Standard Practise & ISO 16759

medium_Laurel_2012.jpegThe weekly Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner

These days standards govern every part of a successful printer’s life. Many printers choose to gain accreditation because they understand it’s a good way to keep demanding customers happy. Or because they want to measure their business against a set of external metrics. More and more printers are gaining accreditation to standards such as ISO 9001 for a business’s quality management and ISO 14001 for environmental management.

ISO 9001 is a generic standard relevant for all types of business. It specifies the requirements of a company’s quality management systems. ISO 14001 is part of a series of environmental management standards that specify requirements for managing the environmental aspects of the business. Like ISO 9001 it is a generic standard that any company can use, regardless of business sector.

Another standard is in the works, one that will enable printers to further enhance the printing industry’s sustainability credentials: ISO 16759 for calculating the carbon footprint of print media is print industry specific. It outlines the requirements for how the carbon footprint of print media products should be calculated and is being developed in response to print buyers who want to know that the media they use to communicate with customers are sustainable. This improves accountability to shareholders and private business owners, as well as print’s end users.

Global carbon reduction expectations and the greening of consumers’ purchasing decisions cannot be ignored, particularly for manufacturers of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). Print buyers need to be able to demonstrate that their media choices are as green as possible. They want to work with printers who can help them to demonstrate this. ISO 16759 will help the printing industry to improve and standardise carbon calculations across sectors and markets and hopefully to further reduce the industry’s carbon impact. The standard also provides a basis for comparing print with other less sustainable media.

ISO 16759 is now in the final stages of development. This carbon calculator framework outlines the criteria a carbon calculator should fulfill, encouraging further harmonisation in print markets. With ISO 16759 carbon calculators can be designed consistently . All market sectors across all geographies will be able to use a common set of parameters for calculations. This will make comparisons of carbon footprinting studies much easier and help to confirm print’s sustainability.

– Laurel Brunner

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