Posts Tagged ‘Print21’

  • Wayne Robinson joins Print21 as editor

    Yaffa Media, publisher of the leading industry magazine, welcomes industry media veteran as he moves over to take the helm of the premier graphics arts publication and news service.

    The well-respected Robinson will take up his pivotal industry role in August when he’ll complete a current long-term assignment. He’ll bring to bear his wealth of industry knowledge and contacts in a determination to enhance and improve the reputation and status of Print21.

    He indicated he was keenly looking forward to making the move to what he termed “a larger professional publishing group and working with the great team that’s already there.”

    Tracy Yaffa, MD Yaffa Media, said Robinson was the style of well-qualified industry writer who fits the profile of the company. “We pride ourselves on delivering excellent and engaging content created by informed professionals across all our platforms. Wayne will fit right in here and I’m looking forward to when he joins our team.

    “Patrick Howard, the founding editor and former publisher of Print21, will remain with the title as publishing editor, working with Wayne to create a powerful publishing line-up.”

    As editor of Print21, Robinson continues his decades long engagement with the Australian and New Zealand printing and graphic arts industry. In his new role he’ll enjoy more support in bringing his trademark insight on the supply and production aspects of printing as well as industry politics and movement.

    Lindy Hughson, publisher at Yaffa Media, also lent her support to Robinson joining her line-up of printing and packaging magazine titles,that includes PKN Packaging News. “I’ve known Wayne for many years and I’ve always been impressed by his professionalism. When we acquired Print21 from Patrick Howard in May, Wayne was the obvious choice to steer the title towards its future and also contribute his expertise to the slew of exciting projects lined up across out titles for 2019. With the power team we’ll now have in place, Print21 will reinforce its position as the magazine of record for the printing and graphic arts industry,” she said.

     

  • BrandWrapped: Australia Post’s custom packaging

    (l-r) Rebecca Burrows, GM, small business, Australia Post with Ian Douglas, CEO of Spawnit.

    Australia Post’s new custom packaging offering BrandWrapped, developed in partnership with pioneering software firm Spawnit, will be featured in a special presentation at Print21+PKN’s LIVE industry forum to be held in Sydney next month.

    Spawnit CEO Ian Douglas and Australia Post’s Marty Stone – head of channel development and management, business and government – will co-host a session that examines how the innovative concept was developed and how it’s being rolled out across 4,000 Post Offices across Australia.

    “It’s really exciting,” says Douglas. “To reinforce the brand at the point of delivery is critical for businesses and we’re bringing packaging to every Australian business that wants to create their own custom packaging. BrandWrapped gives small businesses access to design their own beautiful eye-catching packaging and accessories that customers will love and remember.”

    BrandWrapped, launched in March 2018, allows businesses to create personalised boxes, satchels, and other branded items such as ribbon, tape, labels, and wrapping paper, with low minimum print runs.

    Print21+PKN’s LIVE industry forum New Frontiers in Packaging Print has attracted leading companies across a range of  sectors including printing, converting, design, food manufacturing and allied service providers.

    Here’s a look at the impressive and growing list of companies that will be attending the not-to-be-missed event:

    Arnotts; Artech Print: Australian Paper; Australia Post; Ball & Doggett; Birdstone; Blue Star WEB; Bottcher Australia Pty Ltd; Boxcraft; Boxer & Co. ; Brebner Print; Bright Print Group; Confoil; Colour Graphic Services; Currie Group; DreemAR; Ecolean; EFI; Epson Australia; Energi; Exelnetwork; Format Print; Fuji Xerox Australia; Graph-Pak; HP Graphic Solutions; Hybrid Software; IVE Group; Kirwan Print Group; Kodak; Konica Minolta Aust; Labels & Packaging ANZ ; Litho Superpak P/L; Matthews Australasia; Mela; Multi-Colour Corporation; Orora; Pegasus Print Group; PES Print NZ; Print & Pack Australia; Printing Industries Association Australia; Print IQ; Profile Packaging; RollsPack; Roy Morgan Consulting; Sappi Trading Australia Pty Ltd; SEAGA Group Australia; Snack Brands Australia; Sunrice; Soar Print; Spawnit; Spotpress; Tharstern Australia; The Edison Agency, TSA, Visual Connections… and more.

    You can book tickets here.

    The full programme can be seen here.

     

  • Look who’s coming to LIVE… will you be there?

