SunDance Graphics promotes its sustainable approach.
By Jake Widman
SunDance Graphics in Orlando began as an art-publishing company 10 years ago. Then, about five years ago, it was purchased by the family of the company's current director of operations, JohnHenry Ruggieri. The new owners began doing some commercial printing and formed a separate commercial-printing division just over three years ago; more recently, they created a multichannel marketing division as well.
"So now we're a family of three companies," Ruggieri explains, "including SunDance Fine Art Publishers, SunDance Graphics, and SunDance Marketing Solutions.” The graphics and marketing divisions produce hotel signage, pop-up displays, banners, and the other printed material needed in a resort town such as Orlando.
"Our main piece of manufacturing equipment is the Agfa Annapurna Mv, the 63-inch hybrid UV system. We have an HP Designjet Z6100 that we use primarily for proofing, and we do some production work on that, too. And we have an HP Designjet 5500 with a SpinJet accessory that we use for two-sided work, plus an Epson Stylus Pro 9800 and 9600 we use for occasional giclée work.”
The company’s owners had a long history of conservation before purchasing the business, says Ruggieri. "They owned a ranch in Kenya, and they've always had a concern for the environment. And that's been our approach from the beginning. That means making sure that we're recycling everything, that we're not producing extra waste. And that if we have a job that gets messed up, we don't throw it away but save it and use it for make-ready or to create profiles. We have a big 50-gallon drum from the offset side for recycling our ink – a company takes it and turns it into black ink used in newspaper printing.
"We also try to push the more environmentally sound substrates," he continues. "If the customer specs a non-environmentally friendly substrate, we will, of course, print on it, but we try to push other substrates. We'll frequently value-engineer a product to help reduce waste and its impact on the environment."
In order to keep the business focused on the goal of sustainability, SunDance employees attend regular meetings to make sure they're on board with the mission and know they're empowered to enforce it. "We do a lot of training to ensure the employees are educated," says Ruggieri. "If they see something wrong, they’re empowered and required to fix it."
In addition to being the first Sustainable Green Commercial Printer certified company by the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) in the state of Florida, SunDance reports, it also has obtained certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC); the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).
SunDance promotes its sustainable approach, but its effectiveness as a marketing tool is unclear. "It's in our marketing material, but it doesn't necessarily seem like people are seeking us out because we're an SGP-certified printer, for instance," Ruggieri explains. "It's something the customer cares about, but unfortunately normally aren't willing to pay a premium for it. Everybody's pleased to hear about it, but if somebody wants something done in a more environmentally friendly manner, they'll pass up that opportunity if it costs more."