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Leaders in sustainability address trends at SGP's recent press event

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Press release from the issuing company

Loveland, OH - The Sustainable Green Printing  (SGP) Partnership held its first virtual press event. Due to popular demand, an "instant replay" event was held on June 29, 2010. The events addressed three major topics: 1) an introduction to and update on the SGP Partnership; 2) how SGP-certified printers Pictura Graphics and Portland Color are bringing sustainability to the marketplace; and 3) how Platinum Patron HP fulfills printers' needs by providing more sustainable printing options to the graphic communication community.

Marcia Kinter, SGP Board Chair, provided background information on the SGP Partnership, which was launched in August 2008 as the brainchild of three major printing organizations and was developed through the use of a facilitated stakeholder group. Today, the SGP Partnership provides third-party certification to printers that meet defined, holistic criteria, including social aspects and economic and environmental responsibilities. In the coming weeks, SGP will announce several new certified printers and Patrons, and it is approaching its milestone 25th certified printer. In August, SGP will launch its newsletter, which will highlight the organization's latest news, recent articles on sustainability, certified printer profiles, and events on sustainability.

Brian Hart, SGP Marketing and Communication Committee Chair, briefed attendees on the SGP Partnership's direction for the rest of 2010 and beyond. Criteria for Binding, Finishing, and Loose-Leaf operations has recently been added to the "big tent" and more will follow, including future certifications for prepress, laminating, fulfillment, mailing, and graphic communication industry suppliers. Market trends clearly indicate an increased emphasis on sustainability - and printers are working hard to reliably define and verify sustainability in their organizations. Major consumer product companies and retailers are announcing requirements with increasing frequency for their supply chain to demonstrate sustainability in their operations, often accompanied by a request for third-party certification. The certification offered by SGP Partnership provides printers with a recognized method to demonstrate sustainability in their supply chain.

Paul Lilienthal of Pictura Graphics, Minneapolis, reviewed how sustainability has been integrated into its operations, and subsequently into the supply chain of its customers, which include Aveda, Specialized Bicycle, Ecolab, and 3M. Pictura portrays the value of SGP certification as a holistic, third-party certification that promotes environmental stewardship and innovation, which is at the core of Picturas' corporate philosophy. Continuous improvement spurs Pictura to seek more sustainable options for its customers as a "value added" feature in its product line. The company tracks key metrics to ensure its operations are sustainable, while offering its customers "eco-friendly/green" display systems and product lines that can be recycled, increasing its on-going "cradle-to-cradle" efforts for itself and its customers.

Andy Graham with Portland Color of Portland, ME, discussed his company's most recent project with Bloomingdale's, which chose Portland Color for its April 2010 "It's Easy Being Green" campaign. Bloomingdale's, in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council, established "Little Green Boutiques" in each store across the United States to promote its "Simple Steps" initiative. The "Little Green Boutiques" featured reusable products such as water bottles, reusable totes, and sustainable umbrellas. Portland Color prepared display banners and hang tags for the "Little Green Boutiques" area, using HP printers with either latex or UV curable inks. Both the banners and hang tags proudly proclaimed "These items were printed by a certified SGP printer." This is the first use of the SGP logo in the retail arena. As a major national retailer, Bloomingdale's clearly recognizes the value of SGP certification and worked with an SGP-certified printer as both a design source and solutions provider to advance a significant green campaign in its stores.

Stephen Goddard, who manages the Environmental Leadership Program in the Graphics Solutions Business at HP, explained how HP has a long track record of supporting credible, independent environmental standards, such as those advocated by the SGP Partnership.  Goddard discussed how printers are purchasing HP's Latex sign and display printing technology to help reduce the impact of printing on the environment. At least seven printers involved with the SGP Partnership currently operate HP printing equipment, including Portland Color and Stella Color, which use HP Latex printers. Goddard provided a brief overview of the issues affecting solvent printers, which are frequently used to print on PVC-based media. He then reviewed HP's Latex printers, a recent innovation for sign and display printing, and how they can facilitate better working conditions for operators and create odor-free prints, potentially on recyclable substrates.  HP offers a free take-back and recycling program, not only for many of its textile substrates, but also for many HP Latex printing supplies.  Since their introduction 18 months ago, more than 2,500 HP Latex printers have been shipped to customers around the world.  SGP provides graphic communication vendors, such as HP, an opportunity to share its sustainability commitment and news of environmental innovations with the SGP community.




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