Study: Recession Aside, Sustainability Remains an Important Topic
Recycling programs largely selected as program of most importance to customers.
Green publishing within the magazine-industry supply chain, has taken a back seat the last 12 or so months to economic survival. However, a new study commissioned by IDEAlliance suggests that sustainability remains an important priority, especially for paper companies and printers.
In the study, conducted over the last two months by the Verdant Consulting Group, a “majority of respondents” graded their companies’ sustainability efforts as very high. Respondents also viewed sustainability as having a high level of importance, and said they believe that IDEAlliance has an important role in educating the supply chain about sustainability.
“It’s clear that IDEAlliance members feel that sustainability is important to their competitors, their suppliers and their supply chain partners,” said Fred Raimondo, president of Verdant Consulting Group, which conducted the study. “The number of companies that actually have a sustainability plan in place is much higher than we thought. More than half have a plan.”
Verdant sought responses from all points in the supply chain, including publishers, printers, paper companies, ad agencies, software providers, pre-media firms, distributors, equipment manufacturers and ink manufacturers. There were 83 responses used to tally the results. Among the other findings:
■ 45 percent of the responding companies have a person responsible for sustainability
■ Sustainability leaders differed from the non-leaders in critical areas, including sustainability position, sustainability plans and approach to carbon footprint
■ Respondents overwhelmingly felt the IDEAlliance had a role to play in the area of sustainability
■ Recycling programs were overwhelmingly selected as the sustainability program of most importance to their customers
Interestingly, of the various links in the supply chain, the survey indicated that on several questions, the paper companies and printers are most conscious and active on the question of sustainability. For example, when asked whether they have a sustainability plan in place, 53 percent of publishers said yes, 50 percent of equipment manufacturers said they do, and just 20 percent of software providers indicated they have a plan. But 88 percent of printers and 86 percent of paper companies answered in the affirmative.
On the question of whether a specific person is designated responsible for such a plan, the results are similar, and when asked whether their customers require the use of chain-of-custody-certified paper, the printers and paper companies overwhelmingly said yes, while publisher, ad agencies and others appeared ambivalent.
However, when asked whether they measure their carbon footprint, the responding paper companies—at 86 percent—overwhelmingly indicated that they do, while printers, publishers and others were far less likely too do so.
One thing almost all participants in the survey agreed on was the role that IDEAlliance should play in educating supply-chain members on the importance of sustainability. None of nine links on the chain were under 50 percent on that point.