    Lindy Hughson (right) speaks to Mark Wiedermann from Frucor at a LIVE event last year.

    With exactly three weeks to go to Print21+PKN’s LIVE industry forum to be held in Sydney, interest is growing apace for the first-of-its kind event for the packaging and printing industries. Here’s a snapshot of which companies are attending.

    New Frontiers in Packaging Print has attracted industry leading companies in the fields of printing, converting, design, food manufacturing and allied service providers.

    Just some of the companies included in the attendee list are Arnotts; Artech Print: Australian Paper; Australia Post; Ball & Doggett; Birdstone; Blue Star WEB; Bottcher Australia Pty Ltd; Boxer & Co. ; Brebner Print; Bright Print Group; Confoil; Colour Graphic Services; DreemAR; Ecolean; Epson Australia; Energi; Exelnetwork; Format Print; Fuji Xerox Australia; Graph-Pak; HP Graphic Solutions; Hybrid Software; IVE Group; Kirwan Print Group; Konica Minolta Aust; Labels & Packaging ANZ ; Litho Superpak P/L; Matthews Australasia; Mela; Multi-Colour Corporation; Orora; Pegasus Print Group; PES Print NZ; Print & Pack Australia; Printing Industries Association Australia; Profile Packaging; RollsPack; Roy Morgan Consulting; Sappi Trading Australia Pty Ltd; SEAGA Group Australia; Snack Brands Australia; Sunrice; Soar Print; Spawnit; Spotpress; Tharstern Australia; The Edison Agency, TSA… and more.

    To join the crowd, you can book tickets here: https://www.book-this.com/packaging-news-live-sydney-2018/event/ticket

    For the full programme, take a look here: http://www.packagingnews.com.au/live

  • Connecting to the world – Print21 Magazine

    Industry technocrats define connectivity as the ability of disparate components in the workflow to communicate with each other and pass on information crucial to the step-by-step completion of a job.

    However, there is another, more ethereal aspect to connectivity and it is the issue of our time – how well printing as an industry, connects with the world, socially, industrially and economically. Andy McCourt takes a hard, critical look in the latest issue of Print21 magazine.

  • Label printers move into packaging

    Next month’s inaugural Print21 + PKN LIVE: New Frontiers in Packaging Print will examine how increasing numbers of label printers are finding gaps in the packaging market.

    In a session focused on printers who were early adopters of digital printing, starting with labels – and who are now exploring growth opportunities in packaging, we’ll hear from companies like Kirwan Print Group, Soar Print and Excel Print.

    ‘Primed to move into the packaging sector’: Steve Matthews, CEO Excel Print.

    Guest panellist Excel Print CEO Steve Matthews will share his company’s journey from its establishment as a digital cut sheet printer in New Zealand in 1987.

    “We are NZ’s largest digital print provider and four years ago we diversified into the label industry,” says Matthews. “Recently, we’ve invested in equipment that has enabled us to start out our journey in the flexible packaging market.

    “We are experts in fit-for-purpose, cost effective label print solutions using state-of-the-art digital technologies We have a strong label and shrink sleeve operation and are now primed to move into the packaging sector. We currently supply trade partners with print as we are yet to have our own in-house finishing for flexible pouches.”

    LIVE’s Game-Changing Technology in Packaging Printing session will also feature Fred Soar, MD of Auckland-based Soar Print, who will discuss opportunities in the food and beverage industry, where artisan brands are proliferating, giving rise to a demand for short print runs of multiple SKUs.

     Other panellists and speakers at Print21 + PKN LIVE: New Frontiers in Packaging Print will include: IVE Group executive chairman Geoff Selig; Orora Fibre group general manager Brian Lowe; Kellie Northwood, CEO ACA / Executive Director TSA Limited and APIA; PIAA CEO Andrew Macaulay; Marty Stone – Australia Post’s head of category – simplifying business, small business; Currie Group director, labels and packaging, Mark Daws; Matthews Intelligent Identification CEO Mark Dingley; Gwen Blake, managing director of packaging design company Boxer & Co; Amber Bonney, creative director of The Edison Agency; Ian Douglas, solutions architect and director of Spawnit; tech entrepreneur Bill Atta; and Birdstone Collective director Ian Blair.

    Tickets are on sale here. 

    Find program details here.

