When addressing attendees at the Sustainability in Printing conference held at the Doubletree Hotel in Philadelphia last June, Gary Jones, director of environmental, health and safety affairs for The Printing Industries of America, Sewickley, Pa., stressed there would be a culture change going forward. Instead of a policy, he cautioned, businesses of all sizes will need a formal management system, along with continuous improvement measures, put into place. In fact, an effective environmental, health and safety management system is critical for becoming a certified green printer under the Sustainable Green Printing (SGP) Partnership program, which Jones helped organize. Fortunately, there is a hidden benefit many printers don’t realize—making changes to internal operations in response to environmental groups and customers can mean tremendous cost-savings.
“Printers are seeing huge benefits from a lean manufacturing approach that allows for waste reduction and cost savings. You can easily expand lean manufacturing practices to include green [initiatives]. And now, with the new [presidential] administration in place, it’s going to get even more play,” Jones predicted. “There’s already more talk about creating green jobs. Well, if we can say our industry is a green job generator, there could be something in it for us, even if it’s just more notoriety or perhaps funding.”
To this end, the SGP Partnership is helping printers tailor their marketing messages to better communicate lean manufacturing and other green practices to their customer base. “It’s obviously big for anyone doing government contract work, and I think we’ll see it expand further,” said Jones. “After all, the government now basically owns the banking industry, and certainly parts of the auto industry.”
Jones went on to comment on what replacing longtime Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell with California Representative and staunch environmentalist Henry Waxman could mean for the printing industry. He noted, as a Michigan native, Dingell has chaired the committee since the ’80s with an eye toward protecting the domestic auto industry. Waxman’s win is a big victory for environmentalists wanting a more aggressive stance on global warming from the committee.