Today’s companies have a great deal of incentive for doing business in an environmentally friendly way. Going green is no longer just a moral responsibility, it is also a smart marketing move, as an increasing amount of customers are now primarily looking for eco-friendly products.
Marketing is one area of your business where it’s easy to have a green footprint, since most professional printing companies now offer eco-friendly stocks and ways to reduce waste.
Going green with online printing
If you’re accustomed to printing your marketing collateral materials the old-fashioned way, you should know that you can make a big difference by switching to online printing. In fact, web-to-print is an effective solution for organizations of all sizes, from those staffed with a handful of people to large companies with thousands of employees. It’s particularly useful for businesses with multiple locations. Three main reasons to embrace online printing include:
- Improved inventory management translating to reduced waste.
- Lowered operating costs with higher efficiency.
- Protecting the integrity of your brand.
Traditional printing methods can put a strain on the natural environment, with constantly running industrial machinery using up a lot of energy and inks and dyes potentially being released into lakes and streams. A web-to-print solution helps manage inventory more efficiently while streamlining and centralizing the order process. By printing only what you need when you need it, the impact on the environment is minimized.
The average employee uses 1,000 sheets of paper a year, but printing on demand reduces usage and operating costs. Compared to holding large amounts of inventory in reserve, this practice saves money and keeps you from having to throw away expensive outdated printed materials. It also has the added benefit of sparing countless trees.
You work hard establishing your corporate brand, and that’s an asset you need to protect. By centralizing your printing, you have more control over the process. That means that when you’re printing business cards, posters or promotional items, your standards will remain consistent, whether you’re printing them in Halifax or Vancouver!
Consumers are increasingly aware of their environment and how industry affects it. Making sure your business is environmentally friendly can increase existing customers’ trust in you and help you win over new customers. With that in mind, using certified stock not only reduces your carbon footprint but can also affect your bottom line. The important certification programmes for printing companies are:
- The Forest Stewardship Council
- The Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification
- The Sustainable Forestry Initiative
The FSC, PEFC and SFI have stringent standards on managing a certified forest to ensure the ecosystem’s long-term well-being. More than 40 million hectares in Canada (PDF) have been certified according to FSC standards . The programmes play a large part in global forest conservation but they won’t adversely affect your budget. According to Brian Kim, TPH Manager on Thurlow Street in Vancouver, using FSC-certified stock paper helps businesses stay profitable. Look at J.Crew, for example.
Using authentic “green” stock is important in maintaining your credibility as an organization. Printing companies use a special Chain of Custody certification which lets clients trace the history of a paper product back to its origins. A 2010 report examining a large number of products claiming to be green found that more than 32 percent of them were mislabeled, so COC certification keeps the process transparent.
With today’s savvy consumers holding the corporate world accountable for its actions, anything less than total honesty won’t work anymore. Running a thriving company doesn’t have to contradict having a green footprint. Ensuring your business is good to the planet encourages others to do the same and may even increase your sales in the process!
What steps do you take to green up your marketing process?
Brittany Giles is the Social Media Specialist at The Printing House.