    When: Friday 3rd August, 2018

    Time: 9am to 4pm

    Where: Monkey Baa Theatre, Darling Harbour, Sydney 

    Click here to view map

  • Print21 + PKN LIVE gathers steam

    Australia’s first printing and packaging technology forum is just under a month away, and plenty of people have already bought tickets to what promises to be an exciting and informative inaugural event.

    Print21 + PKN LIVE: New Frontiers in Packaging Print will explore the technological developments that are shaking up the print and packaging industries, from FMCG to point of sale, cartons for e-commerce, and more. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn from industry experts about the best way to jump on board with these new changes and challenges, and how these disruptions could revolutionise their businesses.

    Panellists and speakers will include: IVE Group executive chairman Geoff Selig; Orora Fibre group general manager Brian Lowe; Kellie Northwood, CEO ACA / Executive Director TSA Limited and APIA; PIAA CEO Andrew Macaulay; Marty Stone – Australia Post’s head of category – simplifying business, small business; Currie Group director, labels and packaging, Mark Daws; Matthews Intelligent Identification CEO Mark Dingley; Gwen Blake, managing director of packaging design company Boxer & Co; Amber Bonney, creative director of The Edison Agency; Ian Douglas, solutions architect and director of Spawnit; tech entrepreneur Bill Atta; Birdstone Collective director Ian Blair; and New Zealand’s Fred Soar, managing director of Soar Print.

    Session highlights include:

    • Digital disruption and what it means for print and packaging
    • Down the aisle: how printed packaging and POS are enhancing the shopper journey
    • How on-pack triggered AR experiences are driving consumer engagement
    • Printed packaging’s role in the e-commerce ‘unboxing’ phenomenon
    • New directions in flexible pouch packaging and printing
    • Latest design trends for printed packaging and what they mean for Australian/NZ FMCG brand owners and their packaging suppliers
    • Digital printing is on a roll… who’s leading the charge in packaging and what advantages are they delivering to brand owners?

    Headline sponsors are HP and Currie Group; gold sponsor is Matthews Australasia; and silver sponsors are Ecolean and EFI.

    Who should attend:

    • Packaging Converters / Printers
    • Brand Owners / Managers
    • Brand & Packaging Designers / Graphic Arts Professionals
    • Commercial Printers
    • Printing Technology Suppliers

    Find program details here.

    When: Friday 3rd August, 2018
    Time: 9am to 4pm
    Where: Monkey Baa Theatre, Darling Harbour, Sydney 
    Click here to view map

  • Trans-Tasman talent to appear at LIVE

    New Zealand label and packaging printer Fred Soar is the latest entry in a star-studded lineup of speakers at Print21 + PKN LIVE, where he will discuss how labels have boosted his business at Soar Printing.

    Fred Soar.

    One of Auckland’s oldest family businesses, Soar Printing has moved into digital labels with the purchase of a HP Indigo press. Soar, managing director, is looking forward to sharing his experience at LIVE. “I’ll be speaking about some of the work we’re doing on our HP Indigo 6800,” he said. “As a commercial printer we diversified into labels about five years ago, and now we’re getting some traction and selling more folding cartons as a result of that as well, which is interesting.”

    Soar encourages printers and converters to attend, as LIVE will provide valuable learning and networking opportunities. “These events are very valuable for printers. It’s always good to keep abreast of trends in the industry and to meet other people, form different markets so you’re not competitors, and share ideas openly,” he said.

    Print21 + PKN LIVE will be held at Monkey Baa Theatre, Darling Harbour, Sydney, on Friday August 3. Sessions will cover:

    • Digital disruption and what it means for print
    • Consumer engagement via packaging and POS
    • Packaging design trends   what brands and printers need to know 
    • Game-changing printing technology and the advantages for printers and FMCG brands
    • Automation, IoT, and AI… future directions for packaging and printing.

    Early bird tickets for the event close tonight, and are available at https://www.book-this.com/packaging-news-live-sydney-2018/event/ticket.

  • Digital labels are on a roll – Print21 Magazine

    Digital labels are booming as demand increases for shorter runs and variable data printing.

    With plenty of inkjet, dry toner and Indigo liquid toner presses going into label and print shops across Australia, it’s clear that digital labelling is undergoing a surge in popularity.

    In the latest issue of Print21 magazine, Jake Nelson delves into the growth of the digital sector and finds out why more and more converters are choosing to invest.

  • Outside the brown box – Print21 Magazine

    Posters printed on the EFI Nozomi C18000 digital corrugated packaging press.

