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Flexo Sustainable : Winter 2009
Q: How does a requirement such as letting your leaves fall on the ground and not picking them up to act as mulch, or the requirement of using your landscaping as a food source for wildlife bring about more environmentally friendly printing processes? Isn’t the goal of SGP to make and identify environmentally friendly printing processes throughout the country? A: The concept embraced by the SGP Partnership is not limited to the actual manufacturing process (i.e., prepress, press, and post press), but goes beyond it by encompassing all of the activities that occur at the facility. These activities include energy consumption, transportation, employees, grounds, maintenance, etc. At the core of sustainability is the identification, understanding, and effort to reduce the environmental and social impact that a facility and the product it produces has in an environment that allows for increased profitability. The term that is often used to describe this situation is People, Planet, and Profits or the 3Ps. Q: The Sustainable Management System (SMS) seems very involved, is it really necessary? A: The SMS is really the core component of the program. While regulatory compliance is the starting point, the SMS provides the pathway to sustainability. Printers who have achieved success with their customers have implemented a management approach that is both systematic and systemic. A management system structured as identified in the SGP Partnership Registration Criteria will allow a company to realize successes beyond being acknowledged as an SGP Printer. The SMS must be formal, documented, and address the following elements: • Sustainability Committee • Sustainability Policy • Implementation and Operation • Checking and Corrective Action • Ownership’s Commitment, Participation and Review The SMS encourages a company to look at its operation and identify areas that need work as well as its one continuous improvement project each year. By utilizing this management system approach, printers have found many ways to reduce their environmental footprint, cut their operating costs, and cement their relationship with their customers. Q: Q: How do I develop a formal Sustainability Management System (SMS) or compliance program? A: The first place to start is your industry association. The six partner associations (FTA, SGIA, PIA, NAPIM, FSEA and EMA) have information and programs in place to assist their members. What is required to show that the mandatory best management practices are being met? A: The SGP Printer applicant must also meet and document the best practices outlined in the program. One of the best approaches is to develop written polices explaining how each of the best practices will be met and to describe how conformance will be documented. www. f le xomag.com Q: Can you elaborate on the SGP Printer’s annual progress report? What happens if the printer hasn’t completed or seen significant progress on the “continuous improvement project” in the year to be reported on? A: The annual report is a series of questions that look at the goal, the implementation of the action plan and the end results. If a SGP Printer has not completely met the goal set, but has shown progress toward that goal, they are not going to be penalized. This is a voluntary program, not a regulatory or enforcement program. Progress needs to be shown; however, it will be a different situation if there is NO progress toward the defined project goal. Q: Can you provide examples of an annual project that a printer might implement? A: When you apply you are asked to set a goal for the next 12 months. The goal needs to be meaningful and “SMART.” SMART refers to specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. For example, the project can be implementing a paper recycling program in the front office to reduce waste by 20 percent, planting low maintenance, native plants in your landscaping to reduce water use by 10 percent, purchasing supplies from a local company to reduce the amount of fuel used for transportation by 30 percent. When you have a SMS you establish a process map to evaluate what is going in and out of your facility. Then you do some type of risk ranking to determine your concerns and what your opportunities may be. Goals and targets are different for each facility. There are no requirements relating to the magnitude of the project, but it needs to be something of merit. Q: Q: We just completed a solar power installation this year. Can we use it for next year’s project? A: This is commendable, but there is always something additional a facility can be working on to stay on the sustainability journey. A journey is not simply a trip. It is a process of self-discovery. This leads to continual improvement. SGP Printers are required to commit to at least one continuous improvement project addressing one issue for either the “product,” “process” or “envelope” area each year. Can you elaborate on what that means? A: To be sustainable, a company must embrace continuous improvement. The program asks SGP Printers to identify one goal, such as increase recycling of substrate by 20 percent, in the application. This goal would then become a part of the facility’s Sustainability Management System. To verify their goal, the facility would then develop an implementation action plan and a feedback system to report on progress being made to meet the goal. The SGP Printer has one year from its certification date to complete their goal and file their annual report, which discusses their activities and success with their goal. n Winter 2009 Sustainable FLEXO 11
End of Year 2008
Spring Summer 2009