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PRIMIR's Newest Study Focuses On Sustainable Print

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Press release from the issuing company

Reston, VA- In 2008, Pira International conducted research for the Print Industries Market Information and Research Organization (PRIMIR), in a study entitled "Sustainable Print in a Dynamic Global Market:  What Going Green Means."  With North America being the largest producer of global printed products, and the groundswell of attention on energy conservation, environmental and sustainability concerns, PRIMIR members wanted to learn more.  The 300+ page study, released in early 2009, delves into the impact of print on the environment.  It investigates who is driving sustainability in our industry; reports on accreditation and other environmental management programs and systems; reviews regulatory and compliance issues; contrasts how print compares with other industries; and, discusses carbon footprinting and offsetting.  The study also provides a number of best practice case studies and recommendations for all firms in the print supply chain.

Pira's research found that few companies in the print industry who claim to be 'green' truly are.  Most printers claim to be 'green' simply because they are FSC or SFI certified.  Additionally, a large number of printers are recycling everything they can from their operation, and many are generating income from these recycling programs.  But the study revealed that the more progressive firms have a culture-an all-out corporate commitment to sustainability-with full time staff dedicated to that purpose, and have made significant investments that already provide a positive ROI, not only to their production costs, but also in new customers who are seeking a sustainable supplier.  One printer proclaimed that the investment of $30,000 over three years in certification and audits for ISO 14001 had a positive ROI-before accounting for the new business gained as a result of their sustainability initiatives.

The PRIMIR study also noted that many corporate communications executives assume that using electronic media (e-mails, podcasts, websites or even television) are naturally greener.  The reduction of print is an easy target, but in reality, e-media alternatives have a far greater environmental impact.  In 2006, the paper industry was the U.S.'s second largest user of electricity, with consumption of 75 billion kilowatt hours.  On the other hand, data centers and servers were close behind, having consumed 61 billion kilowatt hours of electricity-and that was three years ago.  Since print volumes are declining, and the use of data centers is projected to double in five years, this is far from a 'green' alternative.  Plus, the disposal of electronic goods is the fastest growing cause of toxic waste.  There is a strong need for corporate and public education and awareness of the facts.

The PRIMIR study concludes that the quest for sustainable print in today's dynamic global market, with downward pricing pressure, a global credit crunch, and escalating energy prices, at first glance appears to face an insurmountable challenge.  According to the study, the industry needs to develop a new philosophy of supply chain integration, a partnership approach, and a more supportive and inclusive dialogue-along with education throughout the industry supply chain and the corporate community.

This comprehensive PRIMIR study identifies a number of recommendations for all participants in the print supply chain.  A key recommendation is to designate an environmental champion to act as a catalyst for change within the business.  Properly executed, these changes will spell increased profits through cost savings and increased business opportunities.

The study "Sustainable Print in a Dynamic Global Market:  What Going Green Means" was made available in early 2009 to PRIMIR and NPES members.  For more information about PRIMIR, contact Jackie Bland, PRIMIR Managing Director at e-mail:  jbland@primir.org, or phone: 703/264-7200.  Visit PRIMIR on the Web at: www.primir.org.




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