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How Green Was My Expo?

Special Report by Gail Nickel-

By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: November 1, 2006

Special Report by Gail Nickel-Kailing, Senior WTT Editor November 1, 2006 -- There are times when I hear someone say “Oh, printing… You just spread petroleum products over crushed dead trees!” Yes, we are in the business of producing creative, informative, motivational, and even, inspirational, materials using inks and toners applied to paper or some other substrate. However, we are not wantonly destroying our last resources to do so. Graph Expo 2006 was an opportunity to discover companies manufacturing products that tread lightly on our environment and to talk about their long-term visions, strategies, and policies. In this small space, we can only highlight a few, but there are many companies that are exploring a “third bottom line” measuring the effect of their products and services on people, society, and the earth. In keeping with our coverage of inks and papers, following is a look at the efforts some suppliers are making to deliver environmentally-friendly products. Ink Manufacturers Flint Group Wherever possible, Flint Group uses raw materials that have the least environmental impact; vegetable oil in lieu of petroleum oil and water in lieu of chemical solvents, for example. Flint has actively pursued development of options such as energy curable inks and hybrids. The industry as a whole has made strides in eliminating lead, barium and other heavy metals from its formulations. Flint Group was among the first to formulate soy-based news inks and vegetable-oil-based commercial inks in the late 80's and early 90's. Because many of the most potent pressroom chemicals are used in clean-up, Flint offers more environmentally friendly alternatives. Flint Group was a pioneer in the use of soy oil in newspaper inks and the current news ink lines qualify for the “Soy Seal.” The company also has two UV ink products that qualify for the same seal as well as sheetfed inks that are based on linseed oil, also a renewable resource with better drying properties than soy. “A core value that is included as part of our mission statement says that ‘corporate policies must be environmentally sound and promote a safe, healthy workplace.’ I can state with confidence that our procedures and standards meet or exceed the norm – not because it is the law, but because it is simply good business. It's the right thing to do,” said Rita Conrad, VP Corporate Communications, Flint Group. Sun Chemical “Sun Chemical practices environmental stewardship on a global basis, fostering our Technical and Regulatory groups to work to produce ink, coatings, pigments, founts and other products that are environmentally friendly,” according to Gary Andrzejewski, Corporate VP, Environmental Affairs, Sun Chemical. A number of years ago launched the SunCare® process as a tool and management system to effectively drive environmental, health and safety improvements both within Sun Chemical and its customers. Under the SunCare program Sun Chemical facilities are certified under a rigorous program aimed at protecting the environment. The SunCare program also leads to certification on ISO 14001 environmental management standards. Sun’s Product Stewardship effort has helped develop several environmentally friendly products that are now commercially available. These include Liberty™, a sheetfed ink series that dries extremely quickly, yet stays open indefinitely on press. Liberty, which has virtually no VOCs, was named a 2006 recipient of the PIA/GATF InterTech Award. In the packaging arena, Sun Chemical is offering WetFlex , a wet-on-wet flexo printing process utilizing electron-beam curing. These inks are formulated to virtually eliminate volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in package printing. Sun Chemical is focused on reducing the use of VOCs and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and the company is looking beyond the regulations to further reduce hydrocarbons that add to its customers’ burdens for obtaining environmental permits for their operations. Toyo Inks Toyo Ink promotes the development and sales of environmentally friendly products, based on its Environment and Safety Principles and Action Policies. As part of these efforts, the company has a system for registering environmentally friendly products. Products are screened by the Ecology Center and those that satisfy the relevant standards are then registered as environmentally friendly. The company has applied to use the Japan Environment Association’s Eco Mark for third-party certification of printing ink. So far 25 Toyo Ink product series, including offset ink, newspaper ink, gravure ink, and UV ink, have been certified to display the Eco Mark. Toyo also offers a line of food-grade inks, including black ink made from squid ink and the Liofresh Color series which is made from natural plant materials. “Through research on and development of environmentally friendly products, Toyo Ink makes careful use of limited natural resources, fulfilling its responsibilities as a chemical manufacturer duly concerned about our common future,” said Kunio Sakuma, President and CEO, Toyo Ink Manufacturing Company. “Toyo Ink also engages in environmental communication, providing information on environmental safety to local citizens, nonprofit organizations, municipal governments, and the Ministry of the Environment, and takes action to win the trust of its stakeholders.” (From Toyo Ink Group’s Social & Environmental Report 2005.) EFI/INKWARE LLC EFI, through its ink company, INKWARE, has developed the first solvent-based ink made from a renewable resource (corn) for use in the VUTEk wide format printers. BioVu™ is recognized by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and delivers all the benefits of traditional solvent inks without the compromises inherent in eco-solvent and aqueous inks. Like other true solvents, BioVu inks are dukrable, provide strong bonding to uncoated substrates, and resist mechanical wear and UV light. BioVu ink uses over 60% ethyl lactate, an alternative non-toxic and biodegradable