July 28, 2023 | Procurement Strategy
Enterprises today are under increasing pressure to reduce their negative environmental impact. Yet, many of them need to use a lot of printed materials, such as marketing materials.
Can they balance this need with their ESG goals?
One way that businesses can cut down their environmental impact from printing is to collaborate with procurement. Since procurement is responsible for sourcing the materials and services that enterprises need, it can play a key role in enlisting printing suppliers and partners committed to sustainable practices.
There are several benefits to collaboration between marketers and procurement for sustainable printing.
It can help in the first place to cut the demand for printed materials. By working together, marketers and procurement can determine ways to reduce the number of printed materials that are needed — for instance, by using digital marketing instead of printed collateral or ads or by using more efficient printing practices.
Collaboration can also help to improve the general sustainability of a business's printing practices. By working together, marketers and procurement can develop a sustainability strategy that incorporates all parts of the printing process.
This could involve using high-quality printers that use less energy or optimizing the printing process to minimize waste. This could involve using recycled paper, eco-friendly inks, or waterless printing technology. Eco-friendly inks are produced from materials other than petroleum-based volatile organic compounds. Alternative sources include vegetables and algae.
Marketers can use digital marketing instead of printed materials whenever possible. For example, they can create online brochures, e-newsletters, and social media posts instead of printed materials, like banners and posters. They can also reduce package sizes.
Procurement can use its expertise in identifying sustainable printing partners who use cutting-edge technology and equipment to reduce energy usage and risk of waste and who have a commitment to sustainability. For example, they can look for printers who use recycled paper, eco-friendly inks, and waterless printing technology, which reduces wastage.
It is important to measure and track progress to make sure that the sustainability strategy is effective. This can be done by tracking the following metrics:
Amount of paper used: This can be tracked by monitoring the number of sheets of paper used, the thickness of the paper used, or the price of the paper used.
Energy used: This can be tracked by keeping an eye on the amount of electricity used, the amount of natural gas used, or the total energy consumed.
Emissions produced: This can be tracked by monitoring the amount of greenhouse gases produced or the amount of particulate matter produced.
The metrics that are tracked will depend upon the goals of the sustainability strategy. For example, if the purpose is to cut the amount of paper used, then the "amount of paper used" would be the key metric to track.
The progress of the sustainability strategy should be measured on a regular basis, and the numbers should be reported to senior management. This will help to ensure that the strategy is on track and that any necessary tweaks can be made.
Collaboration between marketers and procurement is necessary for sustainable printing. By working together, these two functions can identify ways to reduce the demand for printed materials, ensure that future printing requirements are produced in the most efficient way possible, and improve the overall sustainability of a business's printing practices.
By following the strategies outlined above, businesses can slash their carbon footprint from printing and balance their printing needs with progress toward meeting ESG expectations.
To go deeper into the topic, download our white paper Sustainable Printing: How Marketing and Procurement Can Partner To Drive Green Printing Practices.