Creative Design for Business … and Planet

More and more people who buy design, print and web services are looking to reduce harmful environmental impacts of their marketing and promotions - as well as wanting value for money and the best possible image for their goods or services.

But as ‘corporate responsibility’ becomes the goal of more and more businesses, there’s plenty of greenwash and a fair few myths around about what it really means to ‘go green’. What do the eco labelling systems actually signify? Is responsibly sourced virgin fibre paper actually better for the planet than recycled? Is the web really greener than traditional media? And how, exactly, can good creative design reduce environmental impacts such as CO2 emissions and waste?

Calverts is a full service communications design, branding agency and production co-operative, close to the City, which has been advising its clients on these issues for over 30 years - as well as delivering top notch creative design, print and web solutions. Calverts has many of the green labels our corporate clients expect, such as Greenmark, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and ISO14001. But we found these schemes, although useful, did little to help clients grasp the most basic issues. That’s because they are management tools, not aids to public understanding.

For instance, people often don’t realise that print’s raw material - paper - accounts for up to 90% of the carbon impacts of a typical printed brochure. So while it might seem we’re cutting our own throats by saying so, the best thing you can do is – do less. And while the responsible forestry labels are a step forward, recycled paper is still by far the greenest option. 100% recycled paper saves more than its own weight in CO2 emissions, compared with virgin fibre paper going to landfill – as well as significant amounts of water, electricity and other harmful emissions.

There is now a huge range of creative papers made from post-consumer waste, and in the right hands we can achieve remarkable, beautiful and varied results. Did you know that paper can be recycled on average nine times? Clients want strategies for reducing their print and paper consumption - and costs - without reducing the effectiveness of their marketing effort. That’s where good design comes in – making less do more. Environmental impacts should be considered at the beginning of the design briefing process and all the way through - not just at the end, when it comes to choosing a paper. It’s also very much about making sure that the client’s web and print channels support and complement each other, rather than just duplicating effort and cost.

Calverts eventually found the antidote to mystifying kitemarks, when it became a founder member of a new scheme – SEE, which stands for social, environmental and ethical transparency. SEE has a public website where it publishes companies’ rigorously tested answers to a range of questions about their actual policy, practice and track record - on everything from donations and payments, child labour and dealing with oppressive regimes, to environmental performance, workplace issues and marketplace ethics. Vigilantes, members of the public and concerned employees alike can easily access companies’ detailed claims, and challenge them if they believe them to be wrong - or only half true. To see what Calverts says about itself, go to http://s.coop/rx.

For further queries on Calverts call Sion Whellans on +44 (0)20 7739 1474 or email sion@calverts.coop