Building your sustainability baseline

By Pat McGrew / Published:

Sustainability is a word that contains multitudes of ideas. For some, it means buying sustainably grown paper, but for others, the focus is on buying local and reducing their carbon footprint. In practice, sustainability is all that and more. It is:

  • Buying raw materials developed using approved, certified sustainable practices.
  • Building strategies to reduce water and power in product production
  • Finding appropriate means to dispose of chemicals, solvents, and contaminated wastewater.
  • Developing recycling strategies for substrates waste.
  • Considering recyclability in the development of products.

None of these is specific to the print industry, but each is an area we talk about due to the growing number of global and regional initiatives designed to address the growing challenges of waste, power consumption, and water. Each alone can add pressure to a print business, but in combination, they have a huge impact on business viability.

At trade shows and user group meetings, printers ask about paths to more sustainability. The UN Global Compact 2022 CEO Study provides the number. It says that 63% of CEOs are launching products or services that support sustainability, 55% are working to collect better data on sustainability in their value chains, and 49% are investing in renewable resources. It is a louder talk track than we have seen before, even as many printers think they are too small to tell a sustainability story. Others are missing the tools to tell the story.

The good news is that the team at the UN Global Compact believes that most printers have a sustainability story to tell, but they are using language that doesn’t include them in the global conversation. They believe that printers who adopt the Sustainability Development Goals and the language supporting them can join the global discussion. That common language can be used to position print options with print buyers from all business segments and alert vendors that it is part of your business strategy to support sustainability goals. Come back next time as we explore how to adopt the words that get you into the global conversation. The good news is that inkjet printing can be a very sustainable foundation.

About the Author

Pat McGrew


Pat is a well-known evangelist for inkjet productivity. At McGrew Group, she uses her decades technical and marketing experience to lead the industry toward optimized business processes and production workflows. She has helped companies to define their five-year plans, audited workflow processes, and developed sales team interventions and education programs. Pat is the Co-Author of 8 industry books, editor of A Guide to the Electronic Document Body of Knowledge, and a regular contributor to Inkjet Insight and

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