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FLEXO Magazine : April 2009
PLANTS & PROCESSES dedicate the necessary resources as they realize that becoming more sustainable is now a critical component to continuing their business. The second step is to form a committee. The committee should be representative of the key operational areas such as manage- ment, sales, accounting, purchasing, quality control, customer ser- vice, the various production operations, environmental and safety compliance professionals, and maintenance. For smaller compa- nies, there will be fewer individuals, but the people responsible for each of these areas need to be included. While having a champion is critical to getting the program started, the goal is to turn all of the employees into champions and ambassadors for the company. Developing the policy may require several meetings that will allow for the exchange of ideas, discussions, and the development of statements that refl ect the company’s position on the core policy elements. The discussions need to lead to the development of a draft policy that will be circulated so it can be considered and suggestions solicited for revisions. In order to keep the policy focused, it should be concise and relatively short—no more than one page. Two to three paragraphs may be adequate. WRITING A POLICY To write a policy, start by preparing a list of general concerns related to sustainability that could be addressed in the policy state- ment. These general concerns need to address impacts associated with the product that is produced including prepress, press and post press operations—the packaging and transportation of the fi nished goods; the delivery of input materials; the composition of input materials; as well as the impact from operating the printing facility that include energy consumption, building, grounds, and equipment maintenance,offi ce waste, food/cafeteria waste, etc. The concerns should also address employee issues such as health and safety, wellness, and other benefi ts. Once the list of general concerns is identifi ed, then they need to be translated into commitments. It is important to think through which commitments the company will be capable of addressing. Do not include commitments in the policy that the company will not be able to carry out. The SGP Partnership pro- vides a list of four mandatory commitments (listed above), but the printer can add its own in as well. An important consideration of the policy is its scope. Decide whether it will include activities beyond internal operations, such as supplier environmental performance or customer product use. Remember to consider the company’s property beyond plant walls up to the “fence line.” Consider how to include contractors work- ing at the site, and consider the companies used for outsourcing. Once specifi c issues and commitments are identifi ed, then a draft of the policy needs to be prepared. It should be written in general terms. For example, if chemicals in the water or air are a concern because they potentially impact the community, a commit- ment could be written to review and, where feasible, make changes in the chemicals used by the company, or make sure they are being managed appropriately. Or, if solid waste in landfi lls is a concern, a commitment can be included to reduce the solid waste produced. Next, think about how to put commitments into action. For example, a commitment to reduce solid waste may be achieved through a pollution prevention program and/or a program to de- sign products or services that result in minimal waste generated by the consumer. Also, these programs may be implemented one at a time over a period of several years, as part of your commit- ment to continuous improvement. SUMMARY To successfully prepare a sustainability policy, consider all the elements that must be included. Use of a committee will ensure all the key elements are considered and incorporated. Be sure to proofread the completed policy for errors. Review it frequently and update it as needed. Post it in a prominent place for all to view and be proud of. ¦ ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Gary A. Jones is the director of the environmental, health and safety (EHS) aff airs for Printing Industries of America. His primary responsibility is to monitor and analyze EHS regulatory activities at all government levels and pro- vide representation on behalf of the printing industry. In doing so, Jones works closely with the federal and state-level Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Department of Transportation (DOT). He specializes in air pollution permits and control requirements, waste minimization and disposal, wastewater discharges, health and safety and other compliance related issues. Doreen M. Monteleone, Ph.D., is FTA’s director of special projects & EHS services.