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Navigating the Wide-Format Sea

(October 2009) posted on Wed Oct 28, 2009

Five industry experts scope out the year ahead.

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Greene: I agree that it has kind of had to take a back seat, but the more advanced companies are pressing on with their sustainability initiatives because it is, in their opinion, “the right thing to do”—and because they believe it will give them a leg up on their competition when the economy rebounds. But yes, overall, I would say that the wider adoption of sustainable printing practices has been delayed by the economic conditions, largely because of the demands on the buyer side to de-emphasize “green” printing versus a lower-priced, non-green alternative.

Has the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) made the impact on the market we thought it would 12 months ago? And are any other certification programs gaining traction in the wide-format market?

Williams: I think the SGP is one of the certification programs needed by our industry. Certification programs are a way for print shops to “prove” they are sustainable in a measurable way. Today, there’s a definite movement toward sustainability by many print shops. Some are doing it because their customers are asking for “green” products. Some shops see it as a differentiator, a way to stand out from the competition. Some shops are doing it because of a sincere belief and commitment on the part of ownership to be a sustainable business. For some shops, it’s a combination of all three.

Marx: While the SGP is still in its early stages, participation in the program—especially from those companies that have reached certification status—is meaningful. Increasingly, major consumer product brands and retailers are seeking suppliers who possess a sustainability “pedigree.” SGP provides that pedigree, and it will become increasingly valuable as the industry and its customers move forward. Further, SGP is an independent organization, and its third-party credibility gives SGP certification true meaning.

And, on a related note, it seems that what constitutes green/sustainable keeps being expanded, doesn’t it? For instance, I recently saw a reference to sustainable to now include hiring practices.