LFP - Large-Format-Printing
Sustainable solutions at SGI Dubai 2019
Wednesday 14. November 2018 - While the public is putting more emphasis towards green solutions, the print industry already has certifications and measures in place. Several companies actively promote sustainability and environmentally friendly solutions that adhere to standards set around the world.
SGI Dubai 2019 show, the biggest and most comprehensive exhibition catering not only to the signage and textile printing markets in the region and beyond, is happy to contribute to environmental and sustainable efforts that its exhibitors will be bringing to the exhibition in January.
More and more manufacturers are driving their operations towards sustainability, introducing processes and operations that are taking note of the environment. While the environment and sustainability go hand in hand, significant savings can thus be achieved too. Conserved energy, reduced waste, elimination of hazardous materials are just some of the many topics that not only lead to a “greener” production but also to higher reputation in terms of future-oriented manufacturing that is valued by customers.
Consumers are increasingly interested in where the products they buy are coming from, their traceability, environmentally friendliness and health impact, the manufacturing processes employed as well as ethnic sourcing and transparency of the whole process chain. Increased globalisation has been shaking up the landscape of their mindset and made customers aware. A survey by UL names the supply chain as a significant priority by manufacturers whereby 88% believe that the supply chain management is becoming more important and 78% think that global sourcing is a means to improve product quality. While for consumers considerations such as product safety and quality are still high on the list, sustainability and environmental concerns are rising.
For manufacturers and consumers alike environmentally friendly manufacturing is a high priority though consumers rank it lower than health impacts. The last being ranked lower from the manufacturers site, whereby improvements in this sector are ranked higher than importance. Both sides – manufacturers and consumers – are placing a high value on environmentally friendly products whereby consumers see a higher need to improve. The need to improve on traceability is ranked quite higher by manufacturers than consumers though manufacturers themselves are not placing so much importance to this topic as a primary driver of success.
Improvement needs from the consumer view again is seen within the topic of ethical sourcing whereby manufacturers see not so much requirement for it. 92% of manufacturers in the study and 73% of consumers agree that product safety is a priority that is becoming more important, however 84% of manufacturers think that consumer confidence is increasing but 58% of consumers say that manufacturers value sales over product safety. 72% of manufacturers and 68% of consumers agree that consumers will pay more for eco-friendly products. 90% of the polled manufacturers say that the environment is becoming more important while 40% of consumers think that manufacturers are not doing enough in terms of environmentally friendly manufacturing processes or products. In terms of human health 61% of manufacturers agree that the impact to the environment is more important than the impact to human health – consumers see it the other way round: 61% put human health higher than the environmental impact. While 80% of manufacturers see supply chain transparency as important, 84% see increasing demand by external and internal stakeholders for transparency, yet only 42% of consumers agree that manufacturers do not provide sufficient transparency into their supply chains. As for country of origin both sides agree (80% manufacturers and 83% consumers) that it is important to know for products they purchase. Currently only 2% of manufacturers and 2% of consumers agree that ethical sourcing is an important priority.
However, the above is not allowed to take priority as to how to measure environmental impact and sustainability. And here, ISO and LEED certifications, to be obtainable for the print industry should be considered as some of the most important marks shops can attain. These are recognized worldwide by suppliers, governments and all kinds of print customers, be it small or big entities.
In addition, increasingly print customers require their suppliers, so printers, to adhere to standards and certifications. Likewise suppliers from the industry are offering machinery, consumables and solutions that are sustainably certified. While some years ago, it has been on the lower importance list of companies – buyers and sellers alike – importance has grown from a brand and marketing perspective to integration into the whole business from building to processes up to the whole supply chain. Qualifications, certifications and regulations are becoming an important “must have” for companies.
In terms of energy consumption for example, the US government requires equipment to meet Energy Star and EPEAT energy criteria. These are recognized to ensure a sustainable approach towards greener, environmentally friendly surrounds. Driven by both, increasing awareness and legislation, ensuring sustainability and minimizing the environmental impact of the company has become an integral element in business decision-making and planning activities.
Environmental impact has also appeared as a key differentiator in the marketplace for print service providers who can validate their green claims. Not only does this offer manufacturers to achieve significant savings in their pockets it also opens up new opportunities for tendering thus increasing business.
Other environmental topics are emissions and air quality. Print shop air emissions can contribute to outdoor air quality (urban smog) thus increasing the already heavy burden the planet has to cope with. VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) are another heavily debated topic caused by emissions from homes, schools, workplaces etc. All these emissions that are impacting air quality around the world need to be regulated. Emission certifications like UL GREENGUARD and AgBB are not only a marketing hype but help the consumer in their decision as to which supplier to chose.
SGI Dubai 201 will take place from January 13 – 15, 2019 at the World Trade Center in Dubai (UAE).