SGP Sets Direction for 2017 – Sustainability Goes Far Beyond Inks and Paper

by Brittany Sutphin, executive director, Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP)

At SGP, we believe that sustainability is a means of continuous improvement for every aspect of your business – from process to people to profitability. After all, if your business isn’t pro?table, it can’t be sustainable. That’s why our comprehensive accreditation ensures that printing facilities hit the benchmark across the spectrum and, inevitably, create a more responsible supply chain.

2017 is a critical year for the SGP and the industry at large. Due to the significant impact businesses have on the environment, there is an increasing expectation on businesses to implement sustainable business practices into the core of their operations.

Since its inception, SGP certification has provided a cross-industry sustainability initiative that supports the entire sustainability profile of print facilities. The multi-attribute certification is unique to the industry as it takes into account the entire print facility: its process, product and social areas. As part of the certification process, SGP assists printing facilities in reducing their energy consumption, eliminating waste, increasing recycling efforts and implementing innovative practices for a greener printing process.

In 2017, SGP anticipates certifying more than 50 new facilities this year, doubling the number of certified sustainable printers, following the increasing recognition for the certification amongst print buyers and the printing industry. Beyond creating real cost and resource savings for each unique facility, the certification of 50 new facilities will provide a significant impact on the environment.

Ensuring production of printed materials with the smallest environmental footprints possible, SGP’s industry-specific criteria and metrics address important environmental factors, such as waste, recycling, energy, water, air emissions, procurement of materials and much more.

We are proud of those facilities that have worked to achieve SGP certification as it is a challenging task but results in countless benefits. SGP-certified facilities represent all print platforms and sizes in the United States and Canada. Beyond creating real cost and resource savings, SGP certification differentiates businesses in the crowded marketplace and institutes a more accountable, sustainable supply chain. Currently, SGP-certified facilities benefit the environment in the following ways:

  • 62 percent of certified facilities divert a higher volume of materials from landfills and incineration by increasing recycling.
  • 62 percent of certified facilities significantly reduce VOC emissions.
  • 52 percent of certified facilities report reduced energy consumption, lowering operating costs and waste.

As we encourage new certifications, there also are some great developments as we work with brands on their sustainability initiatives. As consumer demand for sustainability increases, brands are challenged to set ambitious sustainability goals. Developing supply chains that make a difference takes foresight and perseverance, and retail and consumer brands are taking on this challenge.

To further support this effort, we recently partnered with ANN INC. to launch the SGP Brand Leader Program, providing tools print buyers need to become champions as they align their print procurement best practices with their organization’s sustainability initiatives and goals. SGP Brand Leaders are committed to working with their print providers to achieve SGP certification and lower their environmental footprint, providing an increased sustainability profile.

“At ANN INC., we have taken a leadership role in infusing sustainability into our printed marketing and retail graphics programs. By working with SGP-certified printers, we have assurance that our printers are prioritizing sustainable business practices within their facilities through the third-party certification,” said Libra Balian, senior director of marketing operations at ANN INC. “We can’t just focus on using certified paper and other green substrates. The operational component of the printing process is equally important to reducing our marketing carbon footprint.”

SGP is committed to making it easy for brands and buyers to minimize their environmental footprint with respect to printing purchased, creating a powerful demonstration of commitment to sustainability along value chains. Print buyers are utilizing printers certified by SGP that share a similar sustainability mindset, which makes it easier for brands to accelerate meeting their sustainability goals and objectives. Adopting the externally-validated standard of SGP criteria as a benchmark, there is no need for print buyers and brands to develop “green” standards, checklists or scorecards, thus reducing costs associated with vendor qualification and verification.

SGP’s Brand Leader program is one of many steps the organization will take this year as it works to increase recognition from the printing industry and print buyer community. In addition to certifying printers that comply with rigorous environmental best practices, the organization will conduct conferences, seminars, academic studies and sharing sessions to help print manufacturers and print buyers create sustainable supply chains.

Print facilities interested in eliminating waste, reducing energy consumption, transitioning to sustainable materials and winning new business from organizations that require sustainable printing practices from their suppliers should visit to learn more about becoming SGP certified in 2017.

The Foil & Specialty Effects Association (FSEA), Topeka, Kansas, recently joined with the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP), Sayville, New York, as a Resource Partner for the SGP community. To learn more about working with SGP as a patron or Brand Leader, please contact Brittany Sutphin at [email protected] or 703.359.1376.