Heading into the twilight zone of my career in the graphics industry has lead me to some curious ponderings. Some of them, like the early days working with Apple and Adobe, have been shamelessly nostalgic. But others have been laced with deep frustration. The frustration comes from the fact that we haven’t made faster progress to advance the industry, as it lumbers into the digital age. The stand out annoyances are automated colour management and recycling, both of which have a profound impact on the environmental impact of print.
Voting is now underway to turn ISO 22067-1 (Requirements for communication of environmental aspects of printed products — Part 1: General printing) into a fully fledged ISO standard. The document is at the Draft International Standard stage and despite none too few rocky moments it has the support of several ISO technical committees and the people they represent. This includes Technical Committee 6 which is responsible for standards in the pulp and paper industries and generally disinclined to support work that its members might find distasteful.
The New Climate Institute recently published its Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor 2022. The report assesses “the transparence and integrity of companies’ emission reduction and net-zero targets”. It’s pretty dry reading. It’s findings mostly they remind us of two important facts. First of all there can be no room for complacency or ambiguity when it comes to our climate emergency. Secondly making environmental impact accountable and using standard reporting is vital.
It’s amazing how many options Print Service Providers have when it comes to business diversification. But perhaps the most risky and revolutionary is the move into bespoke apparel manufacturing. It’s risky because there is no hard evidence that consumers are willing to move en mass away from an environmentally hostile production chain model. This model is entirely built around bulk quantities of sourced materials turned into garments in huge volumes. The result is cheap and lovely clothes made from a variety of fibres, blends and fabrics. The shift to garment microfactories away from the bulk model enables on demand production of garments close to their points of purchase. But will this model really reshape the face of fashion?
A belated welcome to 2022 and the year when technology makes possible the synthesising of paper using bacteria and carbon emissions. Not a joke. A company called LanzaTech has announced a deal with IndiTex, one of the world’s clothing giants, to develop a polyester fibre based on bugs and smoke. This story is probably of most interest to manufacturers and owners of digital textile printers. However the underlying technology has fascinating possibilities for substrates of all kinds.