    We’re used to corrugated boxes being utilitarian beasts: brown cardboard, printed on flexo in one or two colours. With digital print making inroads into the packaging sector, however, the days of boring boxes may be behind us.

    In the latest issue of Print21 magazine, Jake Nelson takes a deep dive into digital print for corrugated packaging and what the future might hold.

  • Impressive line-up for Print21 + PKN LIVE

    Leading industry figures from Orora, IVE Group, Australia Post, Currie Group, the PIAA and elsewhere have signed on as speakers and panelists for Australia’s first packaging and printing technology forum to be held in Sydney in August.

    The inaugural Print21 and PKN LIVE forum – New Frontiers in Packaging Print – will explore the latest developments in packaging print technology, 

    From FMCG to point-of-sale, to cartons for ecommerce, packaging and brands are fast being transformed into multichannel media and the forum will examine growing opportunities for printers in packaging in the digital age, and review the technology driving this change.

    Panelists and speakers will include: IVE Group executive chairman Geoff Selig; Orora Fibre group general manager Brian Lowe; PIAA CEO Andrew Macaulay; Marty Stone – Australia Post’s head of category – simplifying business, small business; Currie Group director, labels and packaging, Mark Daws; Matthews Intelligent Identification CEO Mark Dingley; Gwen Blake, managing director of packaging design company Boxer & Co; Amber Bonney, creative director of The Edison Agency; Ian Douglas, solutions architect and director of Spawnit; tech intrapreneur Bill Atta; and Birdstone Collective director Ian Blair.

    Sessions will cover:

    • Digital disruption and what it means for print
    • Consumer engagement via packaging and POS
    • Packaging design trends – what brands and printers need to know 
    • Game-changing printing technology and the advantages for printers and FMCG brands 
    • Automation, IoT, and AI… future directions for packaging and printing.

    Major sponsors include HP, Currie Group and Matthews.

    Find program details here.

    Early bird tickets are available here.

    When: Friday 3rd August, 2018
    Time: 9am to 4pm
    Where: Monkey Baa Theatre, Darling Harbour, Sydney 
    Click here to view map

     

     

     

     

     

  • Changing workplace culture at IVE – Print21 Magazine

    “It’s about having an open view and awareness around elements of inclusion”: Geoff Selig, executive chairman IVE Group.

    Changing the culture of a workplace is the most single important social difference a corporate executive can make. Transforming industrial relations from a 19th century ‘us and them’ paradigm into an inclusive, supportive, vocational environment not only betters the lives of workers and society’s equilibrium, it’s also likely to improve a company’s bottom line.

    Geoff Selig, executive chairman of IVE Group, one of the largest commercial printing operations in the region, is driving the company’s initiative to improve the working lives of IVE employees.

    In the latest issue of Print21 magazine, Selig shares with Print21’s Patrick Howard how the company’s program for an inclusive workplace environment covers areas such as health and wellbeing, lifestyle benefits and financial advice.

     

  • Workflow and inkjet star in latest ‘Xtraordinary’ Print21 magazine

    The latest issue of Print21 magazine is out now, featuring Fujifilm’s Onset X-series of flatbed inkjet presses, a deep dive into workflow, a profile of IVE boss Geoff Selig, and more.

    Print21 has hit the ground running at Yaffa Media with an issue packed full of news and features you can’t afford to miss. On the cover, Fujifilm’s powerhouse Onset X3 inkjet press wowed audiences at an open house for its customer Active Display Group with its lightning speed and stunning resolution. “We found print speed at high quality will ultimately enable us to become even more competitive in a challenging market,” said Stuart Gittus, general manager of operations at ADG.

    In a nine-page workflow special, Patrick Howard examines the new PDF 2.0 and XJDF standards, and asks what they mean for printers; the feature also looks at offerings from PrintIQ, Kodak, Ricoh, Esko, EFI, and Tharstern to help automate and streamline your workflow and prepress procedures.

    Carrying on the connectivity theme, Andy McCourt plugs in to how the industry is connecting to the world, socially, culturally and economically. “We are in effect primitives in a new culture,” he writes, and urges printers to seize the opportunities modernity has to offer.

    For this issue’s People in Print profile, Geoff Selig, executive chairman of IVE Group, one of Australia’s largest printers, shares his outline for improving the working lives of IVE employees. “It’s about having an open view and awareness around elements of inclusion,” he said.

