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Scheufelen at Druckforum 2010

Friday, February 05, 2010

Press release from the issuing company

Some 250 participants from the world of paper, printing and design attended the Scheufelen event at the Haus der Wirtschaft in Stuttgart on 28 January 2010. At the Druckforum [Print Forum], the largest annual get-together of the sector, Scheufelen's podium discussion "Sustainability and a Look over the Fence" provided forthright, in some cases critical views, and food for thought from the experts invited from business, print and media industries.

Dr. Michael Spallart, CEO of Scheufelen, welcomed the guests to the event. After a brief economic consideration of the market, the paper industry and the corporate history of Scheufelen, he said that he saw premium paper continuing to be an important medium for the transmis-sion of information, education, art and culture. An opportunity for growth, but one that did not arise automatically. To be successful, Dr. Spallart banked on a consistently applied culture of values in the com-pany, on transparency, on an uncompromising implementation of the promise of quality, and he regarded sustainability as a competitive edge.

The presenter, Britta Schweinhage, outlined the three sets of issues to be debated in the subsequent discussion round: certifications, sustainability and values. The experts on hand included Rolf Blind, Sales Director of Sommer Corporate Media Elanders GmbH from Waiblingen; Tobias Heimpel, Director of Climate Partner Switzerland AG in Winter-thur; Benjamin Hillscher, Consultant with Star Publishing in Böblingen and Dr. Jürgen Höckel, Production Manager at Scheufelen, Lenningen. The discussion opened with the questions of the sense, quality and necessity of certifications; where was there an overview of available and useful certificates?

While Dr. Höckel presented Scheufelen's first DIN-EN ISO 9001:2000 certification as a first in the market, he now criticised the mushrooming of certifications. Scheufelen set itself targets: for instance in quality management, for putting environmentally-friendly concepts into practice. He felt the best source of information on certifications were trade organisations. Hillscher warned about the lack of national and international standards. Although certifications represented a commitment on the part of the company, without defined guidelines they still remained disputable. From the practice point of view, on the other hand, Blind explained the increasing customer demands. Years ago his company missed out on orders because it lacked certification. In the meantime Sommer Corporate Media had acquired every current certification. In summarising, Heimpel said that unfortunately ecological conviction was not enough. The business world and people needed to be put under pressure – which was why certifications like the PEFC and FSC were necessary. Only with serious certificates could the origin of the raw material, such as a tree, be traced.

Dr. Höckel cut right to the chase of "climate-neutral printing". In his opinion the term was misleading. Nothing and no-one was climate-neutral. He did not, however, object to the term "CO2-neutralised". Hillscher added that it was not just the printing process that had to be looked at, but the supply chain as a whole. There was still a wealth of unused potential there. Heimpel, too, backed climate-neutral printing as an idea. Customers had to be made aware of extra costs. He felt that was ecologically justified market behaviour, not demand shaping. Heimpel assessed customers by their requirements.

"Is sustainability a trend, hype or even just a marketing strategy? Does it entail extra costs?" It was with these questions that Britta Schweinhage continued the critical debate. For Hillscher sustainability was defined from three terms: social (man), ecology (the environment) and profitability. He avoided extra costs by improving processes. Sustain-ability was to do with one's own attitude, with credibility and transpar-ency. For Dr. Höckel it was clear that sustainability had to result in higher prices simply because of the higher prices of raw materials. Long-term planning and action was required. Blind, on the other hand, saw sustainability as starting in the factory, in small things, in weighing up necessities. The example he gave was that of regional suppliers cutting transport distances and costs. According to Heimpel there was a market for good, sustainable products. Customers had to be able to trace the origin of products on sale.

The third battery of the podium discussion revealed substantial agree-ment among the experts. Dr. Höckel: values like quality, service, re-spect and trust have to be practised. Customer care without these val-ues did not work, said Blind. What is the use of corporate philosophy on the Website, if at the same time there is no-one answering the tele-phone? Hillscher added a warning, that the Internet bubble would burst and so values would have to be practised again. Values raised profile. For Heimpel the question was not "whether experiencing values was a luxury". The question he provocatively addressed to the floor was "What does it cost if we don't do something?" The utopian amount of the costs of omission incurred, for instance, in eliminating environ-mental sins. "Practising values is not a luxury, having no values is madness."

The presenter steered the debaters through all the sets of issues, and then asked each expert to give a brief personal summary. Blind was aware that there was only one planet that everyone had to respect. Within printed products paper and only the transport accounted for the highest amount of CO2. That is why it was important to close ranks with suppliers. Dr. Höckel saw the issue of the environment in three areas for Scheufelen: energy, water and sustainability. Sparing use of resources was being made by targeted management. Hillscher called on everyone to be open to sustainability. He set the parameters for eco-nomical projects in conjunction with his clients. Heimpel explained that everybody had the opportunity to get to grips with this issue. Each indi-vidual had to answer for himself whether he wanted to take the oppor-tunity or not.

With this podium discussion Scheufelen opened an exciting debate on "sustainability and values" that was continued after the event in lively conversations between the public, experts and Scheufelen during the buffet laid on, as is traditional, by Scheufelen.




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