Offsetting carbon

medium_laurel2015.jpgThe weekly Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner

For graphics businesses looking to satisfy their customers’ eco itches, try CarbonCo’s offsetting programme. This organisation works with the World Land Trust to provide money to buy and protect land vulnerable to deforestation. The World Land Trust has Sir David Attenborough as patron and this year celebrates its 30th birthday.

The World Land Trust has a very simple but effective business model. It raises money to buy land so that the land, its ecosystems and wildlife can be protected. Over the last thirty years the organisation has acquired over 700,000 acres (283,280 hectares) of tropical forest in nearly twenty countries around the world. Through the World Land Trust’s purchases and protections, another four million acres have also come under protection of some sort.

It’s an amazing programme and one that graphics industry professionals and their customers can take part in. Companies from publishers and print buyers through to print service providers can specify carbon balanced paper for their print jobs. The printing generally costs a little bit more, but the extra money goes to World Land Trust projects that help keep the planet breathing. Print buyers might not squeal so much, if they trusted that some of the cost of paper is being used to protect the planet. And on the subject of paper prices, paper for the majority of commercial printing applications is cheap compared to what it cost thirty years ago.

The World Land Trust is urging print buyers to request CarbonCo certified materials. In the UK where both organisations are based, they are also working with local government and procurement. Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester says that climate change is “bigger than any challenge … the future of our planet”. The city has plans to become climate neutral by 2038, which is twelve years ahead of the UK government’s pretty timid objective of 2050. Greater Manchester is working with a range of measures such as tree planting schemes, and not exclusively on the basis of offsetting and the World Land Trust partnership.

Environmental awareness at this level filters down supply chains to both service providers and end users. Opting for carbon balanced paper is just one of many small steps that we can all take in order to achieve a dramatic improvement in environmental impact reductions. Printers and publishers are well-placed to make a difference. It starts with choices about paper and decisions to support organisations such as the World Land Trust. Actually it starts with the choice to do something, anything, to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and change our collective thinking.

– Laurel Brunner

This article was produced by the Verdigris Project, an industry initiative intended to raise awareness of print’s positive environmental impact. This weekly commentary helps printing companies keep up to date with environmental standards, and how environmentally friendly business management can help improve their bottom lines. Verdigris is supported by the following companies: Agfa Graphics, EFI, Fespa, HP, Kodak, Kornit, Ricoh, Spindrift, Splash PR, Unity Publishing and Xeikon.

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