    German press giant Heidelberg is taking the hard work out of operators’ hands, gradually moving towards a “push-to-stop” system where manual intervention only happens when it’s absolutely needed, as MD Richard Timson told Patrick Howard. “Most of our presses are completely under-utilised because there’s too much fog in between the processes. You don’t need to run a press seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. If you streamline some of these processes in this way you might be able to run a single shift and make as much money,” said Timson.

    In the packaging world, digital printing is making its mark on labels with a surge in press purchases across inkjet, toner and Indigo. That’s not the only area digital is reshaping, though – the humble corrugated box is receiving a makeover thanks to massive inkjet presses from companies such as EFI and HP. Jake Nelson delves into how the digital world is impacting both sectors, one job at a time.

    All that plus installations, profiles, and important news from the coalface makes this issue of Print21 magazine your vital long-weekend read. Check it out today!

    To subscribe to our print edition, go here or email editor@print21.com.au.

  • Print21 leads worldwide release of Kodak Gold Dry Ink

    The first issue of Print21 magazine for 2013, which hit letterboxes in late February, is leading the global print pack in the latest print technology stakes, with its cover featuring Kodak’s as-yet-unreleased Gold Dry Ink.

    As the first magazine in Australia – and one of the first in the world – to feature the brand new gold ink on its front and back cover, this issue of Print21 is spearheading the global up-take of the new Kodak NexPress ink range.

    With the ink’s global release date set for June 2013, the covers of this issue of Print21 had to be flown to Kodak’s headquarters in Rochester, New York, to be printed with the new gold standard in the company’s NexPress range – a challenge that was more than made up for in the impressively eye-catching final result on the cover.

    “Our cover image was specially selected to highlight the creative possibilities of the gold ink,” says Patrick Howard, Print21’s publisher. “The pigments in the Gold Dry Ink produce a sparkle effect that is similar to that achieved with offset metallic inks. The Gold solution follows the pattern already set by Kodak with its dimensional printing effect, utilizing the Fifth Imaging Unit of the press to add decorative or tactile layers to the CMYK inks.”

    The Gold Dry Ink product is an important member of a growing family of special effect inks for the Kodak NexPress series of digital printers. Users can now get their hands on a dizzying array of different inks and special effect coatings, including Red Fluorescing – which illuminates under ultraviolet light, Gloss/Spot Gloss, Protective Coating/Watermark, Dimensional Printing – giving a raised or 3D effect, MICR security magnetic ink for items like cheques, and an additional red green and blue dry ink for an extended colour gamut.

    As for the gold ink, it was a development for the Fifth Imaging Unit that was a long time coming, with customers around the world eagerly anticipating the release of the new golden tone.

    “There is a lot of research and development that goes into it, and exhaustive testing,” says Darren Yeates, business manager for Digital Print Solutions for Kodak Australia. “We showed the ink at drupa 2012 and it’s taken this long to get it into market. Kodak took a lot of their market research from the show, where the gold ink was first really showcased. It’s a bit early to say where it will be used most, but obviously it will be popular for items like book covers.

    “Part of the reason why the gold ink is coming to market first is that Kodak determined that was the most popular colour with the customer base. Second would be the Pearlescent ink, with which you can use a CMYK build and add the ink to the top, followed by the neon pink, the highlighter,” he says.

    Given the ever-increasing range of special inks and effects for the Fifth Imaging Unit, NexPress users out there have the growing capacity to include special features in their work that may have previously required the use of additional equipment – an ability that will enable plenty of printers to stand out from the crowd, according to Yeates.

    For generations, gold-trimmed Venetian masks, like the one featured on the front cover of this issue, were designed to provide their wearers with anonymity among the crowds of Venice. Even today, during the canal city’s annual Carnivale celebrations, the masks still retain some of their past purpose.

    In contrast to the gold trimming featured on this cover’s Venetian mask, however, Kodak’s new gold ink is designed to make printers and their customers stand out from the crowd, to be easily recognised among the others in the sector.

    Of course, when printers get their hands on the new gold ink, they really are going to be able to literally shine – or at least their work will. According to Kodak, the gold ink, with its sparkle effect, is ideal for specialty jobs like book covers, dust jackets, direct mail, marketing collateral, certificates, tickets and short run magazine covers. It can also take on a variety of additional tones and hues through the application of process colours on the media beneath it, just like adding different metals to real gold to attain a whole spectrum of colours.

