Becoming more sustainable can provide your shop with additional efficiencies and additional profits.
“We really didn’t start hitting it hard until after we bought our HP FB500 UV printer in 2010,” she continues. “I knew it would help further reduce waste, but I thought there was even more we could do.”
So that same year, MacFarlane began pursuing certification from the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership, the non-profit organization that provides a certification label for sustainability in the graphic-communications industry.
The SGP’s guidelines, she explains, helped her determine how best to evaluate four aspects of business: the process, product, people, and best practices. She and her staff had to document how they had been operating, and identify and then implement needed improvements for a sustainability audit.
“There was a lot of work up front, especially in preparing the documentation required,” say MacFarlane. But it was all worth it: ProGraphix was SGP-certified in 2012.
“Certification requires that we continue to maintain our best practices and set measurable goals for improvements we can make each year.” The first goal – for a 25-percent reduction of waste – was easily met. And the company is now on target for its second-year goal – a decrease in energy consumption by 5 percent.
On its website, the shop notes that it is committed to pollution prevention by taking three actions: reducing and avoiding waste including using renewable energy sources, reducing energy consumption, and offering biodegradable products; the use of recycled products and maximizing the use of scrap material in inventive ways; and recycling all waste, including all ink cartridges as well as electronics.
“All the steps we’ve taken will probably save us money in the long run,” she says.
Certifications, programs, and logos
The Sustainable Graphics Partnership isn’t the only organization out there that can provide a certification label. But the SGP was built from the ground up to address the needs of the print and graphics market; today, nearly 50 print providers are now SGP-certified. So let’s address this organization first.
“If you’re interested in becoming a more sustainable business, the best place to start is on the SGP website (www.sgppartnership.org), where you can download the criteria for earning SGP certification,” says Marci Kinter, who serves on the SGP board of directors and is also vice president for government and business information for the Specialty Graphic & Imaging Association (SGIA).