Printing Industry Sets Course to Meet Sustainability Challenges

The Sayville, New York-based Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) held its 2018 SGP Community Day on Nov. 14 in Cincinnati in order to set a clear direction for a sustainable future.

The fifth annual SGP Community Day included in-depth discussions on a variety of issues and challenges facing the printing industry and the retail market along with informative talks on sustainability metrics, circular economy, green procurement and recycling.

“Working towards a sustainable future is a clear choice for the printing industry – you’re either on the ‘train’ that’s moving forward, or you’re left behind. Sustainability is not a fad. It’s here to stay. It’s addressing your people, your processes and your products. SGP certification fosters a continuous improvement journey toward a sustainable future and provides that needed validation,” said Jodi Sawyer, chair of SGP board and market development manager at FLEXcon. “SGP certification has gone from an achievement to a business-critical certification.”

Key challenges and opportunities for the printing industry that came out of the event:

  • Certification is a priority. Validation through SGP certification provides commitment to sustainability – the proof that brands and print buyers require.
  • With the new SGP Impact Tracker, there is instant access to metrics that puts printers on a level with other companies in the supply chain. No longer is there just a printer-to-printer ad-hoc comparison.
  • There are immediate solutions to environmental challenges. From recycle and reuse of print materials to indoor air quality, printers must consult with their supply chain and others to find immediate solutions.
  • The SGP Community provides leadership in sustainability. SGP printers, brand leaders, patrons and resource partners need to drive local sustainability and recycling initiatives in their communities.

In her keynote, “Building a Community: The Heart and Engine of Sustainability,” Ryan Mooney-Bullock, director of Cincinnati’s Green Umbrella Regional Sustainability Alliance, spoke about building a community and included group interaction on finding commonality to develop goals.

Paul Glynn, manager of Materials Digital Technologies R&D for Designtex and incoming SGP chair, led several discussions, including a case study of the SGP Sustainability Tracker and the recycling efforts at Designtex. “The SGP Impact Tracker provided insights into our operations that have made small adjustments to the business and our operations yield incremental sustainable advancement and overall better business operations,” Glynn said. “The Tracker is delivering a way to measure the sustainability impact of the entire supply chain.”

The Plastics and Recycling Panel was a lively discussion with David McLain, market development manager with Printpack, and Ashley Hood-Morley, sustainability director with the Plastics Industry Association. “The potential of plastic recycling is all about building the 4 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Reclaim into your company’s plastic strategy,” Hood-Morley said.

To learn more about getting print facilities SGP-certified, visit