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Establishing a ‘Green’ Identity

(June 2013) posted on Thu Jun 27, 2013

Becoming more sustainable can provide your shop with additional efficiencies and additional profits.


By Mike Antoniak

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• International Organization for Standardization (ISO, iso.org): The group’s standards are designed to ensure that products and services are safe, reliable, and of good quality. For business, there are strategic tools that reduce costs by minimizing waste (including energy waste) and errors and increasing productivity. Its ISO 14001 maps out a framework that a company can follow to set up an effective environmental management system; the goal is better management control that can result in reducing a company’s environmental impact.

• The EnergyStar program (energystar.gov): Products with this label are more energy efficient; in order to earn the Energy Star label, products must be third-party certified based on testing in EPA-recognized labs. Also, if your operation sells retail and you own your building, you can apply to have your facility EnergyStar certified (meaning it meets strict energy performance standards set by EPA and uses less energy, is less expensive to operate, and causes fewer greenhouse gas emissions than its peers).

• GreenGuard (greenguard.org): Part of Underwriters Laboratories (UL), GreenGuard issues GreenGuard certification, helping manufacturers create – and buyers identify – products and materials that have low chemical emissions. You can search the organization’s website by product category (e.g., “signage”) to find products that have been GreenGuard-certified and utilize these in your production. GreenGuard Gold Certification (formerly known as GreenGuard Children & Schools Certification) offers stricter certification criteria, considers safety factors to account for sensitive individuals (children and the elderly), and ensures that a product is acceptable for use in environments such as schools and healthcare facilities.

• Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI, sfiprogram.org): Print providers can search the SFI database for paper, print, and packaging products that carry the SFI label. The SFI chain-of-custody certification tracks fiber content through production and manufacturing to the end product; companies can make claims about how much of their product comes from certified lands and how much contains recycled content.

• EcoLogo (ecologo.org): The EcoLogo Program certifies a number of “green” printing products and services as well as “green” paper products; other types of product categories have also been certified with the EcoLogo. EcoLogo assures customers – public, corporate, and consumer – that the products and services bearing the logo meet stringent standards of environmental leadership (third-party certification).


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