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Posts Tagged ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’

The Cost of Going Green

January 27 Author: admin

According to recent press reports, ‘going green’ is set to cost the average household up to £110 within the next decade. This cost will go towards developing new sources of renewable energy such as nuclear power, hydro electricity and wind turbines. At the same time, the government believes that the average electricity and gas bill, combined, will exceed £1160 within the same time period.

The spectre of these costs, particularly within the backdrop of a struggling economy, has caused much consternation. However ‘green’ groups have explained that the rising cost of utility bills is likely to be primarily down to increasing gas costs, rather than new ‘green’ measures.

The same groups have also pointed to the benefits of the increased ‘green’ costs. These will be split into a societal and individual level of benefit. Broad societal benefit will include schemes to increase renewable energy and thus reduce carbon emissions. Individual benefits will include a more energy efficient home and new ‘smart’ devices to prevent household waste.

For example, some utility providers are now providing grants and help towards loft insulation and cavity wall insulation. These may require some initial expenditure, but the long term benefits far outweigh the cost, with a well insulated home staying warmer and requiring less heating.

Other customers are looking at more substantial changes such as solar panels and electric cars. Solar panels have started to spring up on properties all over the UK and they pay for themselves within 20 years or so, ideal for families either wishing to stay in one place for a time, or add potential value to their home. The outlay is eventually recouped by generating solar energy and requiring less electricity from a utility company. Additionally, excess electricity can be sold back to the grid to generate income for the homeowner.

With electric cars, again, these can be more expensive than traditional diesel or petrol models as the technology is newer and is still being refined. Hybrid cars are becoming ever more popular and can significantly reduce fuel bills. Even petrol and diesel cars are now designed for more economic driving with displays that emphasise MPG fuel consumption clearly in order to help adjust driving habits.

The real trick with going green is to look at the long term benefits of becoming more energy efficient and reducing your carbon footprint. Once you begin to think differently, it’s easy to identify a range of low or no cost measures to incorporate the ethos into your lifestyle. These may include recycling more, walking rather than driving, booking cheap advance tickets on public transport, rather than driving and perhaps car sharing. You can even save money with lifestyle adjustments, such as swapping a gym membership for cycling or running and by using and eating all the food you buy rather than throwing it away. Good meal planning alone can save a great deal of money for the average family.

There are now green financial products such as ‘green’ credit cards which are offered by certain eco-conscious providers and socially responsible financial institutions. These credit cards work in the same way as other credit cards but the bank may support social projects and invest some of the proceeds in corporate responsibility projects. Utility companies offer ‘green’ tariffs on the same premise in that a proportion of energy is from renewable sources.

Don’t be afraid to ask your credit card provider, bank and utility company how they are managing their carbon reduction and corporate responsibility and make your purchase decisions accordingly. Your power as a consumer is potentially very strong indeed.

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Now we are well and truly thrust into a New Year, it’s time for us with businesses to get back to it and for many, that means a fresh assault on marketing. Of course, we all know that social media is a very effective (and environmentally-friendly) way to get your businesses message across, but sometimes you just need to be in print.

So how can you keep your business as green and as cost effective as possible when choosing print? Our friends at have a few suggestions, some of which you may not have considered.

Flyer printing is a vital component of many marketing campaigns, but there are accompanying environmental costs that need to be carefully considered. How can you implement eco guidelines to reduce these costs while maximising the efficiency of your marketing resources?

Flyer printing is a brilliantly cost-effective marketing tool. Even a short run of eye-catching flyers can boost your sales. Despite the advent of the digital age, flyer printing has more presence than ever before, making your product visible not only on the internet but on people’s doormats and tabletops, and in their pockets and handbags. As a piece of publicity, they are always to hand.

Sometimes, however, they are too much to hand. Excessive numbers of flyers are often printed, creating waste for your budget, the market and the environment. Yet flyer printing can be extremely eco-friendly, as long as certain guidelines are observed. This way, money is saved, waste is reduced, your message is more carefully targeted, and your business demonstrates an evident commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). What are these eco guidelines?

Digital technology and flyer printing processes
Digital printing has significant benefits not only for your marketing budget, but for the environment, allowing far shorter, more economical print runs. This saves you spending more money than you need to, and saves you time distributing thousands of unwanted flyers. Due to high set-up costs, conventional flyer printing processes can’t operate such limited print runs.

Flyer printing on a short, digital run requires you to target your audience with a more tailored, brief message – good for your budget and the environment. Waste at both ends is reduced, and the customer receives a simple and relevant message.

Another reason to choose digital printing is its eco-friendly printing process. When you are not printing digitally, look for alcohol-free litho presses, low VOCs (volatile organic compounds), vegetable-based ink, water-based eco-coatings, and the abbreviations ECF or TCF (Elementally or Totally Chlorine Free). All of these reduce the use and emission of dangerous chemicals in the printing process. The energy consumption of different printing presses is also something to take into account.

Checking paper sources
Ensuring the source of the paper you use for your flyer printing is eco-friendly does not limit the range of looks available to you. There is no quality reduction to printing on recycled paper, and the slightly grainy look may add to your chosen aesthetic.

If you’re after smooth and glossy results, you can choose sustainably-sourced paper, and check for accreditation by looking for the FSC logo. The Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) ensures that the wood pulp used for your paper comes from sustainable sources, rather than being obtained by illegal logging or unsustainable deforestation.

The costs of shipping
Once you get past all the printing jargon, don’t forget to think about how far the finished product will have to travel before it reaches you. Printing is often outsourced to foreign providers to reduce overheads, but this apparent saving comes at a price to the environment.

Flyer printing done abroad then has to be shipped considerable distances. The resulting carbon footprint often far outstrips the environmental benefits of printing digitally and using eco-friendly printing processes on recycled or sustainably-sourced paper.

The eco-friendly choice for flyer printing is to use a company that is as local as possible, so that needless air miles, shipping or lorry transport are eliminated, minimising the impact on the environment.

To keep your flyer printing eco-friendly whilst maximising the use of your marketing resources, all of these guidelines should be borne in mind. These strategies demonstrate a real and working commitment to CSR, effectively enhancing your company’s brand image. Digital technologies make flyer printing cheap and easy. Print runs can be smaller and cost less, reducing waste and focusing your message. Choosing cleaner printing processes adds to the environmental benefits. The paper you print on should be recycled or sustainably sourced. Finally, keep the printing local, and don’t undo all your good work with unnecessary freight miles.

This article was supplied by, suppliers of unbeatable quality digital printing, and a shortlisted company for this years industry leading Print Week Environmental Company of the Year 2011 award.

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