14 May 2017

Accountability will be the winner

Congratulations to Seacourt, officially the most sustainable SME business in Europe. There are 4,000 or so companies that have Emas certification and are therefore transparent about publishing their impact on the environment in a way that is not necessary with ISO 14001. The Oxford printer has lived by its environmental convictions for many years, managing improvement year after year. It is a three-time winner of the Queen's Award for Sustainability and has now come through grilling by Europe's leading environmental scientists, business people and EU commissioners.

And it works. The company is busy without resorting to suicidal pricing, nor to buying the cheapest consumables it can and certainly not to comprising its fundamental beliefs because the market does not care about the environment and only wants to pay the minimum. Not every printer wants to work for Mr Trump. Some buyers are alert to the pressures around sustainability, around the wider environment and waste that consumers are waking up to.

There is a shift away from the 'digital is inevitable' credo, an awareness of the power of print away from the pollution of ceaseless email spam, the electronic background noise of an always on society. There will be a swing away from the unaccountable fake news laden social media towards measure, substantiated recording of facts and analysis that is best delivered by print and paper. But it will be print that pays heed to transparency in actions, through adopting sustainable practices, as much as it is about transparency in words. Seacourt – and there are others like it – is in the vanguard as it has been for the last 20 years.

Gareth Ward