The Sustainable Green Printing (SGP) Partnership is an independent organization that recognizes and acknowledges printers who are committed to sustainable printing through a formal registry program. There are seven main components to becoming an SGP certified printer:
- EHS Regulatory Compliance
- Sustainability Management System
- Mandatory Best Practices
- Social Aspects
- Metrics System
- Annual Continuous Improvement Project
- Annual Progress Report
SGP Partnership Criteria
EHS REGULATORY COMPLIANCE
Complying with all applicable federal, state, and local environmental, health, and safety regulations is a core component of the SGP Program. In fact, the SGP Program requires a full EHS audit at least once every two years. Printers have the option of contracting with a third party to conduct an EHS audit or performing the audit themselves. Printing Industries of America provides this service, but also has developed OSHA and U.S. EPA compliance checklists to assist printers who want to perform their own EHS audit.
SUSTAINABILITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
The SGP Sustainability Management System (SMS) is the heart of SGP certification. This system is the nuts and bolts of the printer's commitment to green and sustainable printing. The SMS has three main components:
- Sustainability Committee: The sustainability committee must be representative of the facility's departments, meet at least twice a year, and develop and circulate agendas, minutes, etc.
- Sustainability Policy: The sustainability policy is a company's public commitment to sustainable and green printing. Printers are required to commit to EHS compliance, continuous improvement, pollution prevention, and sharing information on sustainability performance with external stakeholders. Refer to Printing Industries' article, "How to Prepare a Sustainability Policy" for information on writing a sustainability policy and templates you can use to create your own policy.
- Written Sustainability Procedures: The SMS must contain written procedures that describe the who, what, when, where, and why of your company's sustainability operations, goals, etc. The SMS is an internal document that will be used by your employees to meet goals and commitments contained in the company's sustainability policy.
MANDATORY BEST PRACTICES
The SGP Program requires implementation of certain mandatory best practices. The practices are broken down by product, process, and envelope as follows:
- Product includes the design aspects and input material management to create the product. Best practices include customer discussion on material use and responsible material sourcing.
- Process includes all manufacturing steps involved in converting raw materials into a finished product. It includes any by-products produced. Best practices include inventory management, waste reduction, and pollution prevention.
- Envelope includes all the manufacturing support activities and the building, grounds, utilities, employees, and other functions at the site. Best practices include purchase of Energy-Star equipment and an office recycling program.
The SGP Partnership recognizes sustainability encompasses more than the stewardship of our air, water, and earth; it includes the stewardship of our human race as well. To this end, the SGP Partnership requires printers to comply with all local, state, and federal employment laws and to provide an equal opportunity workplace which, if necessary, accommodates workers that have adopted English as their non-native or second language.
An important step to tracking a company's sustainability progress and goals is the use of metrics. Metrics normalize a company's raw data such as kilowatt-hours (kw-hrs) or water purchased by a company's operations in terms of total impressions, volume of substrate purchased, or other function appropriate for the facility. The SGP Partnership requires the use of a specific metrics form, available to printers who have submitted their SGP application.
ehs [at] printing.org (subject: SGP%20Certification) (Contact the PIA Environmental, Health, and Safety team to learn how they can help you become a SGP certified printer.)