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Green Printing: German print and media enterprises lead the way
»Green Printing« had been one of the chief topics at drupa 2008. Two years hence, i.e., halfway to drupa 2012, things are really stirring in the area of sustainable media production. The financial crisis and wrenching structural changes the industry has undergone did not move the topic to the backburner, though, quite to the contrary. Today, there is no manufacturer of presses, plate setters, digital printing systems, processing systems or materials like paper, inks, rubber blankets and other disposables who would dare to dodge the issue. All of them work with a great deal of conviction to reconfigure their wares to be of environmentally pristine quality, if that’s at all achievable and to firmly embed the idea of sustainability into their own business culture. Notwithstanding the tough times of 2009 and 2010, print and media enterprises also put their chips on environmentally compatible production methods. Be it non-chemical plate manufacture, alcohol-free printing off ecological rubber blankets, the use of incidental heat given off by printing presses in closed circuits all the way to ecological power, or even power generated in-house, printing on FSC certified stock with bio-inks—the industry is not averse to fine-tune any conceivable aspect to save energy, expense and maintain production on a sustainable basis.
Political and economic forces accelerate trend toward ecology
Political encouragement and consumer demand in a socially conscious society also reinforce the ecological conscience of the public and business alike. Going back to 1997, 37 industrial countries solemnly pledged in the Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Today, even large countries responsible for the lion’s share of emissions like the USA, China, India and Brazil participate in negotiations for renewal of the agreement scheduled to expire in 2012, even though they were not signatories at the time. The goal: a worldwide reduction of the greenhouse effect caused by CO2 proliferation to counteract global warming.
The CO2 footprint – a done deal?
Many steps have been taken to substantially reduce emissions during the production cycle. Yet, for simple economic and technological reasons, efficient production methods cannot completely do without compromising the environment. This led to methods of measurement to calculate CO2 levels set free by certain industrial processes. The CO2 factor is also known as »Carbon Footprint«. It could be in reference to a comprehensive manufacturing process for the production of a specific item, e.g., a printed catalogue, magazine, or wrapping, but also the creation of a website or e-book. »Carbon Footprint« may also apply to an entire enterprise, e.g., a press house or paper mill and assess its level of environmental compatibility. Incidentally, the carbon footprint extends to all industries; car manufacture is covered as much as is logistics, events, transportation, realty or private households.