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Participation Sought in Survey of Print Environmental and Responsibility Issues

Friday, November 14, 2003

Press release from the issuing company

New York, November 13, 2003 – The non-profit Institute for Sustainable Communication (ISC) and independent research firm Nima Hunter Inc. invite broad participation in an important online survey being conducted in conjunction with the benchmark study:  “The Greening of Print: Trends, Issues, Risks and Opportunities for Environmentally Preferable Publishing, Printing and Packaging in North America 2003-2008.”  The goal of the survey is take the pulse of over 1000 marketing professionals, print buyers, graphic designers and other graphic communications professionals in order to characterize their views on the environmental and social impacts associated with the consumption and production of printing, packaging and print media in North America over the next 5 years. To take the survey go to: http://www.nimahunter.com/survey/rp According to Donald Carli, Research Director of the Greening of Print Study : “Organizations that are seeking ways to put the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility into practice need look no further than the ways in which they produce and consume paper, printing, packaging and print media. 1999 US Department of Commerce figures indicate that paper and printing purchases represent between 5% and 15% of all corporate expenditures exclusive of labor. For publishers the figure is 35%. Waste paper is America’s single largest export by volume, while paper and packaging waste make up over 40% of North American solid waste landfill. Printing and packaging are essential to commerce, communication, human health, and civilization, yet they are not sustainable as they are currently produced and consumed in North America.  Business uses of printing and packaging are primary demand drivers for paper. They also consume millions of tons of ink, toner, solvents, coatings and adhesives predominately  based on petroleum and fossil fuels. Even the production of soy-based inks typically involves significant use of diesel fuel, petroleum-based pesticides and herbicides. Some also question the use of ink made from genetically modified soy due to the risk of genetic pollution to organic farming. Others raise concerns about the greenhouse gases produced by the use of solvents in printing, the transportation of printed goods and the decomposition of printed waste in landfills. The volume of printed matter produced by business continues to rise despite the hope that the web, digital media use and email will reduce printing and paper use. Print-related business activities contribute over 1 trillion dollars to the GNP, directly and indirectly they employ over 10 million people, and they consume over 100 million tons of paper, ink and toner in the United States each year.   Per capita consumption of paper in the US is currently over 748lbs. per person, while per capita consumption of paper by the more than 2 billion inhabitants of China and India is less than 25lbs. In fact, paper use has increased six fold over the past 50 years, and it is possible that demand may outstrip supply as growing populations in the developing world increase their per capita consumption of paper, and print media.  According to the United Nations, 70lbs. of paper per person is considered the effective minimum amount required to support basic human needs for literacy and sanitation. While the papermaking and printing industries have never been more sensitive to environmental concerns than it is today, there has never been a greater need to improve upon the status quo. Papermaking is still the third largest user of fossil-fuel energy in the manufacturing sector, and the single largest industrial use of water per pound of product. The average US office worker uses over 10,000 sheets of printing and copying paper per year and generates 2 lbs. of paper waste per day . In addition, as more and more corporate functions are outsourced, companies are increasingly being expected to extend their environmental management policies to their purchasing and supply chain practices. Despite this trend less than 1% of the printers in North America have environmental management information systems in place that would allow them to satisfy  the need for “beyond compliance” reporting on the environmental performance or lifecycle impacts associated with their operations and products. Every pound of waste that business generates, whether it is toxic or not, is a drain on profitability, productivity and environmental performance as well as a risk to the creation of long term shareholder value, investor confidence and stakeholder trust. There is growing concern on the part of institutional investors, graphic designers, communications professionals, CSR professionals and other stakeholders that such issues be addressed.”

 

 

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