Not Just How Well….but How, as Well

It’s understood that print buyers are concerned with quality and price, and printers are concerned with efficiency and profitability; but a recent presentation by Martine Padilla made me realize that these goals are not only not in conflict, but are in fact complimentary parts of a common goal.

Martine’s presentation, given at this year’s DSCOOP Conference, is nearly an hour long, and after listening several time and taking notes, I’m still turning the message over in my mind, so all I can offer here is the very briefest encapsulation; but please check it our or read Martine’s synopsis, because I think it addresses issues that are beginning to resonate in our industry on multiple levels.

Very quickly, Martine’s focus is on sustainability in print, and the presentation outlines how this goal unites the interests of printers and print buyers in unexpected ways.

Here is my interpretation of the theme, boiled down to absolute basics:

  1. Print buyers have an interest in getting accurate printing at a good price.
  2. Printers have an interest in reducing waste in order to turn better profits.
  3. These goals seem at first to be in conflict, or at least unrelated.
  4. Brand owners have and interest in both #1 and #2. They want to purchase quality printing at a good price, and they also want to know that the print was produced responsibly and sustainably.
  5. The interests of the brand owners in having quality printing produced responsibly and sustainably unify the interests of both buyers and printers in achievement of a common goal.

Wow. Does everybody else see why this is an absolutely perception-bending shift? By printing sustainably, printers can offer a valuable service to their most important clients while saving money on production and becoming more profitable themselves.

Part of what makes this fit together is an expanded definition of sustainability that includes familiar factors like FSC, but then goes far beyond them to include a wholistic array of factors including substrates, ink and chemicals, waste reduction, carbon footprint reduction, best business practices, continuous improvement, and energy efficiency, not to mention ethical, societal and fiscal factors.

One focal point of all of this is the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership, and their website has extensive information on the subject, but me say this another way, because I’m really finding the whole concept to be too big to easily fit into a sentence: As corporations are learning that environmental responsibility is an important component of their brand message, printers are finding that one of the most valuable services that they can provide to their best  corporate clients is their own efficiency and profitability, created as a natural consequence of doing what is best for themselves in the first place.

Clearly it is going to take more than one post to cover all that is implied by the developing print sustainability movement; it is the broad scope of the initiative that makes it so exciting. So I will be following up on the theme in future articles, looking at individual areas where the interests of printers, buyers and brand owners come together for everyone’s benefit. There is something solid here, and I am determined to learn more about it.

An awful lot of ink has been spilled wondering what would be the next big thing in print. I think this may be it.

I try to keep all my posts informative and product promotion-free. If you are interested in the subject, please check out my other posts, and be sure to browse my website for more information on accurate color and effective prep-press-buyer collaboration.




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