Moving towards sustainable practices in the speciality print industry

by Christophe Aussenac | 13/05/2022
Moving towards sustainable practices in the speciality print industry

FESPA's President, Christophe Aussenac discusses the growing customer demand for sustainable practices and products within the speciality print industry.

The growing demand for more sustainable business models has accelerated in recent years, with increased pressure from buyers for more transparency around the use of environmentally responsible technologies and materials. As a result, it is becoming ever more urgent for printers to review their practices and look for ways to minimise their environmental impact.

But no two print businesses are the same and there’s no single roadmap for sustainability, which means printers need to evaluate their specific production and business requirements to tailor their sustainability approach. And it’s not something that can be done once and then ignored, your approach needs to be continually reviewed in line with changing customer demands and industry trends.

Happily, the shift to more environmentally-conscious practices is easier than ever before with innovative digital technologies, automated software solutions and eco-friendly substrates. Many technology and consumable suppliers have responded to the urgent demand for environmental progress in the market which has brought about rapid developments in many aspects of digital printing, enabling print service providers to make production greener.

Of course, with the challenges of the past two years, it’s understandable that printers are thinking very carefully about investments, however, it’s important to consider that investing in sustainability isn’t just environmental, it also has the potential to improve your bottom line. And I believe that soon it will be commercially imperative, so it’s wise for PSPs to be proactive and take positive steps towards sustainability now.

At FESPA Global Print Expo 2022 in Berlin, we saw another influx of more environmentally friendly products coming to the market at price points comparable with conventional alternatives. Inside the halls, exhibitors across all product categories showcased products focused on helping customers strive for more sustainable production.

For example, Dataline Solutions and OneVision showed automation and web-to-print solutions, whilst Durst, Enfocus and Inedit presented innovative workflow optimisation software. We saw an emphasis on new sustainable production technologies from vendors including Epson, EFI, HP, Mimaki, Kornit and Summa, to name just a few. And visitors could find a growing array of ‘green’ media and ink choices from suppliers including 3A, Antalis, Avery Dennison, Drytac, ImagePerfect, Mactac, Sun Chemical and others.

And sustainability has always been an important topic at FESPA. We aim to educate our global community and provide tools and practical guidance to enable printers to navigate the challenges and opportunities that the drive for greater environmental responsibility present.

To support this, we introduced the educational ‘Sustainability Spotlight’ show feature in Berlin, which was well attended by visitors. The feature comprised a comprehensive conference programme welcoming subject matter experts who talked about topics including energy, materials, carbon footprint, supply chains and so on.  It also featured a physical showcase of innovative, sustainable textile and graphics substrates, which attracted a great deal of attention.

And we practised what we preached, reducing the carbon footprint of the conference theatre itself by 90% compared with previous shows through careful design, build and materials choices.

To understand the ever-changing backdrop, we also launched the latest FESPA Print Census, a global survey which will help us build a better picture of the environmental challenges faced by our community so we can shape our future product offering. You can have your say by completing the Census here:

I’m excited about this chance to expand my knowledge of the challenges and opportunities that exist for printers and explore how we can better support our members to grow their businesses and succeed in the future.

As we turn our attention to planning the next FESPA Global Print Expo in Munich in May 2023, we’ll certainly be actively exploring how we can help visitors implement and advance environmental best-practice in their businesses.

In the meantime, you can find a range of educational content on the topic of Sustainability over at the news hub:

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