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Success and Sustainability

(March 2012) posted on Wed Mar 14, 2012

Five print providers who have plotted out a green course.

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By Paula Yoho

“Several years ago, we set up an in-house team that includes people from different departments. We call it our ‘green team.’ We meet once a month and they bring in recommendations or issues from each department – things they see that they don’t think are operating as sustainably as they think they could,” explains Krohn. “That way, we try to facilitate more communication. We also set up suggestion boxes throughout our plant so any employee walking through can drop a suggestion in the box or even a problem that they see as it pertains to our sustainability efforts.”

At the suggestion of its “green team,” Premier Press began purchasing carbon offsets and today is “100-percent wind-power operated.” Four years ago, the company also was certified through the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP).

“One of the things we learned going through the SGP process and really questioning all the departments, is making sure our vendors know what our goals are and making sure they let us know if there are new materials out there,” says Krohn. “We often have the vendors come in and present to every department and, in that way, we do a lot of samples and testing. When we get new material samples in, we’ll test them and see how they work with our equipment. And we’ll take samples out to the clients. We spend a lot of money and time on research and development on that end of it.”

Such methodical, evidence-based research helps the company make the wisest investments in substrates, media, and equipment, she says. And it also helps them offer their clients sustainable options – without sacrificing print quality or driving up the cost of production.

“In our wide-format department, whenever possible, we recommend materials that are environmentally friendly, like a corrugated board or an eco-board. In that way, we drive our customers away from some of the traditional, less environmentally friendly materials,” she says.

The company also has upgraded its wide-format equipment to incorporate more sustainable processes.