Green Printing from Portugal to Iberia with the EU Ecolabel
Portugal’s success business Lidergraf Sustainable Printing is using the EU Ecolabel to advocate for more sustainability in the sector but also to attract like-minded customers.
Producing paper can be a resource intensive process. If the paper is then printed, potentially hazardous substances are added to the environmental footprint. The Portuguese company Lidergraf Sustainable Printing has set itself the mission to make sure that its printed paper does not leave a mark on nature.
The business has been leading the way in environmentally friendly printing in Portugal for more than two decades. “Sustainability is in our DNA”, says Andrea Carneiro, Lidergraf’s Chief Technical Officer. “To us, ‘sustainable printing’ is more than a brand claim, it is our belief.”
Since its foundation in 1994 as a small printshop based north of Porto, Lidergraf has paid utmost attention to holding true to its commercial promise. It was the first company in the sector to obtain several environmental certificates in Portugal. The most recent addition, and probably the strictest label obtained so far, is the EU Ecolabel certificate in the category Printed Paper Products.
Lidergraf’s interest in the EU Ecolabel started when the criteria for the product group Printed Paper were first introduced in 2012. Certified products must be recyclable, have a significantly reduced environmental impact and emissions of chemicals to air and water. It took Lidergraf several years to implement the strict requirements and to obtain the EU Ecolabel license.
The company’s tenacity regarding independently verified sustainability is paying off. “It demonstrates our commitment to nature and suits the notoriety for our brand,” says Carneiro. The approach of putting nature first lead to commercial success. The company has opened a second office in Lisbon in recent years and employs today 160 people.
Since Lidergraf’s products have been awarded the EU Ecolabel, the company has been approached by existing and new customers who want to have their products printed under the strict environmental principles the EU Ecolabel guarantees. One example is Portugal’s leading society magazine LUX, who has become in recent months the country’s first magazine fully printed in accordance with EU Ecolabel criteria.
Lidergraf success has inspired other businesses in the sector to reduce their environmental footprint and to consider applying for the EU Ecolabel. Carneiro’s hopes that their success will encourage more printing companies to reduce their footprint and foster the development of the EU Ecolabel in Portugal and beyond.