    Like the alchemists of yesteryear, forever searching for the philosopher’s stone in their quest to turn lead into gold, Kodak has taken the NexPress and used it as a catalyst to create a golden touch out of ink and paper. For Robert Mollee, Kodak Ausralia’s sales and strategic product group director, this ability – driven by the Fifth Imaging Unit’s capabilities – gives the machine the golden lure of possibility for printers wanting to provide a unique offering to their customers.

    “We like to think that the NexPress is a shining light against the competition,” says Mollee. Now, with the new Gold dry ink set to hit the market in June, Kodak is turning up the power on the NexPress spotlight.

    Given that gold’s elemental symbol on the periodic table is Au – from the Latin word ‘aurum,’ meaning ‘glowing dawn’ according to some translations, Kodak looks set to illuminate the NexPress with its new golden addition, and offer printers a ‘glowing dawn’ of new possibility.

  • From the paper front – Print21 Magazine feature

    Print and paper manufacturers have invested a lot of time and money in developing a range of eco-labels designed to promote more sustainable practices within the industry. But are they worth it and are the print buyers getting the message? Not really, if the Paper Wars forum for printer buyers held in Sydney during May is anything to go by. Print21’s Simon Enticknap went along to find out why the current system of eco-labels isn’t working and what can be done to convince customers about the greening of the industry.

    The title of the event held in Melbourne and Sydney in May was revealing about current attitudes to that most basic component of the printing industry: ‘Paper Wars: Why is green procurement 101 still such a battlefield?’ Excuse me, but are hostilities still on-going here? I thought peace had broken out amid a plethora of certifications, recycling schemes and green logos. Surely everybody understands the issues now; what could there be left to fight about?

    Mind you, if it wasn’t for the mention of ‘green’ in the title and the fact that the event was organised by an off-shoot of the Total Environment Centre, anybody with even the barest understanding of the paper market might be tempted to ask, ‘Which war?’. Is it the geo-political trade war that sees countries and trading blocs wrangling to secure future access to markets and raw materials? Or is it the continuing struggle between paper merchants in pursuit of fewer and fewer customers in an ever-dwindling market? Or perhaps it’s the current brawl that keeps on spilling out into the open between shareholders of one particular paper company? If you’re looking for a paper fight, take your pick.

    Such conflicts point to the fact that paper, ostensibly such a simple, everyday consumable, is in fact a highly-contested, complex product – and there’s a lot at stake in its manufacture and use.Paper warriors: (l-r) Stephen Reardon, research manager from ECO-Buy, Luke Chamberlain, Victorian campaign manager from The Wilderness Society, Amanda Keogh, head of sustainability at Fuji Xerox Australia, and Gordon Renouf, chairman of Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA).

    The green fog

    The opening salvos at the breakfast event in Sydney were not very promising. One was a video about factory farming (!) while the other was a video which rehashed the usual mish-mash of misleading statements seeking to blame paper for the destruction of 80 per cent of the world’s ‘ancient’ forests. Please. It’s said that the first casualty of any war is truth but, really, there’s no need to insult our intelligence.

    Once the propaganda was out of the way, however, and the speakers and panellists began to present their views of the battlefield, what followed was an interesting and instructive look at the topic of printing papers.

    So how goes the war? If there is one word that might usefully sum up the current campaign map it would be ‘confusion’. Military strategists talk about the ‘fog of war’ and certainly that seems to be where most of the troops are at the moment; lost, wandering around blindly in a cloud of claim and competing claim.

    In part, this is due to the proliferation of certification schemes and green labels – this applies not just to paper but other products too – some of which are industry-sponsored, others of which are backed by environmental NGOs and a few that are little more than brand logos.

    In his opening address, Murray Hogarth, CEO of Green Capital, the organisers of the event, made the point that part of the confusion surrounding green labels is due to the fact that they are being made to represent complex processes. There’s a lot that goes into making a product such as paper and it is difficult for a single label to encompass the entire product life cycle in any meaningful way.

    “The perception of confusion is the reality, and that’s a big problem,” said Hogarth. “Many dream of a silver bullet, cover-all green ‘tick’ – and that’s a fantasy.

    “Much of the confusion is driven by real complexity. Just about everything is complex – footprint accounting, life cycle assessments, environmental management systems, labelling certifications, not to mention actually achieving sustainability itself.”

