New business guide ranks printers


By Nicole Rycroft

Meeting your sustainability goals requires partners whose own policies and practices support you in hitting your targets. Printers are the gatekeepers to the eco-qualities of your paper products — be it your annual report or latest marketing materials. The Blueline Report 2015, published by international environmental not-for-profit Canopy, ranks North America’s major printers on a set of 29 sustainability criteria. It is the tool to help you discern if your printer is an environmental leader or just slick at green marketing.

The Blueline Report 2015: North American Printers: Sustainability, Transparency, Paper Sourcing and Forest Conservation helps you and your printer make the best possible choices. Canopy notes a widening gap between the top 10 environmental performers in the sector and those printers that are slow to adopt meaningful environmental initiatives.

Companies ranking at the top of the Blueline Report list are taking actions such as avoiding sourcing from contentious forest regions in favor of FSC-certified fiber, and offering chlorine-free recycled papers. The report also profiles a select number of printers that have developed into true supply chain and forest champions. Be it print-giant TC Transcontinental or the progressive EarthColor, an increasing number of printers are engaging their suppliers and government to encourage the completion of precedent-setting conservation plans such as the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements in British Columbia, or undertaking cutting-edge trial runs of new papers made with agricultural residues.

With this surge in environmental leadership by printers, Canopy also notes a widening gap between top performers and printers that are slow to move. A surprising number of printers still do not have rigorous sourcing policies in place. Others continue to supply papers from controversial forest sources. The puts them and their customer brands open to reputational risk.

Top 10 Sustainable and Forest-Friendly Printers in North America:

1 EarthColor
2 Hemlock Printers
3 Harmony Printing
4 TC Transcontinental
5 Lowe-Martin
6 Plan It Green
7 ColorGraphics
8 Ashford Design
RR Donnelley
10 Torstar Printing Group

Having worked with major North American publishers and printers over the past 15 years, Canopy notes incredible strides in the environmental practices of the print sector overall. There’s no question the industry has come a long way! 25 percent of the top 30 North American printers now have endangered forest commitments in place and are implementing them to stimulate the development of new eco-papers and help drive conservation in the world’s forest hotspots.

With The Blueline Report, brands can see where their printers land on the continuum of environmental performance. The report provides tips for how to help your printer move up the performance ladder, and case studies of consumer brands that have worked with their printers to develop better outcomes. It also equips you with information to choose printers that can better meet your corporate sustainability values and ideas on what to look for to enhance your reputation for corporate sustainability.

With studies consistently showing that the largest carbon footprint of a major printed product — be it a book, magazine, newspaper or catalogue — comes from the paper it’s printed on, the report’s criteria emphasize the importance of developing and implementing a bold environmentally sound forest sourcing policy.

Rankings in the analysis are also available in an online tool that will reflect progress and improvements in printers’ standards and practices. Printers are invited to update their profiles and rankings until September 30, 2015.

As a significant print purchaser, your influence and choices reach from your corporate sustainability objectives through the supply chain, right to the forest floor. Ask more of your printers and the ripple effects will be profound.

This blog was originally published by Sustainable Brands.