HP Indigo

medium_Laurel_2012.jpegThe weekly Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner

Sustainability is the hot term at drupa this week and we are seeing more and more companies jumping on the bandwagon. And not just companies. Industry associations such as the German VDMA are working with their members to measuring the energy usage and CO2 emissions of printing machines. Worthy work indeed and we hope to learn more about how the VDMA is doing its calculations.

For this is where the real difficulty with sustainability comes. Organisations approach environmental impact calculations in many different ways, which makes it very hard to compare like with like. We need to take either a standardised approach using benchmarks and metrics that everyone can work with, or we need to go public on proprietary studies. Neither of these options is particularly likely to happen any time soon, but still there is work being done.

HP Indigo has been boasting with ample justification that the HP Indigo 7600 is the company’s first carbon neutral engine. By carbon neutral HP Indigo is of course referring to the manufacturing of the press. It still uses energy when running! The HP Indigo calculations are the result of a project started in 2009 and follows the guidelines outlined in PAS 2050 with which DIS 14067 shares many characteristics. The calculations are based on raw materials emissions, manufacturing emissions and this programme is to be rolled out for all Series 3 presses and products, including the ws6600 and w7250 as well as the 7600. These machines differ in weight but they basically use the same raw materials in their construction. The HP Indigo team uses the EcoInvent database for its emissions factors and SimaPro’s LCA software which also uses the EcoInvent factors. SimaPro is used worldwide to model products from a life cycle perspective and, among other things, to calculate carbon footprints. It is essentially an implementation of ISO 14040 for Life Cycle Analysis.

HP Indigo has about six people working on its core carbon footprinting efforts in Israel, and has its results audited by an external organisation. The organisation audits the carbon accounting and makes sure that all emissions are included, such as materials used in the press, manufacturing energy and that of associated paper and consumables. The total value of these emissions is offset through a local scheme that benefits villages in the neighbourhood of HP Indigo’s factories in Israel. The net result is that customers get carbon neutral presses with fully transparent carbon calculations and supporting documentation, and villagers in southern Israel get free solar panels. This is a great project, delivering real environmental benefits towards greater sustainability. We hope other press manufacturers and indeed the rest of HP, will follow HP Indigo’s lead.

– Laurel Brunner

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