The Sustainability Lesson: 14 Global CEOs share tips - The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column

How to come to terms with technologies, how to thrive in a tough business place, and above all, lead the transformation of your business. Part II in the series of Sustainability Drive is changing the way we work; and our industry needs to adapt.

The Sunday Column finds out how. Read on...

27 Feb 2022 | By Noel D'Cunha

Baldwin Technology CEO Joe Kline: We launched the new Defender inspection system for wide-web flexo gravure applications and continued to invest in LED-UV for energy savings, speed, efficiency, use of different inks and to reduce dependency on solvents. And our AMP IoT solution uses data intelligence to aid the decision process to help lower the carbon footprint to a whole new level that will be exciting to see really take hold in the years ahead. Baldwin has also invested in our own factories to lower our internal waste to landfill and boost energy efficiency and we will continue to do more to help support a lower carbon footprint for the world.

Epson Corporation president and CEO Yasunori Ogawa: Only three? We’ve now focused our entire company on sustainability so I could give you many examples from every part of our operations. For a start, we’ve committed to our new environmental vision of becoming carbon negative and to stop using non-renewable underground resources by 2050. We will invest 100-billion Japanese yen by 2030 to help bring this about.

We have begun an ambitious decarbonisation plan including the transformation of all our sites worldwide to renewable electricity by 2023. Second, we are employing our efficient, compact and precision technologies, such as heat-free printing technology, throughout our entire product range to help reduce our customers’ environmental footprints. Third, we are developing environmental technologies such as our dry-fibre technology to create new naturally-derived (plastic-free) materials.

Fujifilm Asia Pacific managing director Haruto Iwata: Under our Sustainable Value Plan 2030 (SVP2030), we have defined our long-term goals targeting FY2030 in which we have set numerical global environmental targets to reduce the CO2 emissions, the introduction of renewable energies and the usage of resources effectively, not only at the manufacturing stage, but also over the entire product lifecycle. In 2021, Fujifilm achieved a place on the - CDP’s Water Security A-List, the highest level of recognition awarded in the internationally influential corporate survey on water resource management for two consecutive years. Fujifilm Holdings is one of a small number of high-performing companies out of nearly 12,000 that were scored.

GMG’s Robert Weihing, global CEO: GMG has been carbon neutral since 2009. Our proof media is a carbon-neutral product, too. Every year we are looking at our processes and try to reduce the climate impact of our operation. Last year, we switched our fleet of cars almost entirely to electric. We installed solar panels on the roof of our office building and produced our own electricity. We signed up for our mayor’s commitment to making our hometown (Tubingen, Germany) climate neutral by 2030.

Rainer Hundsdorfer, Heidelberg CEO: We are stepping up our sustainability management activities. Against the backdrop of the global challenges of climate change, Heidelberg has committed itself to climate neutrality by 2030 as part of its sustainability strategy. To this end, the company has established an Environmental Social Governance (ESG) committee, which is responsible for the strategy as well as the definition, implementation, and monitoring of measures. To achieve this goal, Heidelberg has already defined several measures and begun implementing them. The initial focus is on increasing energy efficiency at all production and sales sites and supplying them with green energy. This is already significantly reducing CO2 emissions. The company will compensate for the remaining, unavoidable emissions by means of emission certificates.

Heidelberg then aims to achieve complete climate neutrality for its sites without certificates by 2040 at the latest.

With regard to the portfolio, Heidelberg develops environmentally friendly and reliable products for all phases of their life cycle, that is, in terms of production, operation, and disposal or recycling. Compared with 1990, Heidelberg has reduced the energy required for the printed sheet by 40%. The company has geared the operation of its products to sustainability in terms of waste, energy consumption, and emissions so that customers can produce their print products in line with the motto “think economically, print ecologically”. As early as 2012, Heidelberg was the first press manufacturer to calculate CO2 emissions during the manufacture of its presses (cradle-to-gate) and make them climate-neutral at the customer’s request.

Eijiro Hori, president of Horizon Group: At Horizon, we are committed to sustainable practices. For one, our systems are developed and manufactured in an environmentally friendly manner. Our Biwako manufacturing plant is located next to Japan’s largest lake, Lake Biwa, and we make it a priority that all of our manufacturing and waste management practices exceed local standards so that the beauty of the lake can be enjoyed long into the future.

We are an official endorser of the Mother Lake Goals (MLGs), which are similar to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals but for the surrounding Lake Biwa area, and actively participate in volunteer clean-up efforts around the lake.

In addition to the local environmental practices, we strive to decrease worldwide paper waste by creating user-friendly devices that allow operators to set up jobs with the least amount of paper waste possible. At our Horizon offices, we ourselves engage in sustainable practices and make sure that our paper waste is properly recycled so it can be reused in the future.

