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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Ten tips for implementing CSR in an organisation

The following ten key tips are taken from an article that appeared in Ethical Corporation (, which I thought we interesting and worth commenting on.

  1. In a survey for the report, 93% of companies recognize the value of embedding CR into business processes yet only 49% of companies confirm that CR is a clear component of overall company strategy, and 49% or companies do not believe that they understand what is necessary to do to embed CR into their business.

  2. Embedding requires a simultaneous top-down and bottom-up approach – to ensure consistency and shared values at the same time as local ownership of issues and impacts.

  3. Corporate responsibility requires communication throughout the process – with different audiences, for different purposes, using different tools. CR communications can help to bridge the divide for colleagues and management, helping them to understand and feel part of the CR agenda.

  4. Don’t neglect commercialisation considerations; sustainable R&D needs to be married up with marketing, so make sure you anticipate challenges in introducing more sustainable products into your mainstream product offering, and capitalise on the knowledge and experience of marketing professionals to guide your efforts.

  5. A company’s sustainability risks and impacts – and its CR potential – may be closely tied to its activities up and down the value chain. Working with raw materials sourcing, contract manufacturing, logistics, distributors and customers can greatly increase your control over your CR objectives. For an increasing number of industries, such value-chain activity is essential to meeting consumer needs, reducing risk and expanding opportunity.

  6. Companies should be aware of the role of social media in giving voice to stakeholders, including local communities. Social media allows groups – even small community groups – to extend and magnify their messages, reaching much more influential audiences than they might have otherwise.

  7. Consider how NGO partnerships can help you meet community needs and aspirations while making use of your core strengths and position as a business.

  8. Setting and delivering on targets requires a fuller implementation plan – a road map – to bring together a clarification of the company’s objectives with the physical, financial, human and intellectual resources required to get there.

  9. Green lens: Looking at the business through a different “green lens” means people spot new opportunities to reduce impacts and costs by less obvious means. (M&S Case Study)

  10. Achieve a few early CR successes, and you might be excused for wanting to rest on your laurels. But CR isn’t something that can be “done” and left on a shelf – it’s a continual part of risk management and market creation. 

 I think one of the key tips given is the importance of both a top down and a bottom up approach. Top down is in my view essential. If there is no support or empathy at Director or Board level, then there is little chance of success. Yet, to achieve measurable success, you need to align this with a strong bottom up strategy. We have experience of this at Greenhouse.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

What is EMAS?

What is EMAS?

The EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a management tool for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance. The scheme has been available for participation by companies since 1995 and was originally restricted to companies in industrial sectors. 

Since 2001 EMAS has been open to all economic sectors including public and private services. 

In 2009 the EMAS Regulation was revised and modified for the second time. Regulation (EC) No 1221/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 on the voluntary participation by organisations in a Community eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS) was published on 22 December 2009 and entered into force on 11 January 2010. 

Greenhouse Graphics were awarded EMAS in 2010, one of only a handful of companies in the graphics sector to hold this level of accreditation. Greenhouse Graphics is also ISO14001 registered.

EMAS Awards

An EMAS Award is the most prestigious award in environmental management and is only handed out to top performing companies and public authorities
You can find a list of all nominees by category on the official EMAS Awards website. More information about the exemplary ways in which the nominees are managing their water use will also be presented on the website shortly.

If you would like to find out the benefits of procuring from an EMAS accredited company, please feel free to contact Greenhouse Graphics Directors Ian Crossley or Timi van Houten

Binding alternatives to saddle stitching

We often get asked about different methods of binding magazines and books using alternative methods than saddle stitching. Here are a few of the more common alternatives.

Perfect binding

Perfect binding puts all the pages or signatures together, roughens and flattens the edge and then a flexible adhesive attaches the paper cover to the spine. Paperback novels are one example of perfect binding.
Booklets, telephone directories, and some magazines use perfect binding methods. Compared to other binding methods, perfect binding is quite durable and has a low to medium cost. It can be used with publications that are several inches thick.

Burst binding

Burst binding is performed by removing a small slot from the spine of the text at folding stage, so no allowance needs to be made in the spine. The adhesive flows through the slot to give added strength to the book. It is most important that the slot removal operation is performed correctly and consistently during the folding stage.

PUR binding

PUR (polyurethane reactive) glue is the most durable binding glue available, offering design flexibility for any number of applications, including catalogues, instruction manuals and art books.
PUR adhesives differ from conventional EVA hot melts, once cured the adhesive's higher molecular weight provides a tough, pliable bond that is resistant to temperature extremes.
PUR adhesive is impervious to temperature extremes. The page pull strength of a PUR-bound book is more than 2.5 times that of a standard perfect-bound book using EVA adhesive. Books bound with PUR adhesive simply will not fall apart, even under heavy usage in the most demanding conditions.

