The Sustainable Green Printing Partnership
The Sustainable Green Printing (SGP) Partnership is self-described as “an independent, third-party registration organization formed in June 2007 as a collaboration between PIA/GATF, Flexographic Technical Association and Specialty Graphic Imaging Association with the primary goals of defining sustainable ‘green’ printing and identifying steps that help the printing industry establish sustainable (or ‘green’) manufacturing and business practices.”
The partnership will keep a national registry of SGP printers on its Web site (SGPPartnership.org). Its beta-test registration program is expected to begin this spring after a comment period on the proposed criteria. Initially, the program will be open to any printer, whether or not they are members of the three associations.
Moving Forward, Thoughtfully
When Tyson Miller founded GPI in 2001, demand from book publishers for recycled paper or forest certification was negligible in practice and not much greater in lip service. Miller jump-started a marketplace solution where there was an empty space. The GPI’s “Book Industry Treatise on Responsible Paper Use,” developed in collaboration with industry stakeholders including publishers, printers and paper companies, enabled enough publishers to sign on to a public commitment that, in turn, it provided heightened visibility for the mills and printers to promote the use of recycled paper, and incentives for more production managers and print buyers to specify recycled papers.
As I examined the documentation now available to us in the reports noted in this column and the resources they cite, two cautionary notes came to mind:
• We need to be careful that we do not begin to screen data that supports our premise to the exclusion of data that may suggest other conclusions or that would provide context that sets the publishing industry in the broader industrial spectrum. I believe Bill Upton’s paper, mentioned previously, supports this caution.
• A process of certification and audit of necessity creates its own procedural burdens, bureaucracies and paperwork. Large corporations may be in a position to allocate staff time to understand and satisfy these compliance requirements. Smaller publishers and printers may need to be cut some slack in this area (though many small publishers have been at the forefront of the “green” movement).
Eugene G. Schwartz is editor at large for ForeWord Reviews, an industry observer and an occasional columnist for Book Business magazine. In an earlier career, he was in the printing business and held production management positions at Random House, Prentice-Hall/Goodyear and CRM Books/Psychology Today. A former PMA (IBPA) board member, he has headed his own publishing consultancy, Consortium House. He is also Co-Founder of Worthy Shorts Inc., a development stage online private press and publication service for professionals as well as an online back office publication service for publishers and associations. He is on the Publishing Business Conference and Expo Advisory Board.