One Consumer's Awareness of Sustainable Print

Submitted by: Joan MacKenzie 01/31/2012

PSDA Blog on Certification Logos on products and Consumers’ impressions

January 4, 2012

Alexa Schlosser

During my short holiday break, I shamelessly consumed a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream in front of the TV. I didn't notice the melted chocolate dripping on my pajamas, but I did notice an increasingly familiar logo adorning the cardboard ice cream container: a small tree with the letters FSC beneath it.

As many in the printing business are probably aware, FSC stands for the Forest Stewardship Council, which is an organization that promotes responsible management of forests. The organization certifies that the chain of custody for the paper meets its strict standards. According to the Ben & Jerry's website, "In 2009, Ben & Jerry's successfully phased in FSC certified paperboard for all of our U.S. pint packaging.”

FSC isn't the only standard gaining traction in the print industry; the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PERC) logos are also popping up more and more on various printed materials.

As 2012 begins, trends suggest end users will continue to be concerned about environmental responsibility and sustainable business practices. As Heidi Tolliver-Walker discussed in the article "Educate Your Customers: Print is Green” in the March issue of Print Solutions magazine, it is important for print manufacturers and distributors to understand the "green” movement and to educate their customers about their sustainability. From that same issue, Print Solutions contributor Darin Painter suggests that environmentally friendly distributors are the new normal — they are expected by consumers.

Perhaps I would not have noticed if the Ben & Jerry's ice cream container had not been FSC certified, but the increasing awareness of the existence of such certifications may eventually make it necessary for manufacturers and distributors to follow suit.

What do you think about environmental certifications and the "greening” of the print industry?