Pathways to green publishing seminar in Delhi

Pathways to green publishing seminar in Delhi

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Although some of the presentations were product presentations the first session itself took up the issue of sustainability – that it is no longer enough to be environment friendly but that there has to be an approach that looks at the product and the processes from cradle to regeneration including the water, transport, and energy costs of both materials and end products. This has to be measurable in the form of a bottom line scorecard – the carbon footprint.

In this session R Srinivasan pointed out that ITC PSPD’s mills with their social forestry and biotechnology with a detailed description of activity including the cloning and distribution of plants are in the business of regeneration of raw material that also earns them carbon credits. They are intensely aware of their of their carbon footprint and the need to be carbon neutral. Harsh Pati Singhania of JK Paper said that the issue for paper makers is of access to raw materials and forests since it affects the scale of operations that are needed to make processes productive and energy saving.

As a representative of the paper industry he spoke of the high capital costs and the low return on investment in an industry where the national forest policy is less than encouraging in enabling either large-scale social or industrial forestry. This may not have been the forum to sort out one of the most issues that confronts the paper, publishing, and printing industry – the sustainability of paper manufactured in India.

There were comments from manufacturers in the audience using alternative raw material – bagasse (sugarcane husk or residue) – but it is well known that even this type of fibre input is primarily used in our country as fuel to generate energy.

The other input providers Heidelberg and HP spoke on the one hand of the refinement of offset printing and on the other of using digital printing to print only as much as is needed at a given time. Both of these are technology solutions and real parts of the solution that printers and even publishers are contemplating every day but from the publisher’s point of view there is a great concern about the cost of printing.

Sanat Hazra the newspaper printer returned from America made a presentation that showed how environmental protocols are practised in the west and also that they can be implemented in our country by looking at the materials, processes and end products including recyclable and hazardous wastes. As pointed out by JK Dadoo of the Delhi Administration these practices are far away from what is happening in the industrial units of Delhi. The capital cost of effluent treatment plants is not as daunting as the cost of using and maintaining them. He pointed out that in the 34 industrial estates of the city there are only 11 common effluent plants.

We look forward to this effort by TERI and the Delhi Administration developing into understanding, activities, action plans and then seminars to discuss both the successes and failures. The idea of a green publishers guild put forward by the TERI Press is a good idea and as another participant commented we also look forward to seeing its aims and objectives outlined. As far as the printers of Delhi this is another chance to get serious. They just need to learn about and frame an environmental audit protocol. They need to start by studying their business and their processes — to measure and document them. This will lead to solutions that can be followed voluntarily and demonstrably, although one cannot imagine them acting without government threats. Gone are the days that they can continue in their illiterate ways.

 

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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