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Why Go Eco?

Sustainability Turns Profitable

Part 1 of 4

By Melissa Donovan

Eco-friendly media’s popularity is rising as print service providers’ (PSPs) customers push for quality, cost-effective, environmentally friendly products. Customers look to print shops to steer them in profitable directions. As hype grows, PSPs need to recognize the multiple benefits attached to these solutions.

An Added Design Element
PSPs should consider eco-friendly media to portray dimension and texture in applications. "The digital medium allows for more subtle changes in the subjective interpretation of images," comments Michael Zide, owner,—a Web site featuring his fine art work. In addition to professional photography, Zide is also an instructor at the Hallmark Institute of Photography in Turner Falls, MA. Zide uses Moab Colorado Fiber fine art paper by Legion Paper for all of his printing needs.

"There are many eco-friendly fine art papers with different textures and weights. The beauty of a photograph is the contribution that paper brings to the image," explains Marc Schotland, director of marketing, Legion Paper Corporation.

Jim Graham, owner, Jim Graham photography, is a commercial and editorial photographer using Legion Somerset Enhanced and Moab Colorado Fiber papers to print fine art. "I started using these papers not necessarily out of environmental concern but because they offered a premium product to my clients. The fact that these papers are eco-friendly was an extra bonus. And one that my clients and collectors now appreciate," says Graham.

Bob Haupt, sales manager, North America, Hahnemühle USA agrees. "If the media characteristics, in terms of base color, texture, and base weight meet the visual requirements of the project, than the use of eco-friendly media adds positive support to preserving our environment."

Profitable Variety
Variety is another reason to use this type of media. "A PSP should keep abreast of eco-friendly options to provide various solutions to customers and prospects. Understanding the applications and limitations of eco-friendly media allows the PSP to gain a competitive edge over the competition," shares Mike Richardson, director of marketing, Aurora Specialty Textiles Group, Inc.

With a product in such high demand, there is always opportunity for profit. "In marketing terms, eco-friendly products are what our customers’ customers are demanding. Ultimately, consumers are far more aggressive about shopping for products that allow them to feel better about their purchase," says Cyrus Gilman, VP, The Gilman Brothers Company.

At the ISA supplier/distributor conference in July 2008, it was stated in a survey that 62 percent of all purchasing agents have a "buy green" directive, states Al Ammerman, VP, sustainable products, conVerd, LLC.

With such benefits, it is hard to disapprove of eco-friendly media’s growing presence in the graphic arts. Next week we discuss the somewhat ambiguous definition of eco-friendly.

Click on the link above to get more information on the vendors mentioned in this article. 

Mar2009, Digital Output

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