The Weekly Verdigris Blog by 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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Heavy Metal Carbon Calculators

medium_Laurel.jpgThe weekly Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner

The mega traditional press manufacturers such as Heidelberg have been relatively slow to embrace the sustainability message. However, a bit like turning an ocean tanker, once the turn is underway it is slow but it is decisive. So it is with Heidelberg who is investing substantially into carbon calculation, in order to offset its emissions. We spent sometime at drupa with the folks leading this work, to find out how much of it is greenwash and how much is for real. A detailed evaluation will take more than a quick blog to cover, but the gist of it is that Heidelberg’s efforts are as sincere as they are impressive.

Environmental Leadership in the Printing Industry

medium_Laurel.jpgThe weekly Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner

As drupa winds its way to a grateful close we have been struck by the sheer enormity of the task facing the printing industry, when it comes to reduced environmental impact. If it’s true (and we reckon it is) that climate change can only be mitigated by a reduction of worldwide greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions, our industry must do more. If for no other reason than because print is central to our communications models and print is an important dimension for every other business. Our industry cuts across all industrial, commercial and social sectors, which means print is well placed to lead progress in reduced environmental impacts. But it isn’t that simple.

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.

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.


medium_Laurel.jpgThe weekly Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner

Agfa Graphics has been working with an independent Flemish institute to find out more about print’s environmental impact, with some interesting results. VITO specialises in research into energy, environment and materials, and has been around for some thirty years. VITO has done a carbon footprint analysis of several of Agfa’s plate technologies, however its conclusions are relevant for all plate technologies.

According to VITO’s research, plate manufacturing and prepress activities can account for some 20% of the total Product Carbon Footprint of a printing plate, with the balance in raw material extraction and processing. Obviously the most recent printing plate technologies have the lowest impact, since they have generally been designed with efficiency and environmental friendliness in mind. The VITO report notes that there is a clear convergence in the industry between economic and ecological benefits of technologies use for print media production.