Regulation, rules and compliance requirements are increasingly tangling businesses up in red tape, despite the efforts of politicians. The latest option for the printing industry to consider is the EU Eco-label, which was launched in August 2012.
Thanks to the efforts of Intergraf, the European association of printing industry associations, the label’s requirements are not completely beyond the bounds of reason for the printing industry. We are working on a longer article to explain this new label, but in the meantime here is a short perspective on what the EU Eco-label means for printing professionals.
The EU Eco-label is a generic label awarded to products and services that can meet the requirements of ten criteria, specific to each product or services group. So far the criteria have only been set for newsprint, tissue, printed paper and graphic paper. According to the European Commission the label guarantees “Low air and water pollution during production, hazardous substances restricted, use of certified fibres from sustainably managed forest”. Intergraf has ensured that the evaluation criteria reflect the needs of the industry, working with the European Commission rather than not, since this labelling scheme would have come into being in any case.
Intergraf has also worked with the European Commission to make sure that the label can apply to a range of different print substrates and that it is indeed achievable. Even so the requirements are still pretty onerous. As one might expect, proving compliance is likely to be so cumbersome and expensive that only an elite group of printing companies will be able to achieve it. According to Intergraf, this is in line with the European Commission’s goal. They have intentionally created a means of achieving a very high environmental standard that only a limited number of organisations can meet.
This is laudable enough, but given the difficulty most printing companies have with getting their heads around matters environmental, could be counterproductive. What is really needed is an accessible and affordable means of getting people along the green path, and it isn’t clear that this Eco-label really achieves that. What does the EU Eco-label mean for the printing industry? Our industry has made huge strides and continues to evolve towards an even more sustainable future. A far better use of funds would be to provide support for environmental efforts already happening at grass roots within the sector.
Denna artikel kommer från Verdigris, ett forskningsinitiativ i den grafiska branschen som syftar till att informera om det tryckta mediets miljöpåverkan.