A group of environmentally minded printers in Europe are looking for printers with a similar outlook to join them in the Print the Change cooperative.
Currently the cooperative comprises of printers in Austria, Switzerland and Denmark, each adhering to Cradle to Cradle principles. It was started by Ernst Gugler, CEO of Gugler in Austria. As a result of his own environmental principles Gugler became the first in the world to achieve Cradle to Cradle certification.
This is the principle underlying the circular economy where all products can be fully reused and recycled without the final product or date during manufacture ending up in landfill. The circular economy has taken hold in sectors from furniture to clothing and cleaning products.
As well as Gugler, the cooperative comprises of KLS PurePrint in Denmark and Vögeli in Switzerland. For a product to achieve the Cradle to Cradle endorsement, it needs to be produced using consumables that have been audited as healthy. Thus, they have researched inks, papers and varnishes to ensure that the same no waste principles apply across all inputs.
There are now 20 approved products that carry the Pureprint label. This is acknowledged to be impossible in the UK where the print company of that name has registered its use. “We can only use Pureprint in certain parts of mainland Europe,” says spokesman Rostwitha Sandwieser. “And it applies only to sheetfed offset printing." There is work underway to be able to certify digitally printed products.
“Doing business in line with the Cradle to Cradle principle not only brings competitive advantages, but also makes a major contribution to climate protection. With the Print the Change cooperative we are saying goodbye to competitive thinking in favour of cooperation – a principle for the future,” says Gugler, chairman of Print the Change.
The members combine to understand the impact of any product and to find those that adhere to Cradle to Cradle principles, something that would be more difficult as individual business, says Kasper Larsen, KLS PurePrint director.
The requirements, explains Sandwieser, is that a print company already has FSC certification and an environmental management system in place. Then it is a question of understanding the issues, applying the chain of custody needed and being audited by a certified assessor. Once passed the printer can become part of the Cradle to Cradle cooperative.
As pressure from larger brands and agencies grows on print to be seen to be environmentally sound, the members anticipate sharing some work between them, as well as attracting work because of the eco stance.
By Gareth Ward