SGP certification provides the benchmark for sustainable business operations for printing facilities. Certification requires a facility to undergo a rigorous third-party audit, ensuring compliance with the established program criteria. Facilities achieving certification represent all print processes – digital, screen printing, commercial lithographic, and flexographic. Certified facilities include those with only 5 employees up to over 100, as well as inplant operations such as the US Government Publishing Office.
SGP Resource Partners are non-profits, NGO’s or educational institutions engaged in promoting, teaching or researching in the areas of graphic arts and/or sustainability. SGP Resource Partners are subject matter experts that assure our entire community is empowered with on-target and current thinking to advance sustainability in the printing industry supply chain. As a SGP Resource partner, SGP will refer companies to the organization when appropriate. SGP Resource Partners are required to report to SGP each year on activities. They are encouraged to use the SGP Resource Partner logo where appropriate and in conformance with the logo use guidelines.
Materials and solutions providers are a key link in the sustainability chain. For printers working with consumables, media, inks, machinery or processes, our patrons are helping to make sustainability the new norm. In addition, the SGP Brand Leader patronage program provides an opportunity for brands to directly support SGP sustainability programs and activities.
The Sustainable Green Printing Partnership’s (SGP) multi-attribute certification is unique in the industry as it takes into account an entire print facility, its process, product and social areas. SGP certification elevates a printer into an elite group of top sustainable printers, recognized by print buyers and the printing industry.
Here we provide an overview of the SGP certification process.
There are no prerequisites to certification – except a strong commitment to sustainability. One team member should be responsible for driving the certification process and coordinating internal teams to address requirements.
The following timeline is a sample timeline. Each printer will follow their own path to certification based on their unique set of circumstances.
• Submit completed application with fee.
• Receive training on the use of the SGP Impact Tracker
• Choose sustainability coordinator
• Establish sustainability committee
• Develop sustainability policy
• Begin working on development and implementation of the Sustainability Management System
• Continue working on development and implementation of the Sustainability Management System. Ensure documentation procedures have been established and procedures are written for each required element.
• Identify, document and develop action plan for first continuous improvement project
• Establish documentation strategy for Best Management Practices
• Conduct Environmental Audit
• Conduct Safety and Health Audit
• Conduct Energy Audit
• Conduct Indoor Air Quality Testing
• Complete the SGP Impact Tracker
• Ensure completion of all required documentation for Best Management Practices 13 months
• Submit application to the SGP program and request a certification audit 24 months
• Conduct first Sustainability Management System Audit and Management Review
• Consider any new directions – document all changes made to SMS!
Qualities of a success process for SGP Certification –
Empowered sustainability champion
A company that successfully engages in the SGP certification process begins by selecting and enabling a sustainability champion. This champion will become the subject matter expert and the touchpoint for the company’s sustainability initiatives, responsible for establishing the system driving certification. To be successful, management recognizes that the champion will need to dedicate time each week towards this initiative so that sustainability becomes one part of their job responsibilities.
After certification, the champion ensures that all within the facility recognize the importance of the SGP Certification, and are able to effectively communicate the success of the facility to all stakeholders. This includes conversations with customers, suppliers, other employees, community members, etc. Most importantly, the champion ensures the company’s sustainability journey is constant and on target.
SGP certification benefits printing facilities in countless ways. Beyond differentiating a printer in the competitive marketplace, instituting sustainable practices creates real cost and resource savings. Below are just a few statistics from our certified facilities’ recent annual reports:
• Reduced energy by 367,00 kw/year saving $25,000 annually
• Reduced energy use by 10% by putting thermostats on timers; keeping thermostat at 76
in summer and 72 in winter; and using LED and CFL light bulbs
• Significant waste reductions: Year 1: 115,000 lbs.; Year 2: 250,000 lbs.; Year 3: projected 850,000 lbs
• Reduced trash to landfill by 30% by recycling paper, cardboard, and plastic
• Diverted 78 tons of material from landfill by increasing recycling
• Reduced green house gas emissions by 2.42 tons
Reduced Resource Consumption
• Reduced water usage by 145,000 gallons by discontinuing use of old in-house treatment
unit, saving $5,000 a month
• Moved 100% of corporate HQ office paper from 10% to 30% post consumer waste
• 59% reduction in water usage through the installation of a water heater with On Demand
heating, installation of low flush toilets
• Increased solvent recycling by 76% – saving $16,000 a year
|Remote Audit (in lieu of On-site during COVID Pandemic)||$1,500|
|Desk Top Audit||$1,000|
|Corrective Action Required (CAR) /hr||$75|
|Annual Renewal (includes SGP Impact Tracker)||$800|
*Contact SGP for multi-location discounts. Fees effective Feb. 1, 2021 and subject to change.
