Green Piece: A Green State of Mind
WhatTheyThink, a news and information site for the graphic communications industry, recently released a report that provides an overview of the state of green printing initiatives in the U.S. commercial printing industry. The 68-page report titled: “Printing Continues to Go Green: An Updated WhatTheyThink Primer on Environmental Sustainability in the Commercial Printing Industry” is based on results of a survey conducted in June by WhatTheyThink’s Economics and Research Center. In addition, the report lists descriptions of the leading green certification organizations and a variety of steps commercial printers can take toward becoming more environmentally responsible.
According to the report, the top green practice that U.S. commercial printers say they have currently implemented is they are identifying themselves “in marketing and sales materials and promotions as an environmentally sensitive business.” This was cited by 33 percent of all survey respondents, up from the 26 percent who said this in a March 2008 survey—classifying it as a green practice.
In the March survey, the top green practice that U.S. commercial printers said they had implemented was to “promote recycled papers as better than ‘typical’ papers,” which had been cited by 30 percent of all respondents. The marketing and sales materials was the second top green practice in the March survey.
Another item worth noting from the report is the percentage of companies that gain special green certifications from independent organizations has risen from 15 percent to 22 percent.
Richard Romano, senior analyst for WhatTheyThink, said a couple of reasons likely caused the two top green practices to swap places.
“The first is that a bit more printing companies have gone to the trouble of obtaining independent certification, and as a result they are loudly touting those initiatives,” he explained. “Ergo, the emphasis on identifying themselves as ‘green’ businesses. On a more cynical note, though, talk is cheap, and identifying and marketing oneself as a green business is easier and less expensive than going out of one’s way to invest in green practices. How much [of] this self-identification is greenwashing remains to be seen, but is likely a factor.”