to eliminate or minimise negative impacts throughout the life cycle of our products, from manufacture through use by customers to final recycling or disposal, and we look forward to sharing our expertise with Verdigris and our fellow project supporters. Verdigris deserves credit for its efforts so far to create and maintain a valuable cooperative effort by the graphic arts industry to discover and present the facts about print’s sustainability.”
“Making the case for Verdigris to the global leader in press technology is a major achievement for us,” says Verdigris founder Laurel Brunner. “Anyone who visited Heidelberg’s exhibit at drupa earlier this year witnessed how seriously the company takes sustainability. As well as the entire stand being carbon-neutral, Heidelberg showed a number of innovations such as in-press energy efficiency monitoring and heat recovery during drying. We were also impressed by the launch of consultancy services to help Heidelberg customers improve and reduce their energy consumption. Heidelberg’s participation is great news for Verdigris.”
Since its launch at drupa in 2008 Verdigris has mobilised the resources of its supporters to educate producers and consumers of print about its environmental impact, helping to raise print’s profile as a competitive communications medium that is also sustainable and has a low carbon impact. Verdigris achieves this by providing a global network of graphic arts industry publishers with free research and content — independently managed by specialists in print technology — that explores and analyses the issues facing publishers and printers and helps them manage their carbon footprints while continuing to run profitable businesses. Verdigris is also a major contributor to the development of ISO 16759, the standard for measuring the carbon footprint of print media products.
Large Format Review provides daily breaking news on digital printer technology as used for commercial production of print for wide-format sign and display, dye-sublimation textile and fabric printing, packaging and industrial applications. We also cover 3D print and additive manufacturing.