Thread sewing

Thread sewing (otherwise known as section sewing) we sew through the spine of each signature with a single thread thus enhancing the strength and quality of the book and enabling it to lay flat open. Typically section sewing is applied for books that require heavy usage for an extended period of time, such as: text books, catalogue & brochures, library books, and religious publications.

If you have any further questions about magazine printing or sustainable printing then please feel free to call the greenhouse team on 01256 880770.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Proofing for print

Proofing is a crucial stage in the printing production cycle. It is important that you understand how this process works, what your options are and what are the implications of signing off a proof ready for print production.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the document is prepared correctly, ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the document is correct lies with the client. The proofing process is the stage that these checks are implemented. You need to satisfy yourself that the proofing method you have chosen is suitable for your needs, and that the proof supplied has been thoroughly checked before agreeing for the job to be sent to production.

A Commercial Printer's job is to ensure that the job they produce is accurate to the proof you have signed off.

Various proofing methods:
There are several methods of proofing a document prior to production, depending on your proofing requirements.

Screen PDF (Softproof):
A Screen PDF gives a proof that confirms the layout of the document to be printed. The layout, typography and positioning of elements in the final printed piece will be accurate to the Screen PDF supplied. This is the most popular proofing method used by our clients and is provided free of charge bu greenhouse.
A Screen PDF should not be considered to be colour accurate, due to the calibration settings of various computers and monitors it is viewed upon. Also, it is very difficult to tell how pixel based images and pictures on a Screen PDF will print when reproduced in a commercial printing environment. This reflects the need for higher resolution images to be used in the lithographic printing process, than is required by a PC monitor.
If you print out the pdf supplied to your desktop printer at your premises, you should not assume that the colours you reproduce will be the same as those supplied to you in the final printed piece. Colours produced locally are nearly always innaccurate unless the desktop printer has been calibrated to professional settings. Even if your desktop printer has been calibrated, the Commercial Printer will not agree to match any colour from your desktop printer. Only Contract Digital Proofs supplied by ourselves should be considered to be strongly colour accurate.
Use a Softproof PDF to check page layout, spellings, and design features only.

Non Contract Digital Proof:
A Non Contract Digital Proof is a hard copy printed proof supplied to a customer. The Non Contract Digital Proof has all the same benefits of a Screen PDF (Softproof), but is supplied as a hard copy. It is often easier to spot typographical and layout errors on a printed piece rather than on screen.
In terms of colour, the Non Contract Digital Proof should not be considered colour accurate, but is normally much closer to the actual colours in the final printed piece (dependant on the paper used) than a Screen PDF softproof.

Contract Digital Proof:
A Contract Digital Proof is a calibrated hard copy printed proof supplied to a customer. The Contract Digital Proof has all the same benefits of a Screen PDF softproof, but is supplied as a colour calibrated hard copy.
The Contract Digital Proof is produced on a calibrated inkjet printer and can be considered 90% accurate in terms of colour to a job produced on a lithographic printing press using a coated sheet in CMYK. This type of proof combines all the benefits of Non Contract Digital Proof, but provides a strongly indicative representation of colour, when printing the final piece on a coated sheet in CMYK.
The Contract Digital Proof cannot be 100% accurate because of the differences in screening technologies used by the inkjet proofing system, and the different paper stocks used in the final printed piece.
In terms of colour, the Contract Digital Proof should not be considered colour accurate if you are not printing the final piece on a coated sheet. If you are printing on an uncoated sheet it is very likely colours will not be accurate. In addition, if you are printing the final piece outside of the CMYK colour model (ie additional spot colours and metalics) or with additional effects (varnishes and laminates), these will impact on the colour produced on the final printed piece which cannot be replicated by the Contract Digital Proof.

Press Proof:
Press proofs are the ultimate proof, because they use the same material, process and paper as the final printed piece. They will be a very accurate representation of what the final printed piece will look like.
A press proof will not show the effect of additional post press processes on the printed piece such as a lamination, foiling, Spot UV or Overall UV Varnish.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Old tech that delivers marketing goals

We live in a digital age and marketers are falling over themselves to chase that cutting edge channel that will deliver them new audiences.
But in the rush, one can forget the simple old tech established channels that deliver results.
A great example of this is local community based magazines. These magazines allow the marketer on a small budget to target very specific geographical and socioeconomic groups with great precision in a flexible and affordable way. Often very well received in a community - certainly by the older generations - these magazines align perfectly with a well thought out segmentation, targeting and positioning plan.
Even better, combine them with new digital channels, using elements such as QR codes on the pages, and the marketer will be providing their customers or prospects with a broad experience that will appeal to a wide audience.
In my locality a site like, highlights how local community based magazines can be used by marketers targeting local areas in a cost effective and measurable way.