Komori CEO and president Satoshi Mochida: One, we have built a successful case-study of a significant reduction in the number of paper slips and the streamlining and visualisation of the workflow by promoting KP-Connect Pro, middleware for realizing printing DX.

Two, we followed initial users of the advanced model of sheetfed offset presses to confirm real productivity improvement. In general, productivity has improved by 30% to 35% compared to conventional machines. And last, we developed Smart Colortechnology to revolutionise paper loss reduction, ink stock reduction, and losses happening at colour changing. We conducted demonstration field tests at users’ sites.

Brad Wills, global senior vice-president, MacDermid Graphics Solutions: MacDermid believes sustainability is a requirement of doing business, not just something to report on or “nice to do”. First, we joined the Holy Grail 2.0 in 2021, making us the only plate manufacturing member of this important initiative in Europe. We believe Holy Grail 2.0 will succeed in its goals and will lead to a global solution for a circular economy for plastic packaging.

The second action was that we continued to invest in an R&D project to keep used flexographic plates from the landfill or waste-to-energy schemes. Our investment in this project continues into 2021. And lastly, we’ve engineered our latest thermal processing system with more controls to reduce waste in the platemaking process.

Manroland Sheetfed CEO Rafael Penuela: No doubt that sustainability is and will remain the main factor to take care of in all industries. Our production facility in Germany is certified by the corresponding authorities as an energy-efficient company. We have been reducing our energy consumption for the last couple of years in all areas. We are certified for ecological waste treatment. Next to the obvious fulfilment of legal regulations on this topic, we work intensively on the avoidance of waste and recycling concepts for all the material in our production cycle. We develop our printing machines to be energy-efficient and offer customers technical solutions such as re-cooling. Our inline colour management systems are contributing significantly to shorter change-over times, but equally to reduce waste of paper and cardboard for our customers.

Mark Andy CEO Jason Desai: We moved the main distribution facility of Mark Andy Print Products, our supplies and consumables division which distributes inks, toners, printing plates and tapes from an older building to a newer, energy-efficient warehouse. Our new warehouse has LED lighting, a smaller footprint, and uses less electricity, natural gas, and other critical utilities. 

Additionally, we are investing in new equipment and training that will allow us to use less packing materials and produce significantly less waste. We are also active participants in multiple recycling programmes in the community where our new warehouse is located, so rather than throw away materials used in inbound and outbound freight, we can recycle and reuse them. This move took us almost 12 months to plan and execute, but we’re happy to report it is complete.

Michelman CEO Rick Michelman: We are deeply committed to sustainability and delineate our behaviour into a few different categories. We believe in helping the communities in which we work and live - thrive. We facilitate a “global day of service” every September where our associates leave their cell phones and computers behind and volunteer together in their local communities. While those we assist appreciate it, our associates genuinely benefit from the experience.

In 2021, our India team drove to a facility for girls a few hours outside of Mumbai to assist them with building repair and grounds maintenance. Our team also interacted with them to motivate them to pursue their dreams. This was an incredibly rewarding day for all involved.

Ryobi MHI Graphic Technology (RMGT) president Katsushi Hirokawa: We have been promoting LED-UV technology since 2008. LED-UV is surely an environmentally friendly technology. We believe that our wider product line-up is quite useful and efficient for the printing companies.

For example, we can offer our A1 size machine as an alternative to the existing B1 press. And we are now strongly promoting automatic printing operation using our own camera systems such as quality control, density control and register control simultaneously. Printing is going to be easier and more standardised if you use automated options.

Scodix CEO, general manager and co-founder Eli Grinberg: Scodix solutions are approved for recycling. We still support the environment by eliminating plates, dies, moulds, solvents or chemicals. The Scodix polymers are certified as having no VOC emissions. Plus, Scodix has created an exclusive sustainability department within its structure. We print on CYMK prints that our customers and suppliers supply. Our customers and suppliers mostly are forest sustainability certified.

V-Shapes CEO Christian Burattini: We developed a new fully recyclable mono-polymer polypropylene laminate for our sachets. The recyclability of these sachets has been certified by Interseroh and verified by Tomra. Second, as described, with our digital inkjet solutions we can cut the amount of transport required across the product lifecycle and therefore, offer a reduced environmental footprint. Third, our machines are low energy consumers; our sachets are efficient in terms of transportation, with less air both in sachets and packaging boxes for transport.

This not only delivers a reduced environmental footprint, but it also ensures that the packaged product lasts longer with no risk of oxygenation as can occur when air headspace is required. Plus, because a single operator can easily manage the entire process – even an operator who is not highly skilled – labour costs are reduced and it is easier to find the necessary labour even in a tight labour market such as the one we see today.