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Inside Retail & Kirk Group

Why printing is the missing piece of the sustainability journey

There’s no question that sustainable packaging is part and parcel of just being a savvy retailer these days, from using recyclable mailer bags to compostable bubble wrap. Brands are more aware of their impact on the environment and consumers expect – and demand – that businesses are eco-conscious and launch initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint. 

More and more consumers are now looking to their favourite brands to put environmental concerns first, and those that don’t may lose out to competitors that do.

In fact, a survey from McKinsey revealed last year that 60 per cent of respondents are going out of their way to recycle and purchase products in environmentally friendly packaging. In addition, 67 per cent of respondents consider a brand’s use of sustainable materials as a purchasing factor when making buying decisions and since the pandemic hit, 57 per cent have made “significant” changes to their lifestyle to lessen their environmental impact.

But there’s one important piece of the sustainability journey that most brands are forgetting: printing.

“Traditionally, the printing industry has been slow to take up sustainable practices from both a process and technical perspective, but that’s slowly changing, as emerging technologies are coming to the fore in Australia and New Zealand,” admits John Kapiniaris, General Manager at Kirk Group, which has been a leader in the local printing industry for 50 years. 

The supply chain is a complex process with numerous touchpoints and consideration needs to be given to each stage of the journey with a real focus on making change and embracing new consumer buying demands and habits.

Ultra-clean, game-changing flexo

The good news is that it’s not just the packaging substrate that has become more sustainable but printing carriers too. 

“Kirk is the leader in pioneering new technologies and our recent investment in water wash technology will bring a step-change towards more sustainable packaging production,” says Mark Henderson, Senior Business Development Manager at Kirk.

“With the introduction of the New Kodak Flexcel NX Ultra plate, we can deliver the same results that our brand and print clients have come to expect of us, without the use of harmful solvents and VOCs.”

The New Kodak Ultra Clean technology solves the long-standing fundamental challenges associated with aqueous plate processing and enables a clean, consistent, and extremely high-performing flexo plate that allows brands and printers to leverage a more cost-effective and sustainable print process.

The benefits have been apparent to early adopters. Sustainability is at the forefront of many of brands’ requirements, and Kirk is aiming to set a new standard in the Australian market.

Kirk continues to drive a commitment to innovation and the development of future products that combine the highest quality, print efficiency and environmental stewardship.

Visit the Kirk Group website to find out how we can help you achieve your print and brand goals.