Institute for Sustainable Communication’s Don Carli on Sustainable Printing
EB: What kinds of programs has the ISC created?
DC: We developed a program called the Responsible Enterprise Print program. It proved that there was an appetite for business practices related to printing that would value saving money while, at the same time, reducing environmental impacts and improving performance against key measures like customer satisfaction, employee motivation and investor relations.
[The other is] a mentoring and fellowship program in which we will be recruiting graduates from advanced degree programs in business, environmental studies and graphic communications. Those graduates will be given training … and then deployed within a Fortune 500 company that’s already said that sustainability is among their priorities. Those teams will be expected to do what we call a triple-bottom-line assessment.
EB: What do you say when you meet with such companies?
DC: Consider that if you don’t change the way you do business, [Americans] will be as dependent on imported paper and imported printing in 10 years as we are today on imported oil and imported automobiles. If you don’t think that that’s a problem to avoid, try to do business for three days—or even one day—without printing, without paper.
The primary problem is that print is an ubiquitous activity in every sphere of business and government, but if you look [closely], everyone and no one in particular is in charge of it. There are very few people within major corporations or within companies in the printing and graphic communications industry who have the knowledge, skills and experience to implement sustainable business practices. [We hope] to work with educational institutions, business and government to help train, educate, inform and bring together those human resources with the competencies to help transform the industry.
EB: Such as with direct mail programs?
DC: Absolutely. Look at the number of envelopes used every year, like BREs. How can we use less energy and material and accomplish the same result by changing the way we think about a BRE? A designer and inventor in Minneapolis developed a product called ecoenvelopes, such a simple idea but one that began with people helping people save money.