Sustainability Policies Reaching Far and Wide

Companies who reckon that the environment and sustainability are not high on corporate agendas are missing an important trick. Actually there is no trick to it, because sustainability policies add value as well as saving money for the business. According to McKinsey & Co, a consultancy, sustainability is a permanent management fixture for 70% of CEOs. McKinsey get this number from the results of their annual global survey. This work looks at how businesses manage sustainability and related policies to improve a company’s growth prospects and add value to the business.

The number of companies implementing systainable practises in this way within the graphic arts is rising, and it seems the same is happening beyond the boundaries of printing and publishing. Sustainability activities for corporates include such things as developing green products, managing energy consumption and keeping employees in tune with environmental impact reduction policies. The interesting thing about the McKinsey work is the reasoning underlying the survey responses. Companies want to have a lively and active sustainability policy because executives recognise their importance: sustainability programmes make a tangible difference to a company’s short- and longterm value. So this could mean that the growing cohort of printers who have implemented some sort of environmental accountability, will find sustainability echoes amongst ther corporate customers. A sound sustainability policy could be a route to improved competitiveness in all areas of print.

The report’s authors reckon that more and more it will be the case that businesses will chase sustainability opportunities in order to add value. This could also start applying to companies in the printing and publishing industries. It could be an important differentiator for companies serving the general public: consumers may start thinking through their shopping habits and opt to make more sustainable purchase choices.

Sustainability and environmental impact reduction rhetoric is becoming more sophisticated. Green arguments are moving away from the emotional space to be framed in more commercial language. Environmental policies are no longer presented as part of a moral or philosophical position, for instance to support a company’s reputation or appealing to a customer’s environmental values. Instead more and more companies are keen to put into place practises that reduce costs and improve efficiencies.

The printing industry has been doing this for decades, resulting in massive savings and huge improvements in the industry’s performance with sustainability improvements an added if incidental benefit. Printers and publishers have had the sustainability habit for years, making changes to production processes that have steadily eroded environmental impacts. That their customers and related players in the supply chain are doing the same is good news all round.

– Laurel Brunner


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