Paul Sumner and Simon Hartlett, Marketing Director and Innovations Director at Go Inspire, and Peter Clark, Head of Print Management at The Specialist Works, explain why their companies joined the Carbon Balanced Print and Paper scheme and what they and their customers get out of it.

What prompted you to join Carbon Balanced Paper?

Simon Hartlett, Eclipse: Last year I watched the David Attenborough documentary, A Life On Our Planet, and it really got me thinking that we ought to be doing more. Having explored a number of carbon offsetting schemes, I came across Carbon Balanced Paper and it evolved from there to Carbon Balanced Production and Paper. I became aware that for companies operating in our sector – high volume, low pagination door drop, inserts and brochures – I realised there was nowhere for clients involved in these type of publications to turn to if they wanted to produce sustainable products for the planet.

Peter Clark, TSW: Choosing Carbon Balanced Paper just felt purposeful and a natural progression. We purchase a huge amount of paper on behalf of our clients and are members of Two Sides, so offsetting all of our paper seemed the natural next step. There’s a strong duty to contribute to the protection of our planet throughout The Specialist Works, all the way up to the CEO. It’s just part of our day jobs.

What stage of the scheme are you currently at?

Paul Sumner, Go Inspire: We are now fully carbon accredited. We have had all of the carbon emissions that our factory outputs over a 12 month period – the gas, the electrics, fuel for forklifts, everything was assessed. Using that figure, we will pay the equivalent to buy the same area in the Vietnamese rainforest in order to lock in that carbon so that nobody can take that land and reduce the forestry.

What are the commercial benefits to joining?

Peter Clark, TSW: For us it’s about the long-term goal, not short-term cost. In the future, I don’t see anyone buying print from a source that will have a negative impact on the environment. For us as an agency, there are a number of out-of-the-box benefits. Since I’ve been talking to staff and colleagues about what we’re doing, it’s created a real sense of pride in what we do as an agency, and the positive impact of that is huge. It’s really nice when I hear our junior staff educating clients, especially our digitally focused clients, on sustainable ways of working in print.

What are the key benefits for your clients?

Simon Hartlett, Eclipse: A lot of clients see using the Carbon Balanced logo as a benefit because it’s another area that shows they are doing something for the planet. Our hope is that the Go Inspire brand is seen as an environmentally friendly brand, which we hope will attract more customers to enable us to print more work and carbon balance more of our work.

Peter Clark, TSW: Consumers are actively looking for brands that care about the environment and make ethical choices. Some consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable brands, and stay more loyal to that brand, and displaying logos such as the World Land Trust logo on their materials has a positive impact on how the buyer perceives the brand when deciding to make a purchase.

What further sustainability initiatives are you developing?

Paul Sumner, Go Inspire: I’m supporting our sustainability practices across all of our sites. Although we are now a Carbon Balanced Printer, it’s not enough just to spend money with World Land Trust and justify the emissions we generate from a manufacturing perspective. The end goal has to be to reduce those emissions. We are only at the beginning of our journey, but there will be KPIs put in place to reduce our carbon emissions and become a more efficient, more effective printer.

Peter Clark, TSW: I’m joining a group within The Specialist Works that’s a network of people from different parts of the agency. We want to take what we’ve learnt from our work with Carbon Balanced Paper and adopt that way of thinking across our other platforms. For instance, platforms such as out of home could become more sustainable by adopting the same practices. I want to take our learnings from print and see how far we can integrate this throughout the agency on a global platform.


Interview conducted by Sam Upton

Why choose Carbon Balanced Paper?

Choosing Carbon Balanced Paper, in partnership with international conservation charity World Land Trust (WLT), helps protect some of the world’s most biologically significant and threatened habitats. Protecting these habitats avoids the release of stored carbon and enables the regeneration of degraded habitats, which gradually re-absorb atmospheric CO2.

Go one step further, choose a Carbon Balanced Printer

A growing number of printers in the UK are joining the Carbon Balanced Printer programme. These environmentally-conscious businesses have measured and offset their primary carbon emissions with World Land Trust. Certified Carbon Balanced Printers can exclusively offer their customers Carbon Balanced Print, where both the paper and the print production impacts have been offset.

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