    No doubt too, there are businesses prepared to exploit this confusion for their own advantage, which invariably leads to accusations of greenwashing. Equally though there are eco labels that do work. The Energy Star rating was cited as one example of a labelling scheme that works well because it is clear, easily understood and backed by real data with a dollar value that enables consumers to make informed decisions. Paper, however, is a long way from achieving that goal.

    Hogarth outlined some of the work that Green Capital has been doing to develop local Buying Better programs. Rather than be all things to all people, the scheme looks at specific products – paper is one, others include meat and dairy, cleaning products and small electronics – and then focuses on just a couple of aspects of the product life cycle. For small electronics, for example, product design is important but not particularly relevant for Australia given that most of the gadgets are made overseas. End-of-life is a different matter, however, and one that can be tackled locally if we are to address the growing mountain of e-waste we hear so much about.

    For paper, the key areas are the raw material ie waste paper or wood, and the manufacturing process, how the paper is made and its environmental footprint. Again this makes sense as it concentrates on those areas which can make a real difference and where consumers are able to make informed decisions. Hogarth says Green Capital has consulted with stakeholders in the industry to develop its Buying Better programs and plans to issue “firm guidance” on printing paper that may include a template of buying decisions against which brands can be assessed.

    For some end-users, for instance, the main requirement might be carbon neutrality, particularly if they have strict carbon emission reduction targets. However, while Hogarth agrees this can be important, he doesn’t regard it as the first order consideration from an environmental perspective. More significant is the pulp source.

    “If you accept our contention that the source of the pulp is the most material issue, the first order decision is where the pulp has come from,” he said. “If, for example, you want to eliminate sourcing from any native forest, you can do that by buying 100 per cent recycled.”

    Growing the demand for recycled paper from its current level of around 20 per cent of printer paper sales in Australia represents “a greener market opportunity worthy of attention,” said Hogarth. It is also one which is being pursued by the Federal government which has signalled its intention to move to 100 per cent post-consumer recycled content in its copy paper by 2015 as part of its ICT sustainability plan.

    Hogarth also pointed to the proliferation of industry-backed websites as adding “a new level of complication” to the debate (singling out the Two Sides website as an example from the paper industry). It remains to be seen, he said, whether these resources which profess to address environmental issues are a positive development – a sign that the industry is really engaging with the problem – or more greenwashing. Either way, it reinforces the perception that this is a battle “being fought in cyberspace as well as on the ground”.

    “We can imagine a future iteration of Buying Better focused on these websites and social media campaigns in their own right,” he warned.

    No easy choices

    The panel session that followed returned to the issue of labels and certificates, or what one of the panellists, Gordon Renouf from Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA), described as “the arms race of green claims”. There was general agreement that more simplicity and clarity was desirable in labelling but that there is no easy way to achieve that.

    “Labels are useful in a range of areas and the job is to understand which labels are credible and which are not, which ones do the job for the environment and which ones do some other kind of job, and to keep the pressure on labels to be as robust and trustworthy as we can,” said Renouf.

    Luke Chamberlain from The Wilderness Society reiterated the need to “look beyond the label” and recognise that while the simplicity of a green label might be appealing, it is not the answer in itself.

    “The decisions that you make in your day-to-day life are not simple decisions and although labels can help guide us, the devil is always in the detail,” he said. Labelling needs to be backed up by education, the role played by NGOs and a greater role for government policy that “removes the politics”, he added.

    Amanda Keogh, head of sustainability at Fuji Xerox and the only panellist with a direct involvement in the printing industry, said suppliers had a role to play as well and, as far as Fuji Xerox is concerned, it shares what it knows about paper and sustainability so that customers can make informed choices. In reply to a question from the floor, Keogh outlined how social media and technology such as QR codes, for instance, has the potential to provide more background information on product labels.

    “It’s going to give consumers a lot of transparency into what that label means and the information behind it,” she said.

    On the other hand, Stephen Reardon from ECO-Buy said consumers needed to do their own research and not passively accept what they are told by suppliers, although this is not always possible. “The criteria and process for determining whether something is green should be available, the criteria for the logo should be transparent and easily accessed,” he said

    The overall message then was for buyers to be aware and not accept the messages they are being given by suppliers at face value.

    Perverse incentives

    There was some sympathy for suppliers too. Gordon Renouf said there was a need for purchasers to co-operate with each other and to raise the level discussion about buying systems to deliver what they want rather than simply shifting the burden onto the suppliers to document their sustainability. Stephen Reardon said he’d like to see more resources being made available to help suppliers reduce their impact and to come up with products that are truly green while also lifting the level of debate with buyers in terms of their understanding, “so it’s not just suppliers sticking a label on something and buyers only looking for that label”.

