Aching limbs and mind, that nagging sense that it might be all over before it’s really begun, and a sense that the future is slipping beyond your control? These might possibly be symptoms of age, but they don’t just plague wrinklies. Young people suffering the stresses of modern digital life struggle too to keep up, keep relevant and keep confident. The graphic arts industry is fortunate that technology is making it easier for all of us to share the angst. More importantly, digital technology is spreading the communications habit, making print accessible and exciting for new generations. The future of print depends on how upcoming generations value and use it, and on how well they manage its environmental impact.
The ISO committee responsible for greenhouse gas management and related activities has put out an update on ISO TS 14067, the technical specification for calculating the carbon footprint of products and services. This document was used as the starting point for ISO 16759, for calculating the carbon footprint of print media products. ISO 16759 has been in the field for about a year and calculators from Heidelberg and Ricoh have been certified for compliance to it.
The ISO committee responsible for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) management and related activities is looking for new blood. They have put out a call to encourage young people to get involved with environmental standards. Called ISO NextGen, the initiative is about encouraging people interested in standards relating to climate change to get involved with standards development.
The first ever United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) recently took place in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. This was a lofty affair, attracting environmental ministers from over 180 countries, plus officials from governments and public bodies, economists and others to talk about saving the planet. Again. Numbering some 1200 people, they discussed a range of problems, such as the illegal trade in wildlife, and sustainable consumption and production. High on the list was environmental rule of law, which energy intensive industries such as printing should take an interest in. Regulation is coming one way or another, that much is clear.
Environmental impact reporting is not yet regulated nor is it common that companies come clean on their vulnerability to green rules. But that is starting to change as regulation and consumer pressures get more onerous. Recently one of the world’s biggest companies, Exxon Mobile, has come under shareholder pressure to be more open about its environmental liabilities and risks. Exxon is one of a rising number of companies in the energy sector who are informing shareholders about how they plan to adapt to new energy systems, systems that are not necessarily based on high carbon fuel sources. This is about disclosing risk, but it is interesting for other reasons: it shows that shareholder pressure can work; it shows that large oil and gas companies are taking seriously climate change and the need for environmental accountability.