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HP's Stephen Goddard on sustainability's progress in the industry

Published on December 7, 2012

HP's Environmental Leadership Program Manager Stephen Goddard is with Cary Sherburne discussing sustainability and where things stand in the industry from his broad perspective.

Cary Sherburne: Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink; and I’m here with Steven Goddard, who is the Environmental Leadership Program Manager at HP. Welcome.

Steven Goddard: Thank you very much, Cary.

Cary Sherburne: And you know, in the industry we’ve been talking for a long time about environmental sustainability and it seems to come and go and not maybe hasn’t, at least from my perspective, hasn’t really reached what you could call a critical mass. But you’re more in touch with it on a day-to-day basis. What are you seeing? A nice green tie, by the way.

Steven Goddard: Thank you, especially for the occasion. Yeah, so we just actually hosted a couple of Eco Leadership forum events. I had some very good discussions; we invited experts from across the industry for a panel discussion. For example, we had Marcy Kinter who is the Chairwoman of the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership on the panel. We also had print service providers themselves, those who’ve got a track record of taking a more sustainable approach than others. And for me, really, the upshot of the discussion was that we actually already have a lot of the tools available to us as an industry to take a more sustainable approach. There are a number of certifications out there which I think are considered pretty reputable and are widely recognized, FSC certification, a good example. And we – there’s also, we have the technology there and a great example of that is digital on demand printing. I was talking to a print service provider yesterday who prints both with offset with actually HP Indigo presses. And he was saying that the waste in his print show related to his Indigo presses is one-third that of the waste associated with the offset presses.

Cary Sherburne: So from a waste perspective that certainly, you know, print on demand and digital has certainly helped that and the Managed Forest Certifications, all of that, that’s all really good. But oftentimes, I see that printers don’t really look beyond that to their entire plant. You know, changing out the light bulbs to, you know, just something as simple as using more, you know, energy efficient light bulbs and recycling beyond the production.

Steven Goddard: I agree. I think in general, it would be nice to see many printers taking a more proactive approach. I mean, they can use a certification like the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership Program that’s available now in the U.S., Canada, and it’s just started in Australia as well. Actually it’s a program that provides a structure to print shops to actually look right across their operations and to try to reduce their environmental impact. And then of course get a badge of honor at the end to take to their customers. It would also be really great to see more print service providers, not only walking the walk, getting certified, but then getting out and engaging with their customers and actually helping their customers to understand what sustainability really means and what their options are and actually trying to offer those customers more sustainable options, you know, same quality, same – likely the same price, delivery times, etcetera, but just with a better environmental profile and just...which would give them a very significant differentiator I think than many customers.

Cary Sherburne: Yeah. And you know, you mentioned price. And a lot of times people say, oh, it’s going to cost me more to be green, but the bottom line is, if you look at it holistically, it probably will cost them less.

Steven Goddard: In many cases, that’s true. I mean only because you can strip out waste within the print shop, for example. There’s also a supply chain waste. I mean a great example from the United States is that we know that 30 percent of books that are printed are never read. And that’s sort of a very significant inventory waste there. And again, by moving to more flexible printing models, making good use of digital on demand, mixing it up with offset quite often you can help to reduce those – the inventory waste and essentially make the whole printing supply chain more efficient and it can actually help to save money and certainly reduces environmental impact.

Cary Sherburne: Yep. And it’s good to see companies like HP really getting into this and bringing a lot of education to the market. Thank you.

Steven Goddard: Okay, thank you, Cary.

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