    So if labelling is not the complete answer, what about direct regulation? Again, there are examples of targeted banning of products, eg the phasing out of incandescent light bulbs, that achieve environmental benefits more decisively than any amount of labelling and education. Could the same be applied to paper?

    Gordon Renouf commented that while there will always be cases of regulation to control the purchase of products that are no longer appropriate, that’s not going to apply to the majority of products. On the other hand, there is a role that governments can play in regulating what counts as an acceptable eco-label, something that could perhaps be performed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) as part of its examination of misleading ‘green’ claims. In addition, Luke Chamberlain suggested that the powers of the ACCC to investigate greenwashing need to have “more bite”.

    “I can tell you there are labels out there today… that the claim they make on the package is absolutely untrue, but there is very little recourse for investigation,” he said.

    Sometimes, too, it’s not the regulation itself that can have an effect but simply the threat of it. For instance, the creation of a scheme in the 1990s for the kerbside collection and recycling of newspapers through the Publishers National Environment Bureau was partly in response to the perception that if publishers and paper manufacturers didn’t do something to promote recycling then they might be forced to do so by the government.

    The issue of ‘green tape’ is a hot topic at the moment, particularly given the competing claims of miners and environmentalists in parts of the country. Increased regulation is seen as ‘stifling’ investment and innovation, an example of the heavy hand of government. The key point in this debate, argued Chamberlain, is that not enough attention is paid to the underlying biases of the system, the existing regulations that, for instance, make it cheaper to log native forests than plantation forests.

    “Australia is resource-rich, and I’m not just talking about mines, I’m talking about the brains in the room here, the entrepreneurial spirit of this country, the relative wealth of this country, and yet we have perverse incentives out there that keep us attached to the past rather than the future.”

    Choose your certificate

    Inevitably, the question arose as to which paper certification is best from an environmental perspective – Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)?

    Luke Chamberlain pointed out that the PEFC certification is based on the Australian Forestry Standard which was originally designed for the logging industry. “In our mind, the Australian Forestry Standard is a process-based system whereas FSC is a performance-based system where there is a lot more scope for stakeholder consultation in the process,” he commented.

    Amanda Keogh agreed but said that the problem with FSC is that there is no national standard for Australia, only an interim standard, whereas the AFS/PEFC certification is an Australian standard. FSC is probably more highly regarded as a brand and that ultimately comes back to the issue of who is driving the development of the standard – the forestry industry or an NGO? Fuji Xerox supplies both FSC and PEFC products but, in terms of office paper, is moving towards only offering FSC-certified brands with a minority of specialty papers that are non-FSC.

    Even so, the enthusiasm for FSC certification was hardly overwhelming. Indeed, the point was made that there is no such thing as a ‘pure’ paper, ie one that ticks all the right boxes in terms of recyclability, sustainability and carbon neutrality. Certainly not a local one anyway or one that is readily available.

    “There are Australian-made recycled papers out there,” said Chamberlain, “but they are made by a company that is sourcing from the most carbon-dense forests on the face of the planet.

    “Unfortunately we have only one manufacturer of Australian-made papers. There’s no competition in this marketplace and for that organisation to say ‘Because we’re Australian-made, buy our paper’ is simply not good enough to us.”

    The main message given to this roomful of print buyers and procurement managers, eager to learn what is the right thing to do regarding paper and the environment, is that there are certainly options available – whether it’s looking at recycled, FSC, locally-sourced or carbon-neutral paper – but not one that will satisfy everybody.

    ‘If you know both yourself and your enemies, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss’ is a well-known saying from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. This event was a good opportunity for the industry to find out first-hand what green advocates think about paper and current environmental labelling, and what they are telling your potential customers. The few printers who were there no doubt benefited from gaining this knowledge.

    The event also came at the same time as a survey of printers in Europe conducted by EcoPrint revealed that about half were certified to some sort of environmental standard (most likely ISO14001 or FSC/PEFC). More revealingly though, of the other half, 40.5 per cent regarded certification as too costly and time consuming, 31 per cent didn’t see it as necessary as their customers did not require it, and a further 27 per cent saw no need at all.

    All of which suggests that the war is likely to drag on for some time yet. Stand by for more skirmishes.