Every year Kodak recognises printers around the world for their sustainability progress. To qualify for the Kodak Sonora Plate Green Leaf Award printing companies must use the Kodak Sonora processless plate and manage their businesses in a way that reduces overall environmental impact. In 2017, the fourth year of the prize, there were fourteen winners from all over the world. This is a record number and suggests that the sustainability message is beginning to get through.
Processless printing plates require no chemical processing and cut the amount of water, energy and waste associated with conventional plates. Kodak is seeing growing demand for its Sonora plates around the world and expects that by 2019 30% of the company’s plate sales will be of processless plates.
The 2017 Sonora Plate Green Leaf Award winners are: Alcom Printing (US), Mitchell Press Ltd. (Canada), Druckerei Lokay (Germany), School Lane Colour Press (UK), Litotec (Ecuador), Cartocor S.A. (Argentina), Southern Colour Print (New Zealand), Colour King (South Africa), Zühal Ofset (Turkey), ASCON CO., LTD. (Japan), Hongbo Co., Ltd. (China), Golden Cup Printing Co., Ltd. (China), Changsung P&T Co., Ltd. (Korea), and Vivar Printing Sdn Bhd. (Malaysia). All of these companies have introduced measures that improve resource management and energy efficiency in the business.
Waste management improvements are the most common effort, but firms are doing other things as well. All of them for instance are proactive recyclers to some extent or another and some, such as Cartocar in Argentina ensure that materials are sustainably sourced too. Alcom Printing in the US and Changsung P&T Co in Korea have introduced LED lighting throught their facilities. Many companies including Ascon in Japan and Golden Cup Printing in China have invested in new equipment to be more energy efficient.
These winners are also implementing advanced training and compliance programs to improve overall effiency and environmental impact. Many were also involved in local sustainability initiatives working with their communities to encourage recycling for instance. Richard Rindo, Kodak’s general manager of worldwide sales for the company’s print systems division, said that “it’s clear that the printing industry’s adoption of sustainable business solutions is not only about good environmental stewardship, it’s about sustaining and growing each printer’s business”.
The printing industry’s response to charges that it is dirty and inefficient has been to clean up its act and to move to more efficient processes. For most printers this has been as much about saving the business as it is about saving the planet. However there is no denying that environmental sustainability and commercial sustainability go hand in hand. Prizes such as Kodak’s Sonora Plate Green Leaf award are a great way to recognise this and to raise awareness of the business case for sustainability.
– 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, HP, Kodak, Kornit, Ricoh, Spindrift, Splash PR, Unity Publishing and Xeikon.