Success Goes Green
The "Environmental Dialog" event held in March this
year at the Print Media Academy in Heidelberg showed that
"green" printing is proving to be a real recipe for
success. Innovative print shops took this opportunity to present
their latest solutions and share information. Among those present
was the company that recently won the Heidelberg ECO Printing Award
for the most sustainable company.
Environmental protection can be ingeniously simple. For
example, the Stark Druck print shop in Southern Germany uses waste
heat from its presses to heat not just its own premises, but also
those of a neighboring mail-order company. Many more sustainable
and highly cost-effective solutions like these were presented at
the "Environmental Dialog" event.
Most sustainable print shop
The event provided the framework for the award ceremony for
the Heidelberg ECO Printing Award. Hemlock Printers Ltd. from
Burnaby in Vancouver, Canada, won the main award, which comes with
a prize of 30,000 Euro. The winner was chosen by a panel of
international judges. For more than 20 years, the company has been
setting benchmarks in ecological printing and impressed the panel
with its integral approach, which incorporates climate-neutral,
alcohol-free and almost VOC-free production, administration and
building management (i.e. energy-saving lighting, insulation) as
well as transport logistics for goods and employees.
Hemlock also applies its sustainable approach to its choice
of paper, consumables, and methods of disposal. For example,
instead of throwing away surplus inks, the company mixes them with
fresh inks in its own laboratory. A special computer program
supplies the necessary "recipe". The Canadian company is
also leading the way in terms of aggressive marketing strategies
for printing on environmentally friendly paper (recycled and FSC).
Fresh impetus and a lot of new ideas come from the 240 employees,
who are getting actively involved in the program through their own
working groups. The "Dumpster Dive" initiative is
legendary. Top managers themselves perform spot "dumpster
dives" to monitor the success of the waste separation scheme.
Hemlock also passes on its comprehensive know-how by holding
lectures and seminars throughout North America.
(from left to right) Stephan Plenz, Dick Kouwenhoven, Dr. Jürgen Rautert, Dr. Achim Schorb, Kazuhisa Yoshida
Most innovative solution
Yoshida Printing from Nigata, Japan, was the unanimous winner
of the Heidelberg ECO Printing Award in the "Most Innovative
Solution" category for its "Fresh Print" concept
which is geared towards on-demand production of short print runs.
Yoshida Printing allows its customers to print products as and when
they need them. An annual framework agreement details the number of
copies and the total price. The "Fresh Print" concept
enables changes, i.e. to the prices or content, to be incorporated
into the next print batch at short notice. This solution minimizes
the risk of print material - such as catalogs - containing obsolete
data or becoming soiled through storage. This concept is not only
kind on the customer's wallet - it also cuts paper consumption and
Participants at "Environmental Dialog" - a good
dozen print shops from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, whose
operations are particularly environmentally friendly - also had the
opportunity to present their solutions and exchange best practices.
"It makes good economic sense to gear your company towards
ecological principles. Our environmentally-friendly principles have
helped us win new customers and bigger orders," says Ralf
Lokay, owner of Lokay Druck, based in central Germany. The
company's operations are climate-neutral and VOC-reduced.
Two-thirds of the paper it uses is FSC-certified. The next topic on
the agenda is improving energy efficiency - through upgraded
building insulation and heat recovery from the pressroom.
Motivation is the key
Participants at the event were in agreement - "green
printing" is more about attitude than the technology itself.
Panel spokesman Achim Schorb from the Institute for Energy and
Environmental Research (IFEU) in Heidelberg hit the nail on the
head when he said: "Even the most environmentally-friendly
presses from Heidelberg will come to nothing if printers are not
interested in eco-friendly printing." Some print shop
representatives said that it is the decision-making structures of
print buyers that are causing the problems. They believe that
customers are interested in environmentally-sound print products,
but that it is often not the customers placing the orders, but the
buyers. And they are only interested in one thing - the price.
New ECO website
Extensive information on environmental management,
sustainable printing, and innovative, end-to-end solutions can be
found on the
ECO Printing Award website
. Heidelberg intends to hold the ECO Printing Award every two
years from now on.