Get Your Green On (left to right): Forrest Reaves, quality assurance coordinator and FSC, SFI, PEFC chain of custody manager; Sam Vignjevic, e-commerce director; Lou DiBridge, vice president, sales and marketing; and Mike Lawing, vice president, operations. Image courtesy of Nill Silver (
Companies discuss implementing eco-friendly initiatives

Green is the new black. But is that shade of green lightening? Steve Vogel, marketing specialist of De Pere, Wisconsin-based Independent Printing Company has been observing this trend and believes that may be a positive for those companies that are serious about being eco-friendly.

“While it seems like the green hype is fading, it’s a good thing. Because most of it was just that—hype. Now customers are smarter and they do research more to find companies that are serious in being environmentally responsible and taking action versus a company tooting its green horn just to get you to open your wallet,” he asserted.

New green initiatives may be waning due to expenses. “There was a definite spike in ‘green’ product interest, but there has been a decline in those inquiries. Cost seems to be the determining factor, as well as the availability of raw materials in the quantities (usually smaller quantities) needed,” said Mark Gerling, executive vice president of sales and marketing of Parsons, Kansas-based The Flesh Company. “In many cases, there are minimum order volumes that exceed what is needed to produce a given job. For the most part, the excess material that we are required to purchase is rolled into the cost of the job, significantly inflating the cost to the customer. We have several customers for whom we have manufactured products that use SFI-certified paper, and any additional business is appreciated.”

Vogel encouraged customers not to be dissuaded by costs. “Every day that you’re not getting ‘greener,’ I think it’s hurting your company. These days customers demand eco-responsibility as a standard. Not only that, reducing, reusing and recycling saves money and that’s definitely important considering the economic state.”

However, he admitted his company is seeing many more eco-conscious, but cost-sensitive, customers. They want the sustainability factor, but are not willing to put out the extra money. To serve these customers, Innovative Printing Company continues to develop new solutions and search for alternative and less expensive green materials, Vogel said.

Elise Hacking Carr is executive editor/content director for Print+Promo magazine.

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