Carbon dioxide emissions are rising. The impact of global warming is felt every day by all of us. Temperatures are changing, sea levels are rising, snow and rain patterns have altered. Global warming is something which the world has to learn to cope with. We can’t step back to the pre-Industrial mode. What can we do to be sustainable? That was the question Amit Khurana, COO, Newspaper Group, TechNova, India, dealt with at the WAN-IFRA conference in Chennai recently. Susan Philip reports
While the CO2 footprint could not be eliminated, it could certainly be reduced, Amit Khurana, COO, Newspaper Group, TechNova, India, told delegates at the conference. “India is in the sixth position for CO2 emissions world-wide. The Indian industry, including the printing industry, has done a lot of work on the CO2 footprint. Certain innovations which were aimed at being ‘green’ resulted from this work,” he said, terming these ‘Greenolutions’ or the ‘cradle to grave’ approach (life cycle assessment) – innovating products that were sustainable and which could reduce the carbon footprint.
Khurana referred to higher temperatures, stronger storms, rising sea levels, warmer oceans, changes in plant life cycles, more droughts and wildfires as the impacts of global warming. Asserting that “we have to save ourselves, as Mother Earth will find her own balance,” he said greenolutions showed the way towards long-term sustenance.
Life cycle assessments conducted by the newspaper industry revealed that 60 per cent of the CO2 it generates came from raw material manufacturing, 10-15 per cent from the printing process. Transportation was another contributory factor. Electricity consumption had a role to play, too.
“We need to analyse where we are and how to reduce our carbon footprint,” he stressed. “One kg of wood binds 2.3 kg of CO2. Paper is one of the most recycled products, one of the truly sustainable products,” Khurana pointed out. Understanding the environmental impacts of paper and discovering the best paper choices were ways to go forward.
“Corrective measures are being taken by all those involved in the printing industry. CO2 emissions from paper mills have reduced by 22 per cent in the past few years. Responsible printing practices, incorporating proven and specific green processes that avoid pollution, reduce waste and reuse natural resources, have been adopted. These increase efficacy and thereby lessen CO2 emissions. As much as 55 per cent of plates used by the Indian newspaper industry are green. That’s a huge achievement and has resulted in significant saving of water,” Khurana explained.
Fortunately, there was more and more acceptance for green innovations in the industry. But was the consumer aware of such steps and the value of such exercises? Khurana said newspaper and newsprint consumers ranged from ‘true-blue greens’ – people who really cared – to those to whom such efforts didn’t matter at all.
“Green has to be business sustainable as well. And some projects only have a green value, there is no value for the customer. It is up to the print industry to create awareness among consumers, who will then demand more green products,” he said.
TechNova had been following green practices to avoid pollution, reduce waste, reuse natural resources, increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. It had moved from the Go Green to the Living Green stage.
At TechNova, waste minimisation plans were in force. For each project, an audit was conducted to identify waste, evaluate options, implement the plan and monitor results, Khurana explained. “We’ve taken many steps. We recycle package material, we do green audits. We use eco-friendly chemicals.” The company had brought down chemical use from 150 ml/ sq mt to 20 ml. New eco-friendly products such as machine wraps and vegetable oil-based solvents were being sourced from abroad.