It’s hard enough getting to grips with carbon footprinting, but that is only a small part of the environmental impact calculation. In 2018, regulators and shareholders in mature markets are sharpening their focus on the life-cycle environmental impacts of products. This will impact all parts of the graphics supply chain, from design to procurement. At least it will in markets where political leaders take seriously their environmental responsibilities, such as China and the European Union.
What should the graphics industry expect for 2018? This is easy to answer: more of the same. It would be great to hint at exciting new technologies waiting just around the corner. Or to share with you some amazing new business models for print and publishing. But in fact the graphics industry is awash with new technologies and examples of how to apply them. The problem is that there is still so much reluctance to get with the programme and to fully embrace digital processes and ideas.
Since drupa 2016 and even prior to that show, there has been a lot of interest in packaging printing. Several manufacturers have introduced digital presses for this application, most notable EFI and HP. Printers can be confident that they will have solid support if they decide to get into this business. But all parties should be aware of the tightening regulatory framework and in Europe this means the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD).
For Kodak, reborn and re-energised, sustainability in every sense has become the company’s foundation. According to its recently published 2016 Corporate Responsibility Report (CRR), the first since 2013 when the company had just emerged from Chapter 11, Kodak aims to be the leading company for sustainability in the graphics industry. It has published some ambitious future goals and in doing so sets a standard not just for graphics technology manufacturers, but for large companies in other sectors too.
Another week another sector specific sustainability initiative, this time in the cosmetics business. The Responsible Beauty Initiative (RBI) wants to improve sustainability in that sector along with improving ethical and social performance, focusing on sustainable procurement. At the core of RBI is EcoVadis a provider of supply chain sustainability ratings, working with four big names in the beauty business: Clarins, Coty, Groupe Rocher and L’Oréal. These companies have committed to drive sustainability by making procurement companies in their supply chains aware of RBI so that they can share its goals. The RBI members buy an awful lot of packaging, so it makes sense for packaging printers and manufacturers to be aware of this initiative and its procurement emphasis.