'How do we become a sustainability leader in a polluting industry? By first taking responsibility for our own actions.'

Rotterdam 31.05.2022

At Helloprint everything we do, we do with excellence in mind. From enabling our customers to design the most beautiful customized print products out there, to delivering them at their doorstep just a day later, we know the importance of outstanding customer service. Yet, as a global company, we also understand the need to do all that in a sustainable manner, with respect for our environment. 

 

Being a leader in our market, we feel the responsibility to drive sustainability forward. After all, the printing industry is far from being the environmentally friendly industry that we aspire for it to be. 

 

So, what is it that is still holding it back?

Being the fifth biggest in the world, the printing industry surely leaves its mark on our environment - just consider the various ways in which products can be printed and the different raw materials and chemicals they use. 

Print products are still mostly paper-based and while that remains the case, the industry will continue to play its role in deforestation around the world. Yet, paper is far from being the main contributor to the large carbon footprint of the industry. When it comes to air pollution, the sector is also facing criticism for continuing to use petroleum-based inks, which account for greenhouse gas emissions throughout the printing process. And then, of course, there is the issue of waste management. If not captured and disposed of properly, material, chemical and solvent waste may end up in landfills and even  in water streams and elsewhere in nature. 

 

That being said, players across the industry are already taking steps towards more environmentally friendly practices. More printing factories, for example, have started to use certified paper and vegetable oil-based ink to reduce the amount of chemicals in their processes. For textile- or plastics-based products, there is also a strong push from governments to embrace a more sustainable approach to production and the overall lifecycle of products.  

At Helloprint, we welcome such initiatives with excitement. Yet, we still believe that we need to accelerate this transition even further. We set high standards for ourselves, and we are committed to working closely together with our customers and suppliers to become more sustainable throughout the entire value chain. 

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Embracing sustainability – what does it take?

This is a question with probably as many answers as there are companies out there. Being as large as it is, the printing industry offers plenty of potential to make a positive social and environmental impact. The challenge is where and how to start.   

For us, being the leading marketplace for customized print products, the key is in looking at the bigger picture and making sure that we derive the most sustainable value possible throughout all stages of the value chain. 

Our mission is not only to make print easier, but also better for our society and the environment, says Isabelle de Wolf, Sustainable Business Officer at Helloprint. 

There is no doubt that all sustainable efforts need to start at the beginning. Embracing new resources and materials is the basis for creating a more environmentally-friendly and circular printing industry. In doing so, Helloprint is working closely together with Silicon Valley sustainability leader EcoCart, which helps rate all of the company’s producers through an extensive assessment process. 

Packaging all products in a recyclable way is another key aspect of Helloprint’s sustainability strategy. This is why for all branded packages, the company aims to have 100% recyclable materials and not use fillers and plastic by the end of 2023. 

Still, what makes Helloprint really unique in the market is its ability to bring together a large number of relevant stakeholders and leverage their combined expertise to enable a more sustainable environment for customized print products. At the end of the day, using environmentally-friendly materials and packaging would not have the desired impact if a product would then have to be shipped across the world.

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Being a global company, locally 

Working with Helloprint means working with a global network of over 200 local producers of print and customized products. This makes it possible to significantly reduce the distance between production and delivery - and therefore the overall carbon footprint of each product.   

“Our platform makes it possible to facilitate the exchange between three main parties - producers, carriers and the end consumer,” Isabelle says. “Our algorithms and smart technology connect producers to local and international carriers in a way that end users can order their customized print product in an easy manner, and receive it as quickly as possible, worldwide.” 

This approach not only adds to a smooth customer experience, but it also creates the foundation for a value chain that is more transparent, efficient and environmentally friendly. 

Creating a positive societal and environmental impact and becoming a sustainability leader in an industry that is known to be polluting and wasteful is not something that will happen overnight. It takes time and effort, and most of all, it takes a clear understanding of how we can change our industry for the better. 

To know more about Helloprint’s sustainability efforts or how you can join our mission, do not wait to get in touch with us

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