The weekly Verdigris blog – Fab India

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Recent government commitments to renewable energy could spell enhanced opportunities for print in India. The print industry everywhere thrives because most of its practitioners are small companies with relatively few employees. They operate in fairly confined, local markets and share with their larger counterparts a dependence on reliably energy supplies. In markets where energy stability is not a given, such as India, printing companies face an additional hurdle as well as the usual hurly burly of business. Just imagine what energy security could do in such geographies, not only for the graphics industry but also for its customers, especially in the packaging sector.

In India the prospect of predictable energy suppliers just got a whole lot better. India’s power minister, RK Singh, recently said that the country’s goal of producing 175 gigawatts of electricity from renewable energy sources with less complex supply chains will be hit “well before 2022.” And the head of the Indian coal board recently admitted that the days of coal are numbered. According to a report from Coal India, it is “only a matter of time” before coal loses out to renewable energy sources including solar and wind power. Coal India is the world’s biggest coal producer and made the statement as part of its declaration of goals for 2030.

Big things happen when lots of little things start coming together and this latest news has the potential to make a massive difference across India’s graphics industry. Increased certainty and reliability of energy supply will improve confidence and business predictability. Reliable cold supply chains will create opportunities for new packaging applications and cocreation projects between brands and consumers. With energy supply no longer an unknown India’s printers and brands will be able to trust that their print media projects will be completed when expected, especially at local level where brand engagement can be most effective.

And India’s 250 million households are expected to have access to electricity by the end of the year according to Mr Singh. Whether they will access it or not is another matter, however some proportion of these consumers may be prospective buyers of print. They may opt to use print for interior décor, photobooks and other applications, which adds up to a massive opportunity for brands and for service providers. Reliable energy mitigates a tangible business risk and ideally should make production more convenient and cheaper for print buyers. This is not just encouraging for India’s printers, large and small, but for the customers they serve. From packaging and sign and display work, through to photobooks and posters this can only be good news for print media and for suppliers to the market.

This article was produced by the Verdigris Project, an industry initiative intended to raise awareness of print’s positive environmental impact. This weekly commentary helps printing companies keep up to date with environmental standards, and how environmentally friendly business management can help improve their bottom lines. Verdigris is supported by the following companies: Agfa Graphics, EFI, Fespa, HP, Kodak, Kornit, Ricoh, Spindrift, Splash PR, Unity Publishing and Xeikon.

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.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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