Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation forms partnership to help printing companies with sustainability goals
September 20, 2007
– The Board of Directors of the Printing Industries of America/Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (PIA/GATF) passed a major Key Initiative concerning sustainability during its last Board Meeting. As a result, PIA/GATF has joined with the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) and the Flexographic Technical Association (FTA) to form one central location for information on sustainable, “green” printing activities.
Recently within the printing industry, the importance placed on the level of a company’s “environmental friendliness” has increased dramatically. Many printers are facing a growing number of inquires regarding sustainable printing practices, and according to a recent survey conducted by PIA/GATF, over 90 percent of printers believe that their customers will require “green” printing in the future. In an effort to assist the printing community in this push for sustainability, PIA/GATF and its partners have established the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP Partnership).
The SGP Partnership is comprised of volunteer print leaders and other key players from each of the three associations. The project is being led by Gary Jones, Director of Environmental Health and Safety Affairs for PIA/GATF. “Mr. Jones is known as an expert in his field and works extensively with various government agencies on environmental health and safety issues,” says Michael Makin, President and CEO of PIA/GATF. Jones believes PIA/GATF needs to play a prominent role in the “green” movement of the printing industry. “We are on the cusp of a fundamental change in the way printers will be doing business in the foreseeable future. This initiative will give printers the tools they need to respond to the market and demonstrate their continued commitment to protecting the environment through sustainability,” Jones explains.
Sustainability is defined as the method of using a natural resource so that it is not depleted or permanently damaged. When looking at sustainability within the printing industry, there are three key elements to consider: the product, the process, and the support system surrounding them. The first involves the materials used to create the product (ink, paper, adhesives, etc.). The second refers to the manufacturing process, and the third includes the building, energy consumption, employees, and other supporting activities, such as solid waste removal and transportation. All of these elements are important when determining a printer’s overall environmental impact.
The SGP Partnership plans on establishing sustainable printing criteria and a guidance document on how to implement a program to meet them. In addition, a national registry will be established by the SGP Partnership identifying companies that meet the set criteria. This registry will allow printing customers the ability to identify “green” printers in their area. The national registry will be housed on the SGP Partnership website, www.sgppartnership.org. This site will be the information resource center for both printers and their customers.