Sustainable Green Print Certifications
SGP certifications seems to be all the rage here at the moment.
There seems to be a great emphasis on the following:
Reducing energy useage
Reducing landfill waste
Waste chemisty picked up by licensed contractors.
I have a huge gripe with this SGP certification, from a chemical / ink useage standpoint.
I fail to see how a company can achieve a certification for sustainablility if and when they are useing:
Aromatic / Aliphatic petroleum distillates
Hydrocarbon based products
Toluene / Benzene based produts
mineral based inks
Products that contain up to 100% VOC...
etc etc (This is just a very small list of chemicals that firms are useing even though they carry the SGP certification)
It is true that GREENWASHING is a crime and if a firm is found guilty of such an offence they can be prosocuted.
So I say to you this; Are there not certain parts of the SGP certs that look like, smell like and are Greenwashing in its purest form?
This SGP is also about full disclosure, so then when companies are touting there cert levels in their advertising, I'm near positive not one of them would list the type of chemicals they are using if they were to contain any of the above...
I would like some input from firms that have delt with this SGP or even better members that are SGP trainers / implementers..
Lukew you have said it perfectly.
I was on the committee that was the prelude to SGP. I brought up all of the issues that you have mentioned. I was removed from the committee because of my views. Officially I was removed because I wasn't a PIA member. They tried to remove some others from the committee using the not a PIA member excuse. It didn't work because they were members.
The politics of these practices run very deep. Organisation funding relies on being politically correct with their sponsors views.
At a South Coast Air Quality Management District meeting a PIA offical said that they must keep a fence around this so it doesn't spread.
Maybe it 's time for more action.
Lukew thank you for bringing this forward.
Lukew originally the SGP was going to have different levels of certification to allow for a much larger cross section of the industry to join. It was going to have 3 tiers or levels of green.
You cannot collect a significant amount of dues or fees if you limit the size of your audience. Eventually this was dropped and you have what there is today.
Last edited by Green Printer; 03-25-2011 at 06:16 AM.
I have emailed PIAA SGP, on numerous ocassions to get an answer regarding chemical useage and sustainablility. Still to this day they have not answered, and I'm begining to think it could be a very very touchy subject and hence I will not recieve a reply.
They currently still have 4 levels here,
Level 1* (Costs & Training Member cost $3,200**. Non member $6,400)
Based on the successful Green Stamp program set up in Western Australia and now modified by Printing Industries as an introductory and certifiable standard, Level 1 is the first stepping stone. It focuses on waste, storage and handling and recycling. It is ideal for the small company starting down the compliance path. SGP Level 1 covers record-keeping, compliance and cleaner production practices and waste management. It includes a simple environmental management system (EMS) that is your pathway to environmental sustainability.
Level 2 (Costs & Training Member cost $5,100**. Non member $10,200)
This level steps up the environmental performance of your business. It introduces additional levels of management and control including the tracking of waste streams and brings in a focus on your energy consumption and carbon footprint. SGP Level 2 provides key performance indicators for printing businesses covering waste, recycling, energy, water, incident management, storage and handling of printing chemicals, energy and air emissions.
Level 3 (Cost & Training Member cost $8,600**. Non member $17,200)
On completion of the SGP Level 3 audit, your company is prepared for ISO 14001 certification (if desired). SGP Level 3 provides you with all the necessary groundwork including documentation and Key Performance Indicators customised to your printing company's conditions. By having print-specific key performance indicators and guidelines, achieving your ISO14001 certification is simplified and your compliance costs are significantly reduced.
Level 4 ( not listed)
There will be a small number of companies wishing to go beyond ISO14001.Level 4 SGP makes this possible. Level 4 has a minimum ISO 14001 entry level (SGP Level 3). Level 4 guides printing businesses in Best Practice processes/procedures. It also requires a demonstration of continuous improvement in those companies. Please contact Printing Industries if you would like to join our pilot program for this level
Level 3 & 4 do suggest for you to reduce chemical useage, but still do not set gudelines on the type of chemicals that can be used
The business I'm working at, is aiming for level 2 at the moment and is due to be ordited soon. Management has kept me away from the Implementor/ Trainer as they know my thoughts and the questions / statements I have.
