Institute for Sustainable Communication’s Don Carli on Sustainable Printing
Increasing numbers of investors, regulators and customers want the so-called triple bottom line (environmental, social and financial) that factors in corporate responsibility, natural resource conservation and climate change.
“Call it the New Green,” says Don Carli, senior research fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Communication (ISC), a nonprofit group that promotes environmentally responsible practices for the printing, publishing and packaging industries. Here’s a small part of my recent eye-opening chat with Carli, a former strategic planner within these industries.
EB: What got you interested in the topic of sustainable printing?
DC: It grew out of a consulting engagement I had about 10 years ago with the CEO of GretagMacbeth, the company known for its color measurement instruments. He told me about a new kind of investment fund called the sustainable investment fund. What he was talking about was engaging in business practices that were environmentally and socially preferable to prevailing business processes, and that had a correlative economic impact that is positive. So you’re telling me it improves the share price performance of the company, or it improves in some way the value to shareholders. To me, that’s the Holy Grail.
EB: Then how did the ISC get started?
DC: It was founded based on research that I had conducted several years prior. I led a study on attitudes, opinions and predispositions related to sustainability and corporate responsibility in the graphic arts. It didn’t get a lot of support from the industry, but … I’m engaged by publishers and major corporations to forecast major market technology trends five years, 10 years out. So it’s part of an occupational hazard for me to be, at times, ahead of the curve. I was astounded to find out that when I Googled the term “sustainable printing,” I got zero hits. The institute was founded with a mission to raise awareness and build capacity for the sustainable use of print and other communications media. We saw there was going to be a rising level of awareness, but a corresponding capacity crunch—and the printing industry would find itself flat-footed in response, which is happening right now.