Published 7 years ago.
About a 6 minute read.
Remember Coles Notes? Those magical little study aids that helped bring focus and clarity to even the most mind-numbing of university courses (Hmmm, come to think of it, I wonder what they were printed on?). As a busy professional, I now rely on exactly that kind of trusted analysis in almost all realms of my life - be it which phone to replace my ailing device with, which restaurants serve the best vegetarian fare, where to stay whilst on the road.
Remember Coles Notes? Those magical little study aids that helped bring focus and clarity to even the most mind-numbing of university courses (Hmmm, come to think of it, I wonder what they were printed on?). As a busy professional, I now rely on exactly that kind of trusted analysis in almost all realms of my life - be it which phone to replace my ailing device with, which restaurants serve the best vegetarian fare, where to stay whilst on the road. And when it comes to wading through all of the sustainability claims made by printers to identify the real leaders, there’s no going past Canopy’s updated Blueline Printer Ranking.
The Blueline Report profiles the environmental performance of North America’s largest printers - ranking major printers on 28 key criteria and directing customer brands to the leaders in environmental performance.
Working with environmentally responsible printers helps you hit your sustainability targets. And if you’re wondering if paper and printing really makes that much of an impact on your environmental performance, the answer is a resounding yes!
A growing body of research shows that the environmental footprint of printing is overwhelmingly attributable to the papers being printed on:
By choosing sustainable papers and printers that prioritize use of eco-papers - be they recycled, sourced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified forests or made from straw leftover after the grain harvest – you will be better positioned to hit your sustainability objectives as well as contribute to reducing the impacts of climate change
Numerous printers responded to their customers’ encouragement over the past year to improve their sustainability practices and transparency. As a result, many ranked higher in this updated assessment. Proving that being successful and growing market share go hand and hand with sustainability, seven of North America’s largest printers occupy the top 10 of Canopy’s Blueline Printer Ranking.
North America’s top sustainable printers are:
Notable improvements over the past year include Arandell, which recently developed a policy with Canopy, and moved up from 15th to 6th in the ranking; and Sandy Alexander, which rose 10 points to 15th place. The full list and ranking of all printers can be found here.
Most printers lay some claim to being “green.” Perhaps not surprisingly, some printers’ claims are overly enthusiastic when you take a closer look at their tangible eco-actions. Some areas of environmental performance are more important in reducing the ecological footprint of a printer than others. Canopy prioritizes the KPIs of most impact in its robust ranking system. In today’s competitive print market, the strongest performers are:
Customers have been engaging their printers more actively and as a result, this year’s rankings reveal significant improvements in the environmental performance by numerous large printers. Twenty percent of the top 50 North American printers have now developed endangered forest commitments with Canopy. Many of the top-ranking printers have become bolder as they strive to meet market expectations and the increased rigour of their customers’ endangered forest commitments and environmental policies. For years, trailblazers such as Earthcolor have partnered with their customers and NGO partners to really push the edge of environmental performance – most recently, they have introduced next-generation products such as straw paper for major projects. What we have seen more of this past year are printers stepping up to advance conservation solutions in threatened forests alongside their customers, suppliers and NGOs such as Canopy.
As the bar for sustainability performance rises for the sector overall, the gap between the leaders and those who are “slow to move” is widening. Players such as Quad/Graphics, Cenveo and Deluxe Corp. are starting to lag behind their peers, especially when it comes to transparency on robust sustainability indicators. Regardless of whether printers are towards the front or back of the pack, there is always room for improvement, and Canopy looks forward to productive discussions with all customers and printers over the coming months and year.
As a customer of printed materials, your influence and choices reach from your corporate sustainability objectives through the supply chain, right to the forest floor. Here are three things that you can do to improve the environmental performance of your printed materials…
Published Jun 24, 2016 2pm EDT / 11am PDT / 7pm BST / 8pm CEST
Nicole Rycroft is founder and executive director of Canopy, a solutions-driven not-for-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting our forests, species and climate. Canopy collaborates with more than 900 companies to develop innovative solutions, to make their supply chains more sustainable and to help protect our world’s remaining Ancient and Endangered Forests. Nicole is the recipient of the 2020 Climate Breakthrough Award, Meritorious Service Cross of Canada and numerous conservation and publishing industry awards.