Greenprinter: I have printed out your WHEN DOES IT PAY OFF and handed it to management, I'm still not sure if the light when on in their head and they understood it..
Chemical & Ink useage plays a very big part into sustainability, There are important questions that need to be answered here and it is time PIA steps up to the plate and offers some no spin answers.
It would be facinating to see a cradle to grave study done on products that contain
Aromatic /Aliphatic hydrocarbon petrolleum distillate products
mineral based inks
nasty products such as toluene, benzene, isopropanol etc.....
PIAA - SGP are charging massive fee's for companies to achieve a certification for sustainable operations, but they are refusing to get to the heart of what will continue to hinder this industry from ever being sustainable without GREENWASHING....
All to often you here through suppliers / fellow printers, that it can't be done; My answer to this is yes it can and has been for the last 20+ years though companies that are striving to be sustainable without the greenwashing.
There were 11 eligible SGP applicants on the steering committee that set up SGP less than 50% have joined or registered to join and I do believe only 2 are certified. That tell's me that the others seen through the smokescreen. Could some of the steering committee confirm this.
All of the present certifications and procedures do not address any consumables used in your process. They only deal with a paper work trail. In the US if you meet national and local environmental regulations you may request to be certified which would be good in your locale only. The problem is getting certified in one state or county or municipality does not mean that your certification would pass the local regulations in a different venue. You could have national or international certifications according to your certifying body but not meet local regulations in other areas.
South Coast Air Quality Management District has strict rules on VOC's and a large number of toxins. If I would be certified in a different part of the country that does not have the same local regulations as South Coast I would still be certified but not meet any of the regs in South Coast. In some countries there are virtually no regulations on chemical usage yet you can still be certified because you have a paper trail and meet local rules.
What should be done to emcompass all, is find the strictest regulations in the world and have all certifyings bodies and certificate holders meet or exceed the regulations. In this way all certifications use the same playingfield and starting guidelines. Then your certification can be no worse than the stictest rules and regulations.
Last edited by Green Printer; 03-27-2011 at 01:15 PM.
Reason: mispellings and additions
Couldn't agree more,
Originally Posted by Green Printer
If they want to get to the real issues, this is the way it should be done, though as you state they're to affraid to cover any of the chemical/ink usage side of things as they are more concerned about making the most $$$ out of members etc...
Come on fellow printers, please voice your opinions on this very important subject
I ask you then do you concider the below senario as GREENWASHING ?
A prospective client gets quotes and narrows it down to two print firms.
Print firm A:
Advertises that they are SGP certified for a sustainable operation
Price is dearer then firm B
Turn around time right
Print firm B:
Price is right
Turn around time is right
(Are not SGP certified, but as any normal print shop does, they recycle / minimize land fill / waste chemical pickup / reduce energy useage. They do not advertise this as its apart of every day life )
Prospective client chooses to use Print firm A as they're lead to beleive it is a sustainable print operation. They later find out that although the company is SGP certified, they still use what ever chemicals they want as SGP doesn't have any set rules governing it.
By law this could very easily be concidered as greenwasging from firm A
(Greenwashing = Implying or making an environmental statment regarding a product or service, that is false or has no merit behind it)
Lukew don't count on ever getting any other response to this post.
Same thoughts as I always held on FSC. "Buy" your label and then who cares what you really do inside the plant. Certifications have always been about the $$$. Many consumers who want to be friendly to the environment do not research past that label (nor should they really need to investigate our honesty...).
I'll leave it at that. No need to get the blood pressure up this early and ruin my fair trade coffee
What Lukew has done is quite possibly presented the perfect catch 22.
He has brought forth up an extremely very major concern and the voices of the industry seem to bury their heads in disbelieve.