Partnership is the way forward

Laurel-2018.jpgThe Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner

There are many lessons being learned as the pandemic starts to loosen its grip in developed economies. One of the most important when it comes to sustainability in the graphics industry, is the need for more partnerships. Partnerships in this business come in many shapes and sizes. Agfa has a model of selling just the coatings to its plate customers, with Agfa handling the aluminium recycling for them. The World Land Trust works with paper makers to “carbon balance” the carbon impact of their products.

Electronics For Imaging (EFI), one of the leading players in the graphics industry, is taking the partnership thing to another level. The company is working with Bosques Sostenibles a Spanish reforestation specialist, to plant 17 trees for every new Cretaprint printer sold. Spain’s Ministry of Ecological Transition endorses Bosques Sostenibles and to date the organisation has planted over 550,000 trees in Spain’s Iruelas Valley. The endorsement is part of Spain’s efforts to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG).

EFI Cretaprint digital printers are digital inkjet ceramic tile printers which the company positions as sustainable ceramics decoration systems. The latest innovations for this technology include features that affect the whole tile manufacturing process, although that might be a stretch. Humidity and ink sedimentation in the printheads are managed electronically and the devices have improved ink and cleaning systems, so overall resource use and waste is reduced. Cretaprint inks and glazes are water-based and EFI claim that the Cretaprint Hybrid’s inks cut Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions by 90% compared to the previous technology. The device has an overall carbon footprint that is 73% lower. Hydrocarbons are no longer included in EFI Cretaprint eco-solvent inks and have been replaced with solvents of vegetable origin that do not compromise performance and still prevent printheads from drying out.

EFI claims that the 17 trees planted for each Cretaprint sale are equivalent to three tonnes of CO2 emissions, using 2019 benchmarks. EFI will provide their own certification with each installation, so that customers can use the tree-planting scheme to offset emissions.

Carbon offseting and tree-planting partnerships are becoming more widespread in our industry. But this is the first such programme we have come across that is part of a national effort to support the UNSDG. EFI plans to extend its programme to include single-pass industrial print technologies, including EFI’s Cubik building material printers and the EFI Nozomi corrugated packaging printers. A few more manufacturers following the EFI lead would immeasurably help the planet and the graphic industry’s environmental impact. Let’s hope they step up soon.

– 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, Fujifilm, HP, Kodak, Miraclon, Ricoh, Spindrift, Splash PR, Unity Publishing and Xeikon.

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