The launch event of EcoPrint 2012, the world's first exhibition dedicated to sustainable print, held in Berlin 26-27 September, has been declared a success by the organisers, visitors, exhibitors and EcoPrint Ambassadors.
There can be no doubt that there exists a strong appetite for knowledge and insight relating to sustainable print throughout the supply chain. Following the successful launch, EcoPrint is now well positioned to continue its concerted effort to raise the profile of print for those in the creative community while working to help make print a sustainable business to be in.
The evidence for this was illustrated by the packed-out seminar theatres and conference spaces and the diversity of the nearly 2,000 people that came through the doors over the two days. Feedback from exhibitors is that the quality of conversations was excellent, with many highlighting a number of serious, strategic business discussions with senior representatives who have the power to implement change at their organisations.
EcoPrint 2012 attracted leaders from throughout the supply chain - such as brand owners, agencies, printers and manufacturers - and from all over the world, including Australia, Europe, Middle East, US, UK and Asia, truly capturing the imaginations of those with a strategic interest in sustainability.
The breakdown of visitors was 15% brands and agencies, 55% Print Service Providers with the remaining visitors from Print Press, Marketing & Business Media, Manufacturers, Consultants and Specialists. These were drawn from 37 different countries and from the world's top print businesses, brands and agencies including: Volkswagen, Deutsche Post, DHL, Lego, Estee Lauder, Toyota, Coca Cola, IKEA, Bertelsmann, Thyssen Krupp, Scandic, Dusseldorf Airport, Imperial Tobacco, TBWA, DDB Realisation, BBDO Proximity, Dan Pearlman, Create Berlin, Triad and Art Directors Club among others.
Frazer Chesterman, Co-Director, EcoPrint: "During a Drupa year, it was clear that launching a new event concept would be challenging for the market as well as for us as exhibition organisers. However, the successful launch of EcoPrint proved there is a need for high quality information and insight in sustainability for the print and creative communities. The popularity of the conference sessions absolutely exceeded expectations and the international brands and visitors who made the effort to attend EcoPrint 2012 provided genuine input in seminars, sessions and discussions. Visitors attended from 37 different countries, demonstrating that the appetite for sustainability is strong, globally, and this also gave exhibitors and printers present an opportunity to look outside of the industry and consider their businesses in a global context."
Co-Director, Marcus Timson continues: "EcoPrint broadly established a new concept – an event dedicated to sustainability - and validated the fact that a focus on sustainability is needed in our industry. This was particularly clear from the standing-room-only conferences and seminars where the emphasis on sharing knowledge couldn't have been clearer."
Two themes prevalent throughout the show were eco-standards/labels and price versus sustainability. Despite their proliferation being a headache for printers, many felt well researched and fully-consulted upon labels might still have a place in our industry; helping to establish criteria for printers to follow in order to align with buyer's requirements and helping buyers establish fact from fiction. Meanwhile, it was clear from the various price-versus-sustainability debates that although pre-occupation with price can turn buyers away from sustainable print at present, huge market share awaits the printer/manufacturer that can achieve price parity or near parity, with the potential rewards justifying the research.
Having injected fresh impetus into the sustainability in print debate, the EcoPrint team is keen to maintain the momentum and last week also revealed details of EcoPrint 2013. Next year, the show will return to Berlin, co-locating with the WAN IFRA 'World Publishing Expo' at the Berlin Messe, 8-9 October. It will feature even more opportunities for networking with a new, higher-profile venue and improved visitor experience.
Concludes Chesterman: "Sustainability is a journey and EcoPrint 2012 has re-invigorated the sustainability debate in our industry – given it fresh focus and renewed momentum, and we now have a rare opportunity to promote print's enviable sustainable performance to our own community of leaders as well as specifiers, agencies and brands. We are, as Michael Braungart said, " a forming community" and I'm looking ahead now to EcoPrint 2013 with a great deal of positivity and excitement as we begin to evolve the event in line with feedback gathered from our experience last week."
