In business for more than 75 years, Allen Press not only strives to be a high-quality printing company and provider of services to the scholarly publishing community—we also pride ourselves on being a good citizen of the global community. In partnership with our suppliers, vendors, clients, and employees, we have worked to find sustainable resources and more efficient technology, developed new processes and procedures, participated in a variety of environmental initiatives, and promoted and supported sustainability in the publishing and printing industry.
Sustainability projects are monitored and directed by the Facilities Conservation Committee (FCC) which includes two permanent members from the sales/marketing and operational sides and a rotating mix of employees from other areas of the business. The committee is sponsored by the Director, Plant Operations and the Director of Marketing and Publishing, who report directly to the CEO. This dedicated interdepartmental team is tasked with researching and implementing sustainable initiatives for both the company and the employees. Past projects have included reducing energy consumption through thermography and correction of energy loss through plant doors, entries, and loading docks, partnering with Cans for the Community for aluminum recycling, switching to low-mercury energy-saving light bulbs, and beginning a new project to replace overhead lighting in the press room, bindery, and warehouse.
As a printer, Allen Press is concerned about the environmental footprint of paper and print production. While we have made significant progress in this area, it is an ongoing effort. In 2007 we sought and achieved Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC®) certification. In 2012 we passed the milestone of our fifth SmartWood chain-of-custody audit, renewing our FSC® certification for another five years to 2017. In 2008, we embarked on a large project to convert all of our house paper stock to FSC®-certified paper, ensuring that the bulk of paper passing through our presses originates in forests that are responsibly managed to meet the social, economic, and ecological needs of present and future generations.
In 2008 we also began working with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) to purchase and distribute renewable energy certificates, or RECs, on behalf of our customers. For one cent per book, journal, or magazine, Allen Press will work with the BEF on behalf of customers to acquire renewable energy certificates to offset the energy used specifically in producing their publications. Allen Press will also assist customers in their efforts to promote their commitment to sustainability through the purchase of renewable energy certificates to offset the energy used in their editorial or business office.
Allen Press seeks to use inks and solvents that limit damage to the environment. On an ongoing basis, we refine, reduce, and eliminate products that are proven to be environmentally unfriendly or unhealthy for our employees, our community, and our planet. Currently, we use vegetable oil–based inks for printing. These inks are naturally low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds), they are non-toxic, and they produce fewer emissions. We are constantly testing new products in an effort to achieve the least environmental impact possible without sacrificing quality.
On the pre-printing side of the operation, a variety of online and digital tools allow us to provide paperless workflow alternatives for our customers. We also use FLH-Z processors coupled with Brilla lithographic printing plates from Fuji that require fewer chemical changes, resulting in a 300%+ increase in the life cycle of the chemicals compared to usage with our previous processing equipment.
We also recognize the importance of responsibly managing our waste stream. We have recycled paper, aluminium printing plates, and corrugated cardboard for more than 20 years. The polywrap used for mailing publications is made of a recyclable material, and our shipping cartons are constructed of 20–30% postconsumer waste (PCW). Employees support our sustainability mission through grassroots efforts to recycle aluminum cans, plastic bottles, office paper, and home computer equipment.
A full-time safety coordinator oversees in-plant safety and compliance with state and federal government regulations and requirements. The safety coordinator also serves on the Facilities Conservation Committee in an advisory capacity.
We recognize the importance of communicating with internal and external stakeholders about on-going company sustainability efforts. Regular communication is distributed through the Allen Press Facebook page, Twitter, email announcements, and press releases as appropriate. Communication includes but is not limited to new initiatives launched, certifications received, audits passed, website updates, report and document updates, and recycling events.