Monday, August 17, 2009

A new report is saying printing continues to go green, but do its findings support this claim?

New report has been released with an interesting title - Printing Continues to Go Green. But looking at some of the report's findings makes you wonder if this is really so.

This 68-page report, according to the publisher
WhatTheyThink, "provides an overview of the state of green printing initiatives in the U.S. commercial printing industry. The report, an update to a special primer report first published in April 2008, provides the results of a June 2009 survey of commercial printing establishments conducted by WhatTheyThink’s Economics and Research Center".

So far so good, but let's look at couple of the findings the publisher highlights on its website:

— in a June 2009 survey conducted by WhatTheyThink’s Economics and Research Center, the top green practice that U.S. commercial printers say they have currently implemented is “identify itself in marketing and sales materials and promotions as an environmentally sensitive business,” cited by 33% of all respondents, up from the 26% who said this in a March 2008 survey;

— 43% of all responding companies said that sustainable printing initiatives are “critically important to only a select few customers,” up from 41% in March 2008;

— 26% of all respondents say they plan to implement some form of certification from an environmentally sustainable printing authority, up from 20% in April 2008;

Now, I have to say first I didn't read the report and I only refer to the information available on the publisher's website, but if these findings are in anyway indication of the other findings of the report then I'm not sure how one can see here any move of the printing industry in the direction of sustainability.

Actually, all three findings are showing the opposite. The first finding shows that most common green practice is to identify to yourself as one in marketing materials. This sounds a little troubling - wouldn't you expect it to be greater usage of FSC or recycled paper?

The second finding shows that more printers say that green printing is important only to a few customers. This is not encouraging as well.

And the last finding here show that more printers plan to implement some kind of "green" certification - but how many actually do it and not just plan to do so? I think the number of printers who already have these certifications can be a better indicator of the state of green printing.

So I'm not sure if these kind of findings justify the title of the report. I only hope the report itself include much more supporting material. In any case, it doesn't mean we don't think the printing industry is going green - we see this trend in the interviews we conduct
with printers, conversations with businesses, feedbacks to our green printing tips series and news we read about almost every week.

If you have any feedback please feel free to add your comment. We'll be happy to hear your thoughts!

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting green printing!