Although printing is not an activity very harmful to the environment, WSOY’s printing units pay with care attention to environmental questions. The more environmentally sound printing methods can be developed, the more successful the printed products are in competition between different media.

The low environmental hazards of printing operations are based on low emissions: printing colour dries by becoming oxygenated and no evaporation products from colour are generated. Harmful substances, such as developers, sheet colour containers and solvents used to clean printing machines, are collected and sent for recycling.

WSOY started paying attention to environmental issues more extensively at the beginning of the 1980s, when it applied environmental permits required by law. Today, WSOY takes active initiatives to cooperate with the authorities. WS Bookwell’s operations are covered by ISO 9001 quality management system, Lönnberg Painot by ISO 9002 quality management system and the Nordic environmental “Swan” label. In addition, Ajasto has ISO 9001 quality system and its subsidiaries are covered by ISO 14001 environmental management system.

“Continuous attention to environmental questions is critically important also for the image of the industry, and the environment-soundness of printed products is important also in competition between different media”, says Jari Lehtinen, President of Lönnberg Painot.

Also customers are interested in the environment

Good environmental management is a very important aspect of marketing. “Although the essential motives of quality and environmental certificates and the Swan label lie elsewhere, their importance in marketing is relatively high. Our customers often want to get the Swan label for their products, and our duty as a printing company is to offer them this possibility”, Jari Lehtinen continues.

Customers ask about environmental matters also from WS Bookwell: “Some municipalities have been very active for instance in their text book purchases. Quality certification is particularly important to our customers in Germany and Britain”, says the environmental representative of the company, Pertti Nyberg.

Naturally, less environmental loading also means elimination of harmful substances and methods from the nature and increases work safety and satisfaction. For personnel, however, the quality and environmental certificates mean changes in their working routines. “The attitude of our personnel to environmental questions has been mainly positive. Certain work phases have become longer, because it is sometimes more complicated to use environmentally sound products”, Jari Lehtinen says.

Experiences at WS Bookwell are similar. “Within the framework of the quality system, the entire personnel has received training for instance in sorting at source, which today already goes well. The latest sorting target is energy waste”, says Pertti Nyberg and adds: “Motivating personnel in paying attention to the environment is, however, a continuous challenge.”

The use and development of quality systems, environmental systems and the Swan label costs money but also generates savings. “The impacts of environmentally sound measures do not necessarily immediately show on the bottom line”, Pertti Nyberg reminds. “Little by little, however, we have achieved savings by centralising our waste management and wastepaper sales, among others.”

“For instance the use of high-quality art printing papers reduces paper wastage and therefore also costs”, Jari Lehtinen confirms.

Continuous development in environmental matters

Commitment to good environmental management is a prerequisite for satisfying the requirements of the quality and environmental systems and the Swan label. Other practical means include development of sorting and recycling, and equipment improvements. WS Bookwell has analysed also their energy consumption.

A structural program to develop transport functions of the printing companies is currently going on in cooperation with Ajasto to eliminate overlapping. Other environmental issues are also discussed together in the joint working group of the printing division and Ajasto.

WSOY is involved in regional Vahti-extranet, which is a follow-up -system for environmental management and in which emissions are reported annually. Regional Vahti-extranets are administrated by Regional Environment Centres. WSOY is also active in PYR (The Environmental Register of Packaging PYR Ltd), which takes care of recycling of packaging materials.

Accurate information is a must in the future

“I believe that the weight of environmental questions will grow in the future”, Jari Lehtinen says. “Then also more accurate information will be needed, environmental aspects can no longer be used so flimsily as before to promote different projects”, he says. Pertti Nyberg agrees: “We should be a step ahead of others in environmental questions.”

Certification criteria

The criteria of the Swan label are divided into two categories: unconditional criteria and criteria based on scores. The unconditional criteria must be met as such, and the company is given scores on the basis of the other criteria, depending on how positive its approach to environmental issues is. To be entitled to use the Swan label, the company must not exceed the permitted maximum in any phase of a project.

The Swan label requires among other things:

- a clear reduction in the use of solvents;

- the use and collection of more environmentally sound chemicals;

- efficient waste management based on sorting;

- consumption of paper that meets the criteria of the environmental label

The ISO 9001 quality management system requires that:

- the system is externally audited every three years, and that internal audits are performed continuously

- the management defines the quality goals of the organisation as a benchmark for achieved results, the organisational structure, and the responsibilities of personnel in implementing the quality system;

- a quality system is defined and documented for all functions.

The ISO 9000 system will be updated from the beginning of 2003 so that the criteria are stated more clearly and practical management is made easier. This requires that the company must apply for a new certification.

The ISO 14001/EMAS environmental management system requires that:

- the management defines the environmental policy and is committed to the continuous development of the environmental issues;

- the environmental policy is known throughout the organisation

- the entire life cycle of all products is analysed;

- the goals and the responsible person and their tasks are defined on all organisational levels;

- environmental load caused is followed and analysed by following documented procedures;

- a public report is prepared in EMAS-system.

For more information on ISO quality systems, please see .