solvent which has been approved by the FDA as a flavor additive. “BioVu inks are a biologically-based product and contain solvent derived from corn. Such products reduce dependency on oil reserves, benefit local farmers, and are safer for the environment and protect worker’s health. Today, customers have the choice of selecting a true environmentally-friendly solvent ink that not only best matches their overall business need, but also satisfies their environmental conscience.” said Scott Schinlever, VP/General Manager, Inkware, in a white paper titled The Next Generation of Digital Inks for the Superwide Format Market. Paper Manufacturers Before we dive into papers, a brief primer on the Rainforest Alliance and the Forest Stewardship Council might be in order. Choosing FSC-certified papers is one way a company can show environmental responsibility. This standard has global support from a wide range of environmental advocacy organizations; FSC-certified papers present no difference in quality or print performance as the difference is about forest management, not papermaking. The mission of The Rainforest Alliance is to protect ecosystems and the people and wildlife that live within them by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. The Alliance helps businesses, governments and communities change their land-use practices and set standards for the long-term use of resources in over 50 countries. The Rainforest Alliance works closely with the Forest Stewardship Council and promotes FSC-certification for forestry companies. To date, more than 1,300 operations and 69 million acres are certified worldwide. The Rainforest Alliance’s business unit in the forestry program is called SmartWood and carries out on-the-ground, detailed assessments of operations and their social, environmental, and economic components. SmartWood is the certification body for the Rainforest Alliance. (Thanks to Boise Cascade for a very helpful comparison of the two groups; read more at http://www.bc.com/environment/documents/topics/EnviroTopic_SFI_FSC_compare.pdf.) Mohawk Papers Mohawk has a long history of making its products as environmentally friendly as possible. This starts with the raw materials the company purchases to the way it powers its manufacturing. Mohawk has been recognized for industry-defining strategies and product lines that lead in environmental stewardship. Mohawk is the first large-scale production facility in the US to use non-polluting wind energy to manufacture paper. Many of Mohawk's recycled products (and there are over 1,300 of them) are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and /or Green Seal. The company just announced a plan to neutralize its “carbon footprint.” Specifically, Mohawk has partnered with NativeEnergy to offset CO2 emissions. The investment in renewable energy credits will help finance the construction of a series of farmer-owned wind turbines, helping family farmers to stabilize their electricity costs and help keep the farms in the hands of these rural families. Mohawk's investment in renewable energy credits was based on the amount of travel done by its sales force in 2006, estimated at close to one million miles, or the equivalent of 748 tons of CO2. “Mohawk has always had a strong commitment to protecting the planet and of being a responsible corporate citizen,” said Thomas D. O'Connor, Jr., Chairman and CEO, Mohawk. “Partnering with organizations such as NativeEnergy is one more way we are building on that commitment. By doing such things as offsetting our carbon outputs, in a way that brings new clean energy projects into being, we are taking responsibility for helping to combat global warming. Climate change is a major issue for everyone and we are beginning to organize many of our own sustainability initiatives around it.” Xerox Xerox has had a number of environmental initiatives in place for the last several years. For example, Xerox has paper supplier requirements that include: * Sustainable forest management and fiber sourcing * Effective mill environmental management systems with objectives for continual improvement in environmental performance * Strict limits on the use of hazardous materials in the processing and content of its paper and reusable/recycling packaging The company offers a number of multipurpose papers with up to 100 percent post-consumer recycled content and papers manufactured using an "elemental chlorine free" process that minimizes emissions of dioxin to the environment. Xerox has been a leader in “thinking green” for a long time, however just this week the company announced a $1 million partnership with The Nature Conservancy for development of science-based tools, practices and systems that the paper industry can draw upon to better understand and manage ecologically important forest land. “Advancing sustainable forest management practices among paper suppliers is an important part of Xerox’s longstanding commitment to valuing and protecting the environment,” said Anne Mulcahy, Chairman and CEO of Xerox. “We have pioneered two-sided copying, expanded our recycled paper, and developed solid ink printing technology and other innovations aimed at conservation. This partnership with The Nature Conservancy takes our commitment to a new level by focusing on the responsible management of forests that provide raw materials to make paper.” Boise Cascade To measure its sustainable environmental performance, an independent third party audits Boise Cascade’s wood fiber procurement practices against Sustainable Forestry Initiative standards and its own internal standards. The SFI program is a comprehensive system of principles, objectives, performance measures and indicators that reflect a commitment to the social responsibility of sustainably managing forests. During 2005, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP audited Boise’s wood procurement system and found them to be in full compliance with SFI standards. Audits are performed on an ongoing basis to ensure that the company meets SFI standards as well as internal standards, and that Boise is continuing to improve its environmental management practices.



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