We recently received a 43 page document outlining environmental legislation that applies to printing companies. It was for one single country with around 7,000 printing companies! Reading through this lengthy document it becomes clear that legislators are working hard to protect us all from pollution and related nastiness. The law is working hard to keep the world a safe and pleasant place, a place with a future. But the law also seems to be working hard to slow business down and make it less productive, by clogging up the wheels of commerce with red tape. It distracts us from paying attention to our customers and from the daily grind of generating revenue, of producing goods and providing services.
This may be one of the reasons why productivity is down in so many developed markets. Business owners have to spend many hours a week keeping up with their various responsibilities. Legal compliance is just one small part of all the other non revenue generating activities we have to face. When it comes to environmental protection this is a very good thing, however lawmakers should be working to make implementation simple, not onerous. This won’t be easy because civil servants have a culture of their own, one that’s not even vaguely entrepreneurial. In fact initiative and imagination are positive anathema to them, so they cannot appreciate how time-consuming compliance with environmental legislation has become.
Graphic arts professionals can only comply. This makes it even more annoying to have to plough through umpteen pages of rules and regulations that get updated pretty much every month. Worse still it is deeply tedious to design business procedures that ensure compliance and yet are sufficiently flexible to change along with new rules or revocation of old ones.
We have no choice, but our industry associations could be doing much more to make it easier for members. There are plenty of ways to communicate regulatory changes, but the most obvious is to post the relevant laws online, along with a short explanation. This could explain the purpose of the legislation, how it applies and what counts as exempt. Updates can also be included in member communications.
When it comes to the environment, this problem of awareness and understanding is only going to get more complex. Print and publishing industry associations can do much to improve members’ knowledge levels and to promote best practise. If we had had a bit more vim and vigour from our associations in the first place, perhaps the inundation of regulations might not seem so very overwhelming. So come on all of you, and you know who you are, get with it. Make your environmental guidance more than just lip service and give your members the support they need!
This blog has been made possible by: Agfa Graphics (www.agfa.com), Digital Dots (http://digitaldots.org), drupa (www.drupa.com), EFI (www.efi.com), Fespa (www.fespa.com), Heidelberg (www.uk.heidelberg.com), Kodak (www.kodak.com/go/sustainability), Mondi (www.mondigroup.com/products), Pragati Offset (www.pragati.com), Ricoh (www.ricoh.com), Shimizu Printing (www.shzpp.co.jp), Splash PR (www.splashpr.co.uk), Unity Publishing (http://unity-publishing.co.uk) and Xeikon (www.xeikon.com).
Blokboek.com is the Dutch media partner of Verdrigris, a non-profit initiative which aims to realistically chart the real footprint of printing and which helps companies and organisations to lower that footprint. More information about Verdrigris can be found via this link.
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