Sustainability reporting is not a new phenomenon. But it is still new to many companies - and for many, it is no longer optional to issue a report. With new regulations in place, around 6,000 companies across Europe are required to publish sustainability reports in 2018. Many make 2017 their test run year.

EU member states further raise the bar on reporting

Some member states go even further. One example is Sweden, that has significantly raised the bar for sustainability reporting. In addition to the EU