From sustainable papers to climate-neutral printing - how we want to help our customers to print in a sustainable way and what makes us an environmentally conscious print shop.
Everything should be as "sustainable," "green," and "environmentally friendly" as possible, but what does sustainability really mean and what role does it play in print? How to become an "eco print shop" or what does ecological printing mean? Can print shops actually be sustainable?
What is a sustainable print shop?
Greenwashing is (unfortunately) now almost as established as sustainability itself. Brands embellish themselves with ideas of sustainability, but this often sounds nicer than it is efficient. Especially in a production company, it is a challenge to act "green". Even before it was "trendy," LONGO had already made it their mission to act as environmentally friendly as possible. Using various steps, the print shop wants to be ecologically clean within the next 5 years.
The role of the environment and nature in the printing industry
Eco here, eco there, of course there's eco printing now too. The good thing about the green trend is that businesses are putting more consideration to this issue. Many products are offered in an environmentally friendly version. Even brochures, magazines and other printed materials are increasingly being designed with environmental considerations in mind. Print shops and manufacturers of printing inks or paper are addressing the environment. Environmental labels such as climate-neutral printing are gaining importance.
The problem is often the cost that arises in order to be able to guarantee sustainability. Technical innovations require investment, thus it is not only a question of commitment, but also a financial consideration. We are aware of the hype surrounding the trend, as well as the "whitewashing" in this regard. We want to be transparent and show what we really do and what we don't do (yet).
LONGO - the eco print shop?
Even in an eco print shop, nothing works without electricity. However, LONGO uses 100 percent energy from renewable sources.
- LONGO works with transport companies that use hydrogen to incorporate different aspects of the value chain.
- LONGO owns four company cars that are powered by gas (and more are planned)
- LONGO has installed an electric charging station in front of the building
- LONGO has created space for a solar installation on the roof to generate green electricity.
- Every employee has been provided with a personalized coffee cup in order to eliminate plastic cups completely (even small steps count)
Our environmental management is fully in progress in order to promote a holistic approach. But that doesn't make us an eco print shop yet; our awareness is what keeps us going.
Sustainable print products
When it comes to the printing process itself, we use intensive inks in order to use less ink overall and achieve a comparable quality. We continue to be a quality printer where the priority is the quality of the printed products. Eco-inks are used in production, i.e. printing varnishes and inks without mineral oils. For books, brochures or catalogs, a compostable or biodegradable shrink-wrap film is used (Biocartene from NaturWorld).
Change must take place not only in the printing process itself, but throughout the entire company, and environmental awareness must be lived in practice. Robert Berlanda, Production Manager at LONGO, demands that future employees should already be mindful about sustainability, this should be taken into account as a decision-making criterion during the recruitment interviews.
FSC certified papers
FSC certified papers come from forests that are maintained in a more responsible manner. This attests to the fact that these forests are managed in a more economically sustainable, environmentally conscious and socially responsible manner. Consumers have become more critical towards certifications. FSC isn't perfect, but "it's the most demanding available internationally right now," according to WWF on their official website. Customers can choose to print their products, such as books, brochures or catalogs, on sustainable material.
Climate neutral printing
Climate neutral printing creates the opportunity to offset unavoidable Co2 emissions. In some situations it is technically not possible or economically not reasonable to completely avoid all emissions. Climate neutral printing means that all emissions necessary for a print job and print production are compensated by certified and pre-financed climate protection projects. Every step in the production process, from paper production to employee travel, is tracked. What makes climate-neutral printing particularly interesting is that each project is assigned an ID number so that it can be tracked further. To meet the needs of all customers, LONGO works with two partners: NatureOffice and ClimatePartner.
Nowadays, most companies claim to be environmentally friendly. ISO 14001 certification is a well-established eco-audit that closely monitors the continuous improvement of companies in terms of environmental performance. The certification is recognized worldwide and defines the structure, implementation, maintenance and future direction of internal environmental management systems.
Print is cool
Not only is the focus on nature, the environment and environmental protection cool, but so is print. The combination makes brochures, catalogs, books and co particularly attractive. The use of a natural paper can be integrated when designing and underline the sustainability concept of a brand through the products. FSC certified papers, for example, are marked with an eco-label.
Personal customer contact is one of our top priorities. This service enables us to inform our customers about environmentally friendly printing options even before the production of print products.
Printed products are not necessarily harmful to the environment; particularly carefully planned printed products can be long-lasting and thus even more sustainable than digital media, where the eco-balance is often neglected. Since quality is our top priority and we do not produce throwaway products, we are more of an environmental printing company than one might think. Nature and environment are important to us and we try to act accordingly. However, the term "eco printing" does not fit us. LONGO is not an environmental print shop and does not want to adorn itself with "being green", but rather act, produce products in a more lasting way and offer support customers in terms of sustainability warranty.
The future environmental printing company?
We are well aware that we have not yet arrived, we are not a classic environmental print shop, but we are on the right track. The print shop's aging building is currently being brought up to the latest climate standards in order to save energy. Various materials for the future are being tested:
- Vegetable oil-based inks
- Environmentally friendly packaging tape
- Recyclable plastic or green film for pallets
When we talk about sustainability, we often think of environmental pollution, but it's more than that. It means behaving responsibly in the long term. We live long-term responsibility from customer relationships to employees, to coffee mugs and solar panels on the rooftop in the future.
Questions about the environment and what we do regardingly? Feel free to contact us.