Ecolabels are a pain. They are generally well-intended, aiming to make life simpler for consumers and provide assurance that a product is environmentally friendly. But really eco labels alone don’t help industry sectors to improve their carbon footprints or environmental impacts. For instance in the US eco labels are required for cars and tumble dryers. They are a pain because they give a false and misleading impression that the impact problem is solved, which of course it isn’t and cannot be just because of a quantification and validation proceedure.
The Toshiba fiasco is behind us but that doesn’t mean we can breathe even a little sigh of relief. The graphic arts industry has an uphill road to climb, if it is going to really be able to change its image. Actually that road isn’t particularly hard or steep because the industry has impressive achievements and unbeatable credentials when it comes to environmental impact. No other media can do what print can do: you can smell it, touch it, caress it and even lick it if you want. As yummy as all that iStuff is, it just doesn’t have the same sensory clout.
How could any company, large or small, possibly be so stupid as to come up with a National No Print Day? And yet that is what Toshiba America Business Solutions, Inc., recently planned to do. Their idea drew such opprobrium from the printing industry that they wisely withdrew it.
Developing a green economy and making sure that development is sustainable is important for all businesses, including the printing industry. Print is embracing a green agenda not just because printers care about the environment. The sustainability message is a matter of survival for the printing industry in some developed markets. Large corporate customers want to be accountable to shareholders , so printers need answers. This much is obvious, however the recent EcoPrint Report, “The Business of Sustainability”, raised a number of other related concerns for the printing industry.
A lot of big international brands are starting to get heavy about their carbon footprint. BMW for instance has a clear environmental policy and also expects its suppliers to maintain environmental management systems. Printers have been aware of this move amongst the big names for a number of years and many are setting up environmental initiatives in response. They want to be sure to have a sensible answer for the likes of BMW, Tesco or Marks & Spencers when want to know about a print service provider’s environmental credentials.