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Riposte! Printing Industries strikes back

Wednesday, 19 September 2018
By Printing Industries

Last week environmental blogger Laurel Brunner contributed a series of blogs published by Print 21 titled Spreading the Suitability Message. Throughout the series Brunner accused industry groups of failing to do anything substantive about suitability.

Brunner a UK-based author neglected to recognise the significant long-term contribution the Printing Industries Association of Australia has made toward sustainability through its nationally recognised Sustainable Green Print (SGP) program.

SGP is Australia’s best recognised and most widely implemented industry sustainability program. Developed over ten years by the PIAA the program was launched in 2009, and since then has been implemented in hundreds of print businesses nationally and required by government as part of some tendering processes.

PIAA was the first Australian industry group to develop a market-based suitability program, and today SGP remains a well subscribed benefit to PIAA members.

Part of SGP’s formation was to counter green washing claims within the broader manufacturing industry. Today rigorous accreditation and annual re-accreditation lies at the heart of the program’s credibility, something which PIAA CEO Andrew Macaulay recognises as critical to the program’s ongoing success, “Sustainability programs are only as credible as their minimum standards and the reliability of these being enforced. SGP has topped it’s class nationally on both counts.”

The programs structure takes participant businesses through three levels of accreditation, the top level being comparable to the base level requirements for ISO14001. Each level has key deliverables that must be demonstrated to auditors over several months before a business is accredited. Businesses must then demonstrate on a monthly basis that sustainability targets are met and report annually to maintain accreditation.

A major party of the program’s ongoing success is the positive commercial proposition it offers print businesses. By reducing waste and energy expenditure businesses save money, particularly during a time of high energy costs, SGP provides a practical and inexpensive solution to increase margins. As well as this business report a strong positive response from their clients and have found ongoing commercial advantage when tendering for work – particularly to government and the not-for-profit sector.

Part of SGP’s long-term success is that the programs recognises the commercial realities of the industry, as illustrated by CEO Andrew Macaulay, “SGP has proven its longevity because it was developed to meet environmental outcomes while remaining relevant to our industry. For print businesses faced with an increasing cost of energy a savvy program like SGP makes a lot of sense.”  

Credit where credit is due, PIAA has invested and encouraged participation in the SGP program over a decade, the continued success of the program should be celebrated as a commercially viable example of improving our industries sustainability. The program is open to all print businesses and PIAA welcomes the opportunity to speak to printers keen to learn more.










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