The current pandemic has shown once again that faced with difficulty, people want to do the right thing, to do their part to support colleagues, community, and environment. The problem people face with so much conflicting advice is, just what is the right thing?
Prior to the pandemic the Global Climate crisis was heavily publicised in the news, without concerted global action the earth’s climate was heading for a disaster. The arrival of Covid-19 on the world stage has demonstrated the incredible resources that can be marshalled when the “right thing” becomes an overriding importance and while the longer term implications of Coronavirus v Humanity have yet to play out, some of the more immediate issues have already become clear
One by-product of Covid-19 was that people, industry and production largely stopped or was significantly reduced. CO2 and other emissions plummeted, smog and pollutants seemingly were also self-isolating. With people able to work from home, and the planet enjoying the current halt on the assault on it by humans; the green agenda has seen a renewed resurgence and a desire amongst many to see if the ‘New Normal’ can help drive the green agenda.
While the desire for environmentally friendly printing is hardly new the culmination of all the recent events has resulted in a reignited interest and debate within our industry about what constitutes “green printing” and how it can best be supported.
As anyone who has taken the time to investigate will have discovered, there is a lot of information available, from Environmental Calculators to Carbon Footprints and CSR’s; everyone can ‘do their bit’, but how do we know what our bit is, and ensure we maximise it?
A key part of the digital printing process is paper, and this has always been a key front runner in promoting Recycled, Green, Sustainable use. Many paper manufacturers are labelling their products to show clearly how green that paper is.
The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is an environmental organisation working to protect forests and trees. All the fibre comes from an FSC-certified forest, all aspects of the production are processed using the FSC ‘transfer system’.
The fibre is an FSC Mix and a minimum of 70% is from FSC certified locations/processes
All timber or fibre in an FSC Recycled product must be pre-consumer or post-consumer reclaimed
The Antalis Green Star label, they have a matrixwith 5 stars being the highest rating for a paper product
This is where the providing company gives you a way to offset your paper with systems/services/activities that ‘offset’ your use of the carbon. The product you purchase may not be the “greenest”, but your carbon footprint is reduced by the associated action
Paper can be recycled seven times before the fibres get too short and shredding paper can also be a problem as this shortens the fibres, so how can we as digital printers educate our Users and help push environmentally friendly options. If you look at the entire Print Operation, including staff, you could be swamped in calculations and data, so why not start with the area of biggest impact and move to supplies which are of a higher green certification.
Use your Skyline controls to promote ‘greener’ paper and you quickly start to produce some measurable data, the first step in demonstrating progress and showing results. It may not be always possible to have all media in the greenest form, sometimes you may need to keep a specific stock, but it does not stop you informing your Users and offering alternatives.
To start with, simply review your media within ProductManager and review any that has a low green value, first seeing if you can replace it with a comparable greener product. If that’s not possible, perhaps mark ‘green’ options within your Products with a “(g)” identifier at the end or set them as the default settings on the Job Ticket.
When the User is completing their order, they can see which products are ‘greener’ and hopefully make those choices, and let us not underestimate the educational value to your organisation by providing this information. For those of you that are not familiar with Skyline ProductManager, this is a 5-minute change and ePrint are happy to assist if its not something your happy doing yourselves
There are many ways to help your customer understand, in the following example, I have used a vertical bar to show ‘greenness’ the taller the bar, the better the option. This is one way; you already may have a scheme in place
With regards to further elements of the job, for instance finishing, you can use ‘Custom Document Options’ to record a value. That value can be anything, a simple value, a percentage, or indicator, but the important thing is that it provides you with a measure. For example, if you wish to record the value ‘28’ against the Comb Bind, create a custom entry within ProductManager
Add the value you want to have recorded and ‘hide’ it from the User, the value is your measure and you can have multiple entries per section or a single entry to cover the entire product. It will appear in the Management Reports and you can utilise that information as you deem fit. With the raw data available you can use your preferred application to generate reports showing the ‘green’ picture trends over time.
In the example above, I have Skyline calculating from all the inputs about the job the values I want to report on, and I can review this data, by User, time, job, paper any aspect can be investigated and reported on and the appropriate action taken.
As can be seen, it is possible to start down the green road by making small but significant changes to your service, paving the way to building to build a meaningful data record, enabling your print service to make a positive contribution to your organisations wider environmental goals.