Consumers are becoming more eco-conscious and want to know what businesses are doing to reduce their carbon footprint. In some cases, it’s even a deciding factor when it comes time to select one company over another, which is why marketers need to be aware of how “green” their process is and make an effort towards being more environmentally friendly.

Print marketing materials remain an important piece of the marketing mix, but there are ways for companies to print in a more environmentally friendly manner without sacrificing quality.

Being more eco-conscious during the printing process starts with a review of the printing materials and paper that is used. Since paper manufacturing is one of the greatest contributors to global warming, it’s recommended to use recycled paper whenever possible. Recycled chemicals can also be used to reduce chemical production and waste. When selecting ink, avoid metallic ink and fluorescents that contribute to global warming and are dangerous to employee health. Instead of using coatings that require high energy or hazardous chemicals, use aqueous (water-based) coating instead.

Of course, environmental printing isn’t just about the product, but rather about the whole printing process lifecycle: from design all the way to end usage. Using “lean” thinking at every step is key to waste reduction. Something as seemingly simple as mandating that all proofing is done using PDFs on screen as opposed to printing hardcopies during the editing process can make a significant impact on reducing paper waste.

Another important item to consider is the transportation of printed materials. Shipping heavy printed materials far distances on a regular basis can result in substantial carbon emissions. The environmentally friendly alternative is to print locally with printers that have been trained on waste reduction. Moving print around the world more efficiently makes it a greener way to conduct this marketing business process.

At AA Global Printing, our clients, using our global print network and these design principles, offset hundreds of metric tons of CO2, N2O, and other harmful emissions every year.