Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS THE SUSTAINABLE GREEN PRINTING PARTNERSHIP? The Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) is the only whole facility certification program for the graphic communication industry. SGP provides third party certification through a publicly vetted set of criteria.

WHY SHOULD MY FACILITY GET CERTIFIED BY SGP? SGP certification provides validation in the marketplace.  Going beyond single attribute certification systems, SGP provides for third party validation of sustainability efforts thus avoiding “greenwashing”. Certification by the SGP program provides for a strong return on investment by identifying operational improvements and waste reductions. Additionally, the certification is a significant demonstration of your commitment to sustainability and is recognizable in the marketplace.

WHO CAN APPLY? Any commercial printing, packaging, screen, large format or related graphic communication facility located in the United States, Canada and Australia is eligible including binding, finishing and loose leaf facilities, in-plant printing operations, and printing departments within educational institutions (e.g. schools, universities, community colleges, etc.).

DO I NEED TO HIRE A CONSULTANT TO GO THROUGH THE PROCESS? No. Many facilities have completed the certification process using only internal staff. Your industry association may be able to provide some assistance as they have many tools and resources to help with the certification process.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GET CERTIFIED? The application and audit fees are found on the SGP website. If the applicant is a member of one of the industry associations supporting the SGP Partnership, the fees are reduced.

WHAT ARE THE GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR SGP CERTIFICATION? First, and foremost, all facilities must be in compliance with all applicable environmental, safety, health and employment regulations.  Any facility undergoing certification must adopt and implement a Sustainability Management System including the development of a publicly available sustainability policy, a sustainability committee, adopt an annual continuous improvement project; conduct bi-annual environmental, safety, health and energy audits; implement and document a set of mandatory best management practices; and complete the program’s required metrics form.

CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE PURPOSE OF THE REQUIRED SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (SMS)? The SMS provides the management framework for continuous improvement, which is the cornerstone of sustainability. Those printing operations that have achieved success with their program have implemented a management approach that provides the necessary mechanism for a company to develop the foundation for success.

WHAT DOES THE ON-SITE AUDIT PROCESS ENTAIL? The onsite audit is conducted by a trained SGP independent auditor. The auditor will ask to see documentation that your facility meets all identified SGP criteria. You must schedule your onsite audit within one year of applying for SGP certification.

HOW LONG DOES CERTIFICATION LAST? Facilities are certified for two years. During that time, certified printers must submit an annual report. They must reapply for certification on the second year and have an audit every two years to maintain certification.

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