Tue, Aug

Taking EMAS to your heart

Little over a year ago this magazine ran an article entitled ‘EMAS. What’s that?’ Now the UK print industry is leading the way in its adoption. Here’s the lowdown.

Just over a year ago Image Reports ran a feature on the Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) and predicted a rise to prominence. Now the UK printing industry is leading the way with EMAS in the UK. By the end of 2013,approaching half of EMAS registered UK organisations will be in print. Hand-in-hand with this, EMAS is starting to appear on tender documents and in organisations print supplier requirements.

So here print buyer and environmental strategist David Shorto, who specialises in EMAS and has set up www.emasinprint.com to promote it within the printing community, outlines what you need to know about the scheme.

For a start, EMAS should not be thought of purely as another environmental badge. In conjunction with an EMS (Environmental Management System) that conforms to ISO 14001 standards, EMAS forms a robust mechanism for managing environmental impact, analysing performance and reducing costs, and the best mechanism for associated marketing and sales.

EMAS is highly appropriate for the printing industry: playing a leading role in the rise of EMAS in the UK its good for its environmental image. It is a fact that the environmental image of print has led to projects being produced by alternative means or not produced at all; any mechanism that counters this is much needed.

EMAS is also highly appropriate for individual printing companies – theprescribed performance data is easily established - which partly explains the uptake of this scheme in print. After all, it is not just in times of recession and rising overheads that it makes sense to measure and monitor performance in order to identify opportunities for improvements and cost reductions: Of course, performance monitoring could happen independently but, in reality, it simply does not. EMAS provides a framework for this exercise.

As buyers and designers become more aware of, and knowledgeable about, environmental issues, EMAS, with its public reporting of environmental information and data, will become the prominent environmental scheme. A sales approach that covers environmental issues with terms such as ‘we’re green’ or ‘we’re environmentally friendly’ will soon be confined to the past.

The focal point of EMAS is an Environmental Statement in which every word anddetail is externally verified for accuracy before being made publicly available. Statement content includes the company history, describes plant and capabilities and specific environmental targets; the statement acts as both a company brochure and a very versatile sales tool.

EMAS itself is a versatile sales tool: registered companies can promote themselves as environmental leaders, as progressive companies that recognise the importance of performance analysis and, most significantly, willing to publicly report their performance data.

Speaking in my capacity as a print buyer who is on the receiving end of sales approaches by printing companies, the inability to connect reduced environmental impact with reduced costs is a constant source of amazement. The lack of imagination in most sales approaches is staggering and, surely, a sales approach that focuses on a company status that (at the time of writing) only 12 companies hold, will grab the attention of any print buyer? The rise of EMAS in print is also partly explained by companies recognising the sales and marketing potential it brings.

EMAS registered companies must publicly report on their carbon emissions but this should not necessarily be viewed in purely environmental terms. If your carbon emissions are reducing then so are your costs. Additionally, although your clients may not (yet) express an interest in your carbon emissions, establishing and publishing this information is a further sign of a progressive company.

Despite the recent growth it is still early days for EMAS in print but once the benefits are grasped by printing companies and the significance fully understood by buyers, further growth is inevitable.


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