Drawing upon the considerable high quality insight from EcoPrint 2012 – an EcoPrint Report will be published in November to out on record for the sustainable print community the themes, discussions and visions emanating from EcoPrint 2012.
What exhibitors, visitors and speakers said about EcoPrint:
Per-Ola Nilsson Technical Support, Print & Paper, IKEA Sweden: "The atmosphere at EcoPrint 2012 was great – the venue was really nice and, most importantly, the right size. I attended with a colleague who is new to the business who learned a great deal, both during the conferences and seminars as well as networking with people at the show. FM Brooks deserves our congratulations for the fantastic job in pulling this show together. The first year is the biggest challenge but the concept and theme worked – it's clear that sustainability is on the agenda of the biggest players and is quite simply a 'must' for anyone wishing to work with them.
"Generally in this industry I feel we spend too much time talking to each other when we should be explaining how great a material and how environmentally neutral paper is to key audiences and the general public instead. Today I think we have a lot of misunderstanding and a lack of knowledge about sustainability in print but I hope that, moving forward, EcoPrint will start to encourage us to do exactly this, with the whole supply chain working together to form a strong message and educate people."
Steve Wicks, Director, GreenPrint (Visitor, UK Based Print Manager): "As a company that combines green working practices and print management EcoPrint was an un-missable event for us. The seminar content was outstanding – Professor Braungart's presentation set the tone for the entire event when he asked printers to look outside of print itself and consider their businesses in a global context, beyond just what they do with their presses. The whole experience was refreshing and totally different to any industry event I've attended before – there was more time to listen to experts in their field, a convivial networking atmosphere and I connected with people I would not normally meet."
Thomas Fleckenstein, Director, Lokay (Visitor, German printer): "The first EcoPrint impressed me. The range of exhibitors was from offset to wide format digital printing technology. Indeed, for EcoPrint 2013, I would like to see more offset technology. However the presentations and talks were varied and inspiring and the event was professionally organized offering versatile environmentally friendly technologies and excellent speakers. I think EcoPrint will become the main forum for environmentally friendly printing, an event where new connections are made and opportunity is generated."
Stephen Goddard, Environmental Leadership Program Manager for HP's Graphic Solutions Business (Exhibitor): "EcoPrint really was a forum for sustainability leaders from across the printing industry value chain and we very much appreciated the opportunity to engage directly with those involved in sourcing print for major brands and retailers. Importantly, EcoPrint allowed us to better understand their print sustainability perspectives and emerging requirements, while demonstrating the advances HP continues to make in improving the sustainability profile of print."
Graham Moore, Director, Production Printing Business Group, Ricoh Europe (Exhibitor): "At EcoPrint, Ricoh met a broad spread of visitors with whom we shared our experiences of turning sustainable practices – such as our Reduce, Recycle and Reuse approach – into profitable business. Many visitors came eager to learn, and it was good to see the conference programme speaker sessions so well attended and packed with high-level content and good interactive debate. No one who attended EcoPrint can be left in any doubt that the environmental agenda has moved on from a case of 'if' to 'when'.
"In that sense, as Ricoh achieves leadership status, it feels a powerful responsibility to inspire and support our industry and customers to become more sustainable. There was tremendous interest at EcoPrint in our new Pro L4000 large format printer, and our GreenLine re-manufacturing initiative and Carbon Balanced Printing Programme really captured people's imagination. For Ricoh, EcoPrint proved to be a very worthwhile platform and focal point for the vital issue of sustainability in print and beyond."
Mike Horsten, Marketing Manager, Mimaki Europe (Exhibitor): "EcoPrint was a fabulous sustainability networking event, with many different opinions on the issue put forward by visitors and other exhibitors, both positive and negative. EcoPrint succeeded in gathering representatives from the entire supply chain, which gave us a valuable opportunity to show our sustainability roadmap to agencies, designers, brand owners and, of course, printers. I have no doubt the insight gained from EcoPrint's broad visitor base will prove essential as we continue our work to define and address the sustainability issues that our customers need to clarify to their own customers."