Submitted: The Two Sides Team March 7, 2013
When one of the largest printing facilities becomes SGP Certified-namely the U.S. Government Printing Office-it sends a clear message about the value of sustainability and SGP Certification.
March 7, 2013
by Ashley Arneson, via Sustainable Green Partnership
When one of the largest printing facilities becomes SGP
Certifiednamely the U.S. Government Printing Officeit sends a clear
message about the value of sustainability and SGP Certification. Since
receiving its Certification just two months ago, the Government Printing
Office (GPO) is already seeing the benefits. In this Q&A, read why
GPO became Certified and the helpful advice it provides for other print
Why did GPO become SGP Certified?
GPOs Strategic Plan for FY 2013-2017 identifies environmental
stewardship as a priority. Specifying recycling, reducing energy
consumption, reducing GPOs carbon footprint, and providing Federal
customers with sustainable printing alternatives are continuing
initiatives for the agency. The environmental printing certification
from SGP validates GPOs efforts and builds upon other certifications
the agency has received recently, including the IDEAlliance Master
Printer certification, the Library Binding Institutes ANSI/NISO/LBI
Library Binding Standard Z39.78-2000 certification and the certification
of Graphic Arts Industry Color Viewing Standard ISO 3664:2009.
What are some of the immediate and anticipated long-term benefits of becoming SGP Certified?
Short-term benefits include formal recognition of past and current
efforts taken to increase sustainability. Long-term benefits are
methodical approaches to reducing emissions, energy, and waste,
improving employee buy-in and awareness of environmental stewardship
through sustainability-related projects and communication, and
maintaining our preferred vendor status for printing services to federal
agencies and branches of the Federal Government.
How does SGP Certification fit within Executive Order 13514,
which set sustainability goals for Federal agencies and focuses on
making improvements in their environmental, energy and economic
Executive Order 13514 establishes sustainability goals for all
agencies of the Executive Branch which seek to reduce their greenhouse
gases and their environmental impact on the Federal Government and the
nation. SGP Certification emphasizes several actions and measures
required to achieve these sustainability goals. Executive Order 13514
sets 30% post-consumer fiber content in paper and printed materials. GPO
offers a variety of paper stock from 30% to 100% post-consumer fiber
content to our customers. Our customers may eventually include
greenhouse gases emissions, energy consumption and carbon footprints of
their suppliers in their reported metrics, so GPO efforts to
continuously improve its carbon footprint, reduce waste and energy
impacts our customers positively.
Does the GPO anticipate SGP Certification being a driver for
other agencies to increase their use of GPO in order to meet their
obligations under the Executive Order?
Yes. GPOs SGP Certification provides tangible proof of our
commitment to sustainability for our customers. When federal agencies
consider the possible vendors for their printing needs, our customers
will know that our printing services have less environmental impact and
equal cost competitiveness as competing printing vendors.
How has GPO communicated with its employees and customers about attaining SGP Certification?
GPOs Public Relations Office sent out a press release about the
agency attaining SGP Certification. In addition, GPO communicates our
SGP Certified status to our customers through our national account
managers. National account managers inform our customers as part of
their conversations and presentations of our printing services. The SGP
logo has been added to email signatures of GPO managers and those
employees who interact with customers. The revised email signatures are
used on internal and external emails. GPO communicates our
sustainability initiatives to employees through intra-agency
publications, internal websites, posters and presentations.
What advice would GPO have for other government agencies considering SGP Certification?
Learn the requirements of SGP first. Plan your certification process.
Be prepared to address issues you identify during your self-audit. Your
employees are your best resource for Certification.