FESPA’s Profit For Purpose funds have secured an Ecolabel victory for screen and digital printers. Funds from the programme have been deployed to finance the participation of print sustainability specialist Paul Machin in key discussions around the forthcoming EU Ecolabel for printed paper. Working through Intergraf, the international confederation for printing and allied industries – with whom FESPA collaborates closely – Machin was involved in a series of EU Ecolabel Board debates over the label’s definitions.

His contribution was instrumental in two key victories for screen and digital printers. Firstly, Machin’s lobbying efforts ensured that the screen printing process was accepted as being suitable for the label, having initially been discounted as a ‘dirty process’. Secondly, his expert technical insights have secured exemption for screen and digital printing from the label’s restrictions on VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions. Machin successfully argued that the restrictions on emissions would impose an unfair restraint to trade for screen and digital printers.

Before the EU Ecolabel for printed products becomes applicable it will undergo a scrutiny period by the European Parliament as well as the European Council.

The EU Ecolabel helps consumers to identify products and services that have a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle, from the extraction of raw material through to production, use and disposal. Recognised throughout Europe, the EU Ecolabel is a voluntary scheme, which means that producers, importers and retailers can choose to apply for the label for their products. Criteria are developed and revised in a transparent way by a group of experts and stakeholders. The functioning of the EU Ecolabel is set through a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council. Its daily management is carried out by the European Commission together with bodies from the Member States and other stakeholders.

Chris Smith, responsible for FESPA’s Planet Friendly programme, said, ‘There is strong demand from print buyers for products carrying an EU Ecolabel, so it’s important for screen and digital printers to be able to respond. For printers to comply, the EU Ecolabel specifications have to be realistic and achievable. Paul’s technical, chemical, legal and environmental expertise has helped the EU Ecolabel Board to understand the real-world requirements of these printing processes. The result is a significant victory for FESPA’s European community of printers.’

Paul Machin is a long-standing consultant to FESPA within the scope of its Planet Friendly programme. Within his remit for FESPA, Paul Machin also participates actively in Intergraf’s Environmental Working Party and in the Intergraf CHEMI group, which deals with the impact of REACH, the European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use. Paul also contributes a regular Planet Friendly blog published on www.fespa.com.

Forthcoming FESPA events include:
.    FESPA Mexico 2012, 20-22 September 2012, Mexico City, Mexico
.    FESPA MitteleuropaischerKonferenz, 24 October, 2012, Frankfurt
.    FESPA Brasil 2013, 13-16 March 2013, São Paulo, Brazil
.    FESPA 2013, 25-29 June 2013, London, UK
.    FESPA Digital 2014, 20-23 May 2014, Munich, Germany