Reston, VA—A 300+ page study, published in 2009 by PRIMIR entitled Sustainable Print in a Dynamic Global Market: What Going Green Means is now available. This study which was initially released exclusively to PRIMIR and NPES members delves into the impact of print on the environment. It investigates who is driving sustainability in our industry; reports on accreditation and other environmental management programs and systems; reviews regulatory and compliance issues; contrasts how print compares with other industries; and, discusses carbon footprinting and offsetting. The study also provides a number of best practice case studies and recommendations for all firms in the print supply chain.
Conducted for PRIMIR by Pira International, the research revealed that few companies in the print industry who claim to be 'green' truly are. Most printers claim to be 'green' simply because they are FSC or SFI certified. Additionally, a large number of printers are recycling everything they can from their operation, and many are generating income from these recycling programs. But the study revealed that the more progressive firms have a culture—an all-out corporate commitment to sustainability—with full time staff dedicated to that purpose, and have made significant investments that already provide a positive ROI, not only to their production costs, but also in new customers who are seeking a sustainable supplier. One printer proclaimed that the investment of $30,000 over three years in certification and audits for ISO 14001 had a positive ROI—before accounting for the new business gained as a result of their sustainability initiatives.
The PRIMIR study also noted that many corporate communications executives assume that using electronic media (e-mails, podcasts, websites or even television) are naturally greener. The reduction of print is an easy target, but in reality, e-media alternatives have a far greater environmental impact. In 2006, the paper industry was the U.S.'s second largest user of electricity, with consumption of 75 billion kilowatt hours. On the other hand, data centers and servers were close behind, having consumed 61 billion kilowatt hours of electricity—and that was three years ago. Since print volumes are declining, and the use of data centers is projected to double in five years, this is far from a 'green' alternative.
The comprehensive study, Sustainable Print in a Dynamic Global Market: What Going Green Means, identifies a number of recommendations for all participants in the print supply chain. The report is now available for purchase at the WhatTheyThink store.