The application fee must be submitted with the completed application. The facility will be given access to the SGP Impact Tracker to begin the certification process.
The audit fee will be invoiced once the onsite audit has been completed and reviewed. This fee includes pre-audit review of documentation. Additional fees may be charged if corrective actions are required (see below). The SGP Impact Tracker is renewed at this time.
The facility undergoing an audit is responsible for the travel expenses of the auditor. Costs will be kept as reasonable as possible. They will be invoiced along with the audit fee.
Desk Top Audit
Facilities with a proven track record of uneventful onsite audits and annual reports are eligible for a Desk Top Audit (DTA) instead of an Onsite Audit. DTAs also do not require auditor travel.
During times where travel is restricted, SGP Auditors perform a remote audit. It includes additional interaction beyond submittal of information through the SGP Impact Tracker.
SGP Impact Tracker
All facilities must use the SGP Impact Tracker, an online dashboard, to report and monitor their metrics and other certification requirements. With access to this online database and dashboard, SGP Certified facilities can track and store data in a central location for ease of reporting. Access to the SGP Impact Tracker requires a user fee. It is included in the SGP Application and SGP Annual Fee.
Corrective Action Required
When a corrective action is required (CAR), an auditor may have to spend additional time interacting with the applicant. If so, an additional $75 per hour will be charged. This fee is invoiced with the audit fee.
When a corrective action is required (CAR), an auditor may have to spend additional time interacting with the applicant. This fee is invoiced with the audit fee.
Discounted Multi Location Rates are available for three or more locations of the same corporation!
Contact SGP for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prices are effective June 2018 and subject to change. Fees are non-refundable. Check, Visa, Master Card, American Express or wire transfer accepted.
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.
What is SGP certification?
SGP certification is given to facilities that have met the rigorous standards of the criteria developed by the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP). This is the only whole-facility certification program developed as a collaborative effort of the entire printing industry to define what it means to be a sustainable printer and to offer credible validation by a third party.
Why should my facility get certified by SGP?
SGP certification provides credibility 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 a strong return on investment (ROI) by identifying operational improvements and waste reductions. SGP also sets facilities on the path of continous improvement offering ongoing benefits. Read about the impact of SGP certification.
Who can apply?
Any commercial printing, packaging, label, screen, large format or related graphic communication facility located in the United States and Canada is eligible including binding, finishing and loose leaf facilities, in-plant printing operations, and printing departments within educational institutions.
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 are able to provide assistance as they have many tools and resources to help with the SGP certification process.
How much does it cost to get certified?
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 provide metrics in the SGP Impact Tracker.
What is the SGP Impact Tracker?
The SGP Impact Tracker gives printers a single, secure web platform to manage their certification from start to finish and help ensure continued progress as they seek to further reduce waste and improve efficiency.
SGP Impact Tracker allows facilities to:
What is the purpose of the required Sustainable Management System or (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 and how does it differ from a Desk Top Audit (DTA)?
The onsite audit is conducted by a trained SGP independent auditor. The auditor will ask to see documentation that your facility meets SGP criteria. You must schedule your onsite audit within one year of applying for SGP certification. The DTA is offered to facilities with a proven track record. It is less expensive and doesn’t require auditor travel. DTAs cannot be offered when there is a major change in the SGP criteria. Corporations pursuing a multi-location certification may have onsite audits at representative locations, but the balance must pass DTAs.
How long does certification last?
Facilities are certified for two years. During that time, certified printers must submit an annual report. SGP certified facilities must have an audit every two years to maintain certification.
Are there multi-location discounts?
If you have three or more locations that want to get certified, SGP has a reduced rate for the application, annual and desk top audit (DTA) fees. More significantly, only a representative number of facilities (depending on total) will need to pass an on-site audit and the balance pass DTAs. Contact SGP for additional details.
How can I learn more?
You can request more information on becoming SGP Certified, Brand Leader, Patron or Resource Partner by using our online Contact Us form.
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