Monday, 4 June 2012

The printed piece that always delivers

As someone with a fair knowledge of the printing sector, I remember being approached at a networking event by an SME business owner who knew my background.

'Look at this' he said, and proudly delivered in front of my eyes his new box of business cards.
'£5 for 100!!' he beamed at me, delighted with the bargain that he had driven.

I looked at the cards and saw his home renovations business advertised prominently in full colour.

'Well' I said. 'If I was a householder who had not met you, and you approached to renovate the most important investment (my house) I have, I would think this guy had his business cards done yesterday at a motorway service station and for all I know could have left the country next week. Am I going to let him near or into my house??'

His smile turned to a frown.

The lesson is:

Your business card does NOT really function as a vehicle for transferring contact details. You can do this with a pen and a sheet of paper or with a phone or a number of other means.

Your business card acts as a first point of engagement to engender interest and reinforce positive perceptions about who and what you are.

Many years ago at University I was told by my Sociology Lecturer that 80% of the impression you gain of another person is attained within the first 5 minutes of meeting - AND that perceptions once formed (whether right or wrong) are almost impossible (and, if possible, expensive in terms of time and money) to change.

Make the right impression first time - don't be embarrassed by your business card. For business success, it could be the best printing investment in time and money you make.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Is print, as a communications channel, on the rise again

I was at a weekend course in digital marketing recently and the group were talking about various digital marketing communication tools.

When the subject of email marketing came up I looked at my course notes and it stated: 'one of the cheapest and easy to measure methods of communication'. However, the feeling in the room amongst marketers was somewhat different. Comments included:

Most young people avoid email and converse via social networks
Spam, spam, spam, spam... (and it even has a major carbon footprint according to MCafee.)
I spend too much of my time going through emails that are not relevant to my job.

The comments got me thinking about statistics I had heard from (obviously with a point to make) that 83% of 18-24 year old surveyed believed that reading from paper is nicer than reading off a screen.

My mind also went back to a Management Diploma course I did when we reviewed different methods of communication in an office. I heard the horror stories of email rants and reactions that are possible due to the ease of access to email and the dreaded send button (and the remoteness of the recipient).

 So are we experiencing the start of the decline of email as a communication tool for marketing? Possibly.

Its popularity is based on its ease of access and affordability - but its assets are also its greatest weaknesses resulting in many ill-thought out, poorly planned and ineffective communications that cause as much annoyance (and damage) as interest.

Its recent rise in popularity has meant hard times for those involved in traditional publishing and print based industries.

Yet there are interesting things happening in the world of printed communications.

QR codes are very effective at taking offline communications online and now are seen extensively on magazine advert, billboards and the like. The use of PURLs via cross media marketing do a very similar job and enable marketers to message across a number of different channels including print, email and social media. New digital technologies are reducing the cost of printed products and enhancing their effect by utilising improved visual effects, textile appeal and smell!! And the case for print as the environmentally sound messaging medium (www.twosides,.info) is being made after years of being the whipping boy for most environmental groups.

Yet the key answer sought by the modern day marketing communications professional is ROI.The channel choice is insignificant compared to the results that a campaign delivers.And an increasing number of campaigns now use more than one channel. Print has numerous USP's and can deliver these to the communications mix working alongside other traditional and new media.

After a torrid few years it could be that the printed medium may have found its feet.

Pricing in an economic recession

For organisations of all sizes, an economic recession usually results is a call for reduced prices by the customer/consumer. Reduced pricing leads to lower margins , lower profits and less investment. The end of this cycle can be the decline of the organisation and, possibly, its ultimate demise.

But not all organisations seem to suffer the same. Indeed some seem to prosper. Why is this so?

Well, the reasons are many, but maintaining a viable pricing strategy is one key component of successful organisations.

Simply put, you can base pricing on 'cost', 'competitors' or use a 'marketing based pricing' approach.

The former two are self explanatory. But it is the marketing based approach that is most likely to deliver your organisation the margins that will allow you survive and even prosper in tough economic times.

A marketing based pricing strategy can be summarised by this quote from Ries and Trout.

‘All that exists in the world of marketing are perceptions in the mind of the customer or prospect. The perception is the reality. Everything else is an illusion.’
Ries and Trout – The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

The two largest expenditures most individuals make in their lives are on houses and on cars. Yet are these rational choices or emotive choices? Watch any of the many relocation programmes on the TV  and you will see it is definitely the latter. Maslow's respected work on the 'Hierarchy of Needs' reinforces this.

Here are four things that any organisation can do to encourage emotive behavior in their customer and use this to maintain commercially viable pricing:
  • Understand your customers wants and needs.
  • Deliver a positive personal experience with the product/service.
  • Communicate recommendations from respected others.
  • Instigate and encourage positive press and peer review from independent source.
 No matter what you sell you can employ these simply tools to deliver outstanding results.