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FLEXO Magazine : March 2009
PLANTS & PROCESSES Sustainability Management Systems Primer A Core Element of SGP Certification Explained Doreen M. Monteleone, Ph.D. S ustainability is a journey, not an en point. It is a journey in which the travelers are always seeking ways to make every day a better day. A sustainability journey takes companies through an ever-evolving process because it serves to help them find improvements in their facilities. Many flexographic printing/ converting companies are taking this journey. Some are doing it because they believe it is something they must do for the good of society; for others, it is an effort to stay competitive. To continue on a sustainability journey, companies must make improvements based on their particular operations on an ongo- ing basis. A key element is the development and utilization of a system by which a printer can continually develop and expand its level of sustainability. A Sustainability Management System (SMS) provides guidance for a company to continuously improve its performance in this area based on its operation. Having an active SMS is a core part of the criteria for achieving certification by the Sustainable Green Printing (SGP) PartnershipsM as a SGP Printer. P. D. C. A. A SMS follows a repeating cycle of plan, do, check and act. . Plan. A company uses a sustain ability policy as a basis to establish a plan which sets objectives and targets for improv- ing performance. . Do. The next step is the implementation of the plan. . Check. After the plan is implemented, the company evalu- ates its performance to see whether the objectives and tar- gets are being met. The results of this evaluation are then reviewed by top management to see if the SMS is working. . Act. If targets are not being met, corrective action is taken. As the cycle is repeated, a revised plan is developed and con- tinuous improvement occurs. Another way to illustrate can be seen in Figure 1. - Photo by Christian R. Bonawandt 3PS The adoption of sustainable practices includes going beyond the "green" approach of environmental management. It also in- cludes economic growth, and social equity. These concepts are embodied by what the SGP Partnership calls the 3Ps-people, planet, and profit. In understanding some of the specific aspects of sustainability, there are several common goals for all printers: · Reduce environmental impact by reducing pollution releas- es, toxic chemicals used, and greenhouse gas emissions. · Reduce waste generated. · Reduce packaging. · Increase the use of recyclable materials. · Incorporate renewable resources. · Use less energy. -- Î Continuous Improvement ...-- FIGURE 1. The PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) cycle. MARCH 2009 www.flexography.org FLEXO
Sustainable Winter 2009