(With Earth Day just around the corner, it seems worthwhile to take another look at this post by popular industry consultant, Howie Fenton.)

Will the withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord change companies’ commitment to “going green” or reduce their sustainability efforts? Unlikely! Most companies including printing companies have been committed to acting more environmentally conscious for decades and have made tremendous investments, which they are not walking away from.

Environmental issues and concerns are not new to the printing industry. Concerns over the impact of chemicals and the by-products produced in the printing process were quite evident in the industry long before concerns over global warming and greenhouse gases came to the forefront. Unfortunately, we have not seen any market research focusing on printing companies’ commitment to sustainability, but all the studies of companies are consistent.

A recent survey conducted by Lucid and Urjanet of sustainability professionals, facilities managers, and building operators, reported:

  • 71% continue to be committed to sustainability, reducing energy use, and improving overall performance
  • 73% of surveyed organizations expect their commitment to sustainability to remain the same in 2017, and 21% plan to increase their commitment.

In the 2017 Green Economy survey, over 400 large companies from a cross-section of industries answered the question, “What impact will the changes in the U.S. presidency and Congress have on your company’s sustainability strategy?”

  • 60% reported “No impact, full speed ahead”
  • 34% said “It will slow us down but not stop us”

Why Sustain Sustainability?

One reason is that many companies have made significant investments over a long period of time. As a result, there is a culture in which these efforts are a differentiator, part of their value proposition, and provides a competitive advantage. The momentum to be more eco-friendly has been building up slowly, but strong. It is like a metaphor from Collins’ book, “Good to Great”, which talks about the momentum created by a large flywheel. It takes a lot of energy to begin, but once started requires much less power and attention to maintain, or for this subject – sustain.

An article written by 3BL Media entitled, Both Investors and Corporate Executives are Seeing That Sustainability Benefits the Bottom Line  reports research that describes a link between sustainability commitments and financial success. “Reports by MIT Sloan Management Review, Boston Consulting Group, and McKinsey & Company, are revealing a trend of both investors and corporate executives realizing that there is a direct link between successful corporate sustainability practices and improved long-term corporate financial performance.” The article quotes an MIT Sloan Management study that reports that 90% of investors are likely to measure a company’s sustainability performance before making any investment decisions.

Howie Fenton is an independent consultant and trusted advisor to commercial and in-plant printers. He recommends equipment, best practices and workflow automation tools to streamline operations. To learn more e-mail Howie@howiefentonconsulting.com