Sustainability is the key issue of our time. Environmental topics, like the European Green Deal, are a priority for Intergraf and our members – as they have been for many years. During the last 18 months, the pandemic has taken centre stage, but we must not lose sight of the bigger picture: making sure that our industry, and our world, is resource-efficient and fit for the future.
The European graphical sector is already equipped with a solid and harmonised tool to assess the carbon footprint of our products: the Intergraf recommendations on CO2 emissions calculation in the printing industry. These recommendations were first published more than a decade ago in 2010. Our sector has long been focused on reducing the carbon footprint of our products and we continue to demonstrate our industry’s environmental credentials using such tools, as well as our ongoing commitment to a sustainable future.
Calculating CO2 emissions
We have updated the Intergraf recommendations on CO2 emissions calculation in the printing industry, first published in 2013. These recommendations were developed by the industry for the industry. They are based on the 3 scopes of the International Greenhouse Gas Protocol and identify 13 parameters covering 95% of all carbon emissions of a print process or product.
“We initiated the Intergraf recommendations on CO2 emissions to support companies, allowing them to prove the environmental credentials of printed products to a public that is becoming ever more invested in this issue. Protecting the environment is a particularly important issue for younger generations, who will soon make up the bulk of the workforce. These cohorts are becoming the printing industry’s leaders, employees, and customers – and they expect more from businesses when it comes to the environment.” Beatrice Klose, Secretary General of Intergraf
Based on our recommendations, two CO2 emissions calculators have been developed. These were among the first industry-specific calculators to be introduced onto the market.
ClimateCalc takes a lifecycle perspective to provide exact information on the climate impact of individual graphic products produced in Europe. It takes into account data about the raw materials used to create the product, as well as about the graphic company producing it. The system is available in several languages and used in 17 countries.
The Klimainitiative der Druck und Medienverbände (Climate Initiative of the Printing and Media Associations) gives German companies the opportunity to offer customers climate neutral products – including offsetting unavoidable emissions. It can make calculations for sheetfed offset printing, web offset printing, gravure printing, digital printing, packaging printing, and envelope printing.
The European Green Deal
Under the European Green Deal, the European Commission has announced a sustainable product policy legislative initiative. It is designed to make products fit for a climate neutral, resource efficient and circular economy; to reduce waste; and to ensure that the performance of frontrunners in sustainability progressively becomes the norm. Reducing carbon and environmental footprints is among the sustainable principles that the Commission will promote in its new initiative.
In addition, the Commission is due to propose measures on substantiating green claims. The aim of these measures will be to combat greenwashing, as well as to empower consumers, companies, and other market actors to make sense of the various environmental labels that are active in the EU.
With these environmental initiatives – and more – rising on the EU’s agenda, we must continue to demonstrate that our industry is already equipped with suitable tools to assess the carbon footprint of our products.