Photo: Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callydrias), Sierra Santa Cruz Reserve, Guatemala (Credit: Swallowtail Garden Seeds)

Sustainability is no longer just an option in today’s world – it’s a necessity. As a result, a growing number of companies in the printing industry are taking significant strides to reduce their carbon footprint. One initiative leading this change is the Carbon Balanced Paper and Print program designed to offset carbon emissions of printing operations through the conservation efforts of World Land Trust (WLT). 

Global Growth Extends into North America 

Globally, 78 printing companies have now carbon balanced their annual greenhouse gas emissions via the Carbon Balanced program.  The program has been particularly successful in the UK and Ireland where 77 printers have signed up.   The North American program, launched in late 2023, is gaining traction with the addition of its first printer, Hudson Printing from Salt Lake City.  

“Taking responsibility for our carbon impact was the natural next step, and we are thrilled to be part of the new Carbon Balanced Printer program in North America.  Sustainability is important to the people at Hudson and important to our customers. While we work to reduce our carbon impact, we are delighted that our offset commitment supports the conservation efforts of World Land Trust,” says CEO and owner Paul Hudson. 

Hudson Printing’s carbon offset is equivalent to the preservation of 834,013 square meters of land or 156 NFL football fields every year. This contribution highlights the potential for other North American printers to make a tangible difference in carbon offsetting contributions from the printing community. 

How Carbon Balancing Works 

From a basic perspective, carbon balancing involves calculating the total annual greenhouse gas emissions from a printer’s operations and offsetting these emissions through projects that protect and restore threatened tropical habitats.  

The World Land Trust plays a crucial role in managing some of our planet’s most important conservation projects, which are highly effective in storing CO2 and protecting forest habitats that are at risk, including numerous endangered species. Currently, the Carbon Balanced program supports four pivotal World Land Trust projects; the Laguna Grande Reserve in Guatemala, Khe Nuoc Trong in Vietnam, Sierra De Xilitla in Mexico, and the Nangaritza Valley in Ecuador.  

The program works in partnership with the World Land Trust to ensure that carbon emissions generated by printing operations are balanced by the carbon stocks saved when WLT conserves ecologically important forest areas under imminent threat of clearance. These standing forests lock-in carbon that would otherwise be released, while continuing to absorb CO2 throughout their lifetime. The protected areas not only sequester carbon but also promote biodiversity, aiding the natural world’s recovery from environmental damage and climate change.  

Since its launch over 12 years ago, the global Carbon Balanced Paper and Print program has been used by over 5,000 companies to contribute positively to climate change and biodiversity, as well as help companies meet their climate change commitments. This has resulted in offsetting over 470,000 metric tons of CO2 and protecting over 75,000 acres of forest habitat by WLT.  

Since launching in North America in the spring of 2021, over 35 companies now carbon balance their paper orders, including several high-profile brands such Columbia Sportswear, Johnny Was, Karen Kane, Naked Cashmere, Penguin Random House, and more.  

Benefits for Printers and Their Customers 

Certified Carbon Balanced Printers can proudly display the World Land Trust logo, a mark showing their commitment to sustainability. This certification offers many advantages, including: 

  • Enhanced Brand Reputation: Demonstrating environmental responsibility can attract sustainably minded clients and consumers – both of which help foster brand loyalty.
  • Market Differentiation: In a competitive market, being a certified Carbon Balanced Printer provides a unique selling point, helping printers stand out.
  • Environmental Impact: By offsetting carbon emissions, printers directly contribute to the preservation of endangered forests and species, making a tangible difference in the fight against climate change.

Paul Sumner, Marketing Director at Go Inspire, highlights the commercial benefits: “For us, it’s about the long-term goal, not short-term cost. In the future, I don’t see anyone buying print from a source that will have a negative impact on the environment.” 

By offsetting carbon emissions and supporting conservation projects, printers can significantly reduce their environmental impact – enhancing not only their environmental credentials but also playing a pivotal role in global conservation efforts. As more companies join this initiative, the collective effort will not only help protect our planet but also set a new standard for corporate responsibility in the printing sector. 

For more information on becoming a certified Carbon Balanced Printer, please contact info@carbonbalancedpaperna.com

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