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Print industry predictions part 4: the rise of carbon balancing and the circular economy

We are still not doing enough about the environment

Everyone agrees that the environment is important, but few people seem to be prepared to change their working practices enough to make an impact. Some companies are now beginning to declare that they are carbon negative. However, to the best of my knowledge, none are from the printing industry.

In the future we are highly likely to see legal requirements to lower our impact. If printing companies don’t adopt more environmentally friendly practices now, they will soon be forced upon our industry.

What does a printing company in an environmentally friendly future look like?

The focus will be on efficiency and renewability as much as carbon offsetting. Carbon balancing your paper, or even your entire job, will not be nearly enough. Everything in a factory will have to have the lowest possible environmental footprint.

  • All factory purchasing and procurement will have to be to rigorous environmental standards. Areas such as energy will be qualified on their renewable standards as much as price
  • Your customers will be doing the same, especially the big brands. You will have to stand up to rigorous environmental scrutiny or risk losing important accounts
  • Factories will have to be set up to be energy efficient. Waste energy will need to be captured (and it will be economical to do so). All areas will need to use as little power as possible: for instance, lighting systems will need to be changed to low energy systems. Many factories may choose to instal micro energy generation
  • Everything produced will have a carbon footprint measured to agreed standards and this footprint will have to be offset. This measurement will also take place upstream and downstream
  • Waste will be highly managed. There will be a high tax on landfill. Renewability and re-usability will be key. For example, your press will go back for component recovery and recycling

Does this seem like hard work?

It will be the only way for the planet to survive. The good news is that digital will have to reveal its footprint as well. Sometimes digital will have a lower carbon footprint than print. But it won’t be seen as the environmentally conscious alternative in the same way that it is today.

How will you stand out in a world like this?

Oddly enough, it won’t be your commitment to the environment. This will be a given as much as service and quality are today. You will still have to create a difference to appeal to your customer. Members of The Successful Print Sales Circle create three types of difference during month 12 of their membership.

If you need to create difference more quickly, there’s also a deep dive into difference in my book How To Stop Print Buyers Choosing On Price, as part of developing an effective sales message.

Get your free copy of “10 Common Print Selling Errors And What To Do About Them’ (worth £19/$29) right now

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Download your free copy of 10 Common Print Selling Errors And What To Do About Them (worth £19/$29) right now

Claim your free download here