Europe printing industry readies for green claims directive

Commission proposes new laws on greenwashing claims

Intergraf is the European printing industry association, representing employers in the graphical sector advocating for Europe’s printing industry towards the European Union, working with EU policymakers to support the sector’s competitiveness through advocacy, information-sharing, networking, campaigning, social dialogue, and EU projects. Photo Intergraf

European printing industry association Intergraf has welcomed the adoption of the European Commission’s proposed directive on and communication of explicit environmental claims (green claims directive) presented on 22 March 2023. 

This new legal framework addresses claims made by companies in business-to-consumers commercial practices. The work of Intergraf on carbon footprint and current discussions on environmental schemes are providing a good basis to support printing companies complying with the future requirements on green claims, the association said.

New EU legislation on green claims

With an aim to fight greenwashing, the proposed directive sets general requirements on substantiating environmental claims, including carrying out an assessment that should rely on widely recognized scientific evidence and demonstrate that environmental impacts are significant from a life-cycle perspective. Member states will set up procedures for verifying and certifying the substantiation of environmental claims. The proposal also sets requirements for environmental labels, which will also be verified at national level.

Penalties will be applicable at national level to companies infringing the rules. The commission asks member states to set penalties that are ‘effective, proportionate and dissuasive’. The legislation is not applicable to micro-companies (less than 10 employees or annual turnover of less than €2 million) unless they want their claims to be verified and certified.

Assessing environmental schemes for printed products

Numerous ecolabels and environmental schemes are available on the market for printed products. Currently, Intergraf works on supporting both printing companies and their customers in their strategic selection of environmental schemes related to printed products by defining the environmental parameters that are relevant to our sector. 

The aim of Intergraf is to allow companies to make informed environmental decisions and to communicate them in a transparent way. The requirements of the draft Directive are fully in line with the approach of Intergraf.

The draft Directive will be scrutinized by the European Parliament and Council in the coming months. Once adopted, Member States will have to implement the requirements in national law. The measures will be applicable two years after the entry into force of the directive.

“Our work on carbon footprint and future approach to assessing environmental schemes aim to support printing companies, their customers, and other actors in the value chain to substantiate their environmental claims related to printed products and avoid greenwashing in the industry. Our sector will be well-equipped to comply with the ambitious requirements of the draft EU Green Claims Directive,” said Laetitia Reynaud, Intergraf Policy Advisor.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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