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Flexo Sustainable : Fall 2013
Gamble introduced its own scorecard to determine its suppli- ers’ sustainability ratings. But even today, quite often, people still think of sustainability as having only a “good-for-the environment” focus. Although this is a major element, it isn’t the only one. Sustainability ’s three pillar approach—People, Planet, and Profit—incorporates being a better environmental steward with ensuring that employees are safe and treated fairly. All pillars are equally important as the third pillar, Profit, relates to a company ’s financial sustainability. A company cannot be sustainable if it is not profitable. One can assume that if your print buyer requires you to become sustainable, the impact on the bottom line is that you retain the business relationship. However, today, print buyers are seeking out printers that can prove sustainability in order to “green” their supply chain. As a result, certified SGP printers are gaining work from companies like Starbucks and Delhaize America (owners of Food Lion and Hannaford supermarkets). But even if you’re a company comfortable with the sustain- ability image you have with your customers, sustainability has significant returns on investment (ROIs). A truly sustainable facility is on a “sustainability journey ” that requires a commit- ment to continual improvement. Such a commitment brings bottom line benefits for the company. ROI for sustainable printers is very diverse, as the journey is different for every facility. An element in the SGP certifica- tion criteria is that each SGP-certified facility reports annually on its continuous improvement, i.e. its sustainability journey. This information is shared publicly on the SGP website, www.sgppartnership.org. Although the dollar value isn’t always reported, the finan- cial implications of certain feats can be quite apparent. Take these real examples: • Implemented an energy efficiency program which resulted in a $62,000 reduction in electricity and gas, a 10 percent utility savings—while expanding the building footprint • Eliminated 60,000 sheets of paper—the hard-copies of production schedules • Modified lighting and renovated lighting controls for a 149,000 -kWh/53 percent reduction in energy use • Reduced material gauge resulting in nearly 217,000-lb. reduction in material use • Donated two tons of unprinted paper to local schools and recycled an additional two tons, thereby keeping mate- rial out of landfill • Found ways to recycle an additional 78 tons of materials, which were diverted from the landfill • Increased use of post-consumer waste substrate, saving 108 tons of wood • Worked with supplier to find lower volatile organic compound (VOC) aqueous coating, a 74 percent VOC reduction • Implemented an energy consumption awareness pro- gram that resulted in only a 4-kWh increase per sq. ft., while sales doubled • Increased recycling by working with suppliers to find outlets resulting in 57,000 tons of plastics, 152,000 tons of corrugated paper and 4,700 tons of aluminum recycled, which resulted in net receipts of $28,500 • Worked with other local business to pool resources for joint paper recycling • Analyzed sources of VOC emissions and found ways to reduce or replace sources for a VOC reduction of 30 percent • Upgraded to computer-to-plate that reduced the number of chemicals being used and overall VOC emissions by 10 percent • Replaced lighting in the production facility with more en- ergy efficient units, for a savings of 300,000-kWh or more than $25,000 per year • Through reuse and recycling, reduced waste going to the landfill by 200 yards, a decrease of 66 percent • Found ways to reuse vinyl waste by converting it to shop- ping bags • Lowered consumption of fuel via delivery services by 30 percent by modifying delivery services and vehicles • Modified energy consumption habits and saw 15 percent reduction in energy use • Reduced VOC emissions by 18 percent by working with supply chain to find solvent wash alternatives • Discontinued non-essential equipment for a reduction of 145,000 gallons of water used, equating to $5,000 per month operating cost • Installed on-demand water heater and low flush toilets for 59 percent reduction in water use • Saved more than 815,000-kWh annually by modifying compressed air systems and procedures Figure out what these contributors to ROI could mean to your facility. For example, if a printing plant could save 815,000-kWh like the last example, on Long Island where rates are as high as $.20/kWh, this would equate to $163,000! With these types of returns, it is clear that every company needs to start on the sustainability journey! This is why sus- tainability is often described as a win-win-win proposition as it benefits the company, employees and the planet. n Authors: Doreen M. Monteleone, Ph.D., sustainability special- ist, Flexographic Technical Association; Gary Jones, assistant vice president, EHS Affairs, Printing Industries of America and Marcia Y. Kinter, vice president/Government & Business Information, Specialty Graphic Imaging Association. All three authors and their respective associations helped to develop and support the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership. They assist their members to attain SGP certification and serve on the SGP Board of Directors. With more than 50 facilities hav- ing been certified, SGP will be celebrating its Fifth Anniversa- ry in 2013. Learn more by visiting www.sgppartnership.org. SGP Celebrates Five Years of Certifying Sustainable Print Facilities Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP), a non- profit organization providing sustainability certification in the graphic communications industry, marked its fifth anniversary this September. SGP Certification criteria are seen as valuable, objective metrics for printers and corporate print buyers alike. Companies such as adidas and Starbucks entrust SGP facilities to help them meet their requirements for a sustainable supply chain. To date, SGP has certified 52 facilities in the United States and Canada, and boasts an ROI-driven recertifi- cation rate of 95 percent. FTA members having attained certification list out as follows: cei, Wrightstown, WI; C-P Flexible Packaging, York, PA; Global Packaging, Oaks, PA; InterFlex Group, Merrill, WI; Plastic Packaging, For- est City, NC; Plastic Packaging, Hickory, NC; PolyCello, Amherst, NS, Canada; Robbie, Lenexa, KS and Starflex Packaging, Pointe-Aux-Trembles, QC, Canada. SGP is supported by a record 25 patrons, including Platinum-level 3M, Hexacomb and HP. Patrons make it possible for SGP to maintain affordable application and certification fees. SGP commemorated its fifth anniversary this fall, starting at PRINT 13, Sept. 8 -12 in Chicago, IL . Celebra- tions marking the milestone are also slated for RILA’s Retail Sustainability Conference, Sept. 30–Oct. 3 in Orlando, FL and the SGIA Expo, Oct. 23-25 , Orlando, FL. Festivities formally kicked off with a celebration at SGP’s first certified facility, Pictura Graphics in Minne- apolis, MN, hosted by President/Owner and SGP Chair- man of the Board, Paul Lilienthal. “ T he fifth anniversary of SGP is a distinctive point in the sustainability journey within the graphics community. I am proud of SGP’s leadership stake as we strive to drive sustainability further into corporate supply chains and retail communities,” Lilienthal commented. SGP Certification has emerged as an industry standard for sustainability, providing a comprehensive evaluation and audit of print facilities and entire opera- tions within all major platforms: digital, flexographic, gravure, offset and screen. Print facilities are audited through a third party and certified in accordance with SGP’s sustainability guidelines, which also require continuous improvements. Improvements, such as the integration of low VOC inks, landfill avoidance, reduction of energy and water use, and increased awareness and use of recyclable materials, are documented in each certified facility ’s annual report. SGP Certified Printer and FTA Member Robbie Fantastic Flexibles SGP Certified Printer and FTA Member PolyCello SGP Certified Printer and FTA Member InterFlEX Group, Merrill, WI SGP Certified Printer and FTA Member Global Packaging 4 Sustainable FLEXO FAll 2013 www.flexomag.com www.flexomag.com FAll 2013 Sustainable FLEXO 5