Print for Good for Print’s Future

medium_laurel3.jpgThe weekly Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner

Improving the green credentials of the graphics business can take many forms. Most motivations for doing so are economic rather than philanthropic, however the future of the printing and publishing industries depends on both social and economic improvements. Digital press and print consumables manufacturers such as Agfa, Fujifilm and Kodak have done much to improve print’s environmental economics, cutting their technologies’ power usage requirements for instance. These three have massively improved plate processing and associated chemistries and materials recyclability. They have reduced the use of VOCs, and improved production efficiency with clever software and artificial intelligence. But when it comes to social programmes, Kodak is leading the way.

Kodak’s Print for Good initiative was announced earlier this year to promote print and encourage its use, primarily through an ambitious literacy programme. Print for Good operates in the inner cities of Columbus, Georgia and Rochester, New York in the US and is being rolled out in Houston and San Antonio in Texas. The programme has three components: a children’s author willing to provide free content, a printer willing, with Kodak’s support, to print the books, and a distribution mechanism. This could be a publisher or a local community organisation or agency able to make the books available to children and young adults.

In the US, research has shown that two thirds of students who cannot read by the time they are nine years old will end up in prison. The same research found that over 60% of prison inmates in the US are functionally illiterate. American middle-class communities have around fifteen books per child, but in impoverished areas that number drops to about one book for every 300 children. Worldwide
over 122 million young people, 60% of them women, are illiterate. Kodak’s Print for Good programme is about changing those downright shocking statistics, improving the Kodak brand and continuing in the company’s philanthropic tradition.

Print for Good provides books to young people to encourage them to read and engage with print. This is not only socially desirable, but it also encourages a future for print. The Print for Good programme also provides other geographies with a template that can be applied locally to help mitigate literacy problems. Kodak is supporting Print for Good with materials such as plates, and logistic support to help get the programme up and running. Printers are donating their presstime and paper costs. Publishers and community organisations are providing distribution mechanisms. Everyone is donating their administrative and project management support, which can carry a heavy overhead as no two situations are the same. Kodak is working on procedures that should help accelerate uptake and we are doing our best to spread the word. If you would like to participate in this programme, as an author, printer or publisher, please get in touch!

– Laurel Brunner

The Verdigris project is an industry initiative intended to raise awareness of print’s positive environmental impact. It provides a weekly commentary to help 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, Epson, Fespa, HP, Kodak, Kornit, Ricoh, Spindrift, Splash PR, Unity Publishing and Xeikon.

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