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Photo: Natalie Singleton, World Land Trust

“Everyone we deal with has to have the same principles and accreditations as we have. Minimum is ISO 14001, FSC, at least an environmental policy, and a sustainability policy,” he explains.

“The company ethos is that they are all on board and they do within the business what is necessary – the environment comes first regardless of which job or material or supply, even getting towards machinery parts.”

Some businesses have shied away from investing in sustainability due to the costs involved, both for themselves and also potentially to their customers.

“Cost is king, and it does cost more money to produce this way,” says Popely. “And that is some-

times reflected to the customer although we do try and price competitively.”

Nevertheless, he believes that “anything that an individual business can do is improving things”.

London-based printer Rapidity has been powered by renewable energy sources for around four years and has also had a raft of other green policies and certifications in place for many years, including ISO 14001.

Managing director Paul Manning says there has been an increasing awareness in the environmental message over the last few years and that “post-pandemic it’s gone crazy”.

“Talking to our customers, a lot of who are brands or big corporations, I feel that in one instance ➔


The industry can achieve a great deal collectively

Clare Taylor Owner, Clare Taylor Consulting

I believe sustainable businesses look forward and consider all three elements: people, finances, and environment. These all contribute to business longevity.

Our industry is just at the beginning of the climate change journey. A number of global brands are leading the way, not because they are altruistic, but because they know their long-term survival depends on it. We can learn from them.

Although most individual print companies are small, the industry is large and can achieve a great deal collectively, as can individuals. But we need to look outside at what other industries are doing for energy, and resource, efficiency. Doing more with less makes good business, as well as environmental, sense, helping mitigate the impact of price increases.

But what we are currently facing is wider than just ‘an environmental problem’, people are suffering and even dying from the impacts of climate change already; businesses are losing income from storms, heatwaves and flash floods. We need to understand our future climate and prepare for it. There is much to do to protect property, staff and business continuity, and businesses need to start now.

Consumers are more environmentally aware nowadays, they can see what’s happening. Poor air quality is killing people, especially in our towns; habitat destruction is bringing new zoonotic diseases, of which Covid is just one example.

Big brands, in touch with consumer opinion, respond to it. As consumers increase pressure for action, that pressure moves down the supply chain and eventually to printers. Addressing these issues is good for business as well as helping us all.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are an excellent blueprint for a sustainable future that businesses and individuals can use to guide them. They’ve been adopted by all UN member states, but although we need government [to] lead us, it’s not something we can rely on. Climate change and other concerns don’t wait for those who dither, as we’re already seeing.


● Next month will see delegates from 196 countries get together in Glasgow for COP26, the UN climate conference, to agree on how to become a more sustainable society and limit the worst effects of climate change ● The summit is being seen by many as a watershed moment in the climate crisis, with the potential to steer the future on action to limit global warming ● Print’s own sustainability debate has also never been so animated, and where a focused eco drive might have once been seen as a differentiator for a printer, many customers now require suppliers to be able to demonstrate real sustainability ● As such, many firms that had not really considered such initiatives before are now getting started on their sustainability journey

● Carbon offsetting and carbon reduction schemes are rising in popularity quickly in print, while there are numerous organisations offering advice and support on green matters, including BPIF community The Environmental Forum

October & November 2021 Printweek


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