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Flexo Sustainable : Spring 2012
companies understand that being more sustainable has a positive impact on the company ’s bottom line. More than 30 percent of printers stated that they felt the emphasis on sustainability increased more from the previ- ous year (from 2011 to 2012), compared to 57.9 percent in last year’s survey (from 2010 to 2011). In 2012, almost 45 percent responded that there was no change in the emphasis on sus- tainable printing from the previous year. Just over 16 percent said it decreased since 2011. The major driver behind the sustainability movement is, perhaps, from customer demands. As mentioned, many corporate giants are expecting sustainability programs within their supply chains. In both surveys, printers were asked what percentages of their customers were asking about sustainable printing. Consistent in both surveys, more than 50 percent of printers reported that less than 10 percent of their customers were asking about sustainable printing. In 2012 there was an increase in the percent of printers stating that there were 10-24 percent asking and a decrease in the 25 percent and up categories. This may indicate a decrease in emphasis on sustainable printing or, perhaps, it is expected that sustainable printing should be incorporated into good business practices. More specific questions about what print buyers were ask- ing of flexo printers were included in the 2012 survey. Results showed that more than half of print buyers were asking if printing facilities had a formal sustainability program. How- ever, the definition of a sustainability program is subject to interpretation. A sustainability program should go beyond ad- dressing environmental concerns and include health, safety and labor practices. Quite often, the holistic approach is not considered when sustainability is addressed. But, this ap- proach goes beyond simply using recycled paper or reducing volatile organic compound emissions. Frequently, printing facilities are being asked by their customers to disclose carbon emissions in an effort to demonstrate environmentally friendly performance. In the 2011 survey, more than 27 percent of those companies with a sustainability program were also working to calculate their carbon footprint to some level. In 2012, more than 25 percent reported that their customers were asking about the emis- sions of the printed product and nearly 20 percent had cus- tomers ask about the carbon footprint of the facility. Seen as an important issue for flexo printers, FTA published a series of articles about calculating a facility ’s carbon footprint (see the 2011 year-end issue of Sustainable FLEXO). www.flexomag.com spring 2012 Sustainable FLEXO 13
Year End 2011