Are you driving brand confidence with sustainable print?

By Eef de Ridder, Vice President, Graphic Communications Group at Ricoh Europe

Almost a third of consumers have chosen brands because of their environmentally sustainable practices.

Deloitte’s “2021 Shifting sands: Are consumers still embracing sustainability?” found that the same figure – 30% – made decisions based on ethical practices. It stated 28% had stopped purchasing certain brands or products because of ethical or sustainable related concerns.

This resolve to favour brands that have a clear approach to sustainability is a key driver in the growth of green printing says a new market report from Smithers. “The Future of Green Printing Markets to 2026” considers how the printing industry can help brands address consumer concerns with environmentally and socially sustainable materials as well as design and production efficiencies.

The report identifies key drivers for green printing which include:

– Sustainability in print;

– Brand efforts;

– Changing preferences and generational behaviours.

It says that while printing may not be the primary offender in the generation of greenhouse gases, contributions are made by printing supply chain networks and life cycle. A green printing strategy can help reduce the industry’s environmental impact and is being developed through the:

– Creation of products that design out waste and pollution, keep solutions and materials in use, and regenerate natural systems, known as a circular economy;

– Rise in consumer demand for more eco-friendly products which is fuelling the research and development of new packaging and printing substrate options;

– Greater movement of business and production processes to the cloud, leading to an increase in distributed print with centralised operation functions, providing opportunities for more sustainable practices.

Ricoh’s commitment to responsible sourcing focuses on how we operate and how our products are designed. As such we established the Comet Circle in 1994 to contribute to the development of a sustainable society.

Our printer re-manufacturing service uses fewer resources, energy and raw materials and allows us to recycle, reuse, and reduce all in one process. Our manufacturing facility operates a zero waste to landfill strategy and we always consider new ways to reduce waste and energy use with lean manufacturing techniques.

When designing systems we continually look for ways to support print service providers (PSPs) such as reducing the energy consumption of our production printers, maximising production uptime and ensuring maximum efficiency.

For example continuous feed and sheet fed digital presses such as the Ricoh ProTM VC70000 and the Ricoh ProTM C7200x enable short run versioning and the production of creative personalised print. This reduces waste, aids minimum orders, and enables just in time delivery.

We also develop software, some of which is cloud-based, that efficiently plans jobs to maximum productivity and minimises waste, such as with substrates and inks.

As part of its sustainability strategy, Ricoh has identified seven priority issues and set clear Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) targets that are embedded into its business activities. We undertake a wide range of ESG initiatives to advocate for the advancement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Among them is our Carbon Balanced Printing Programme that helps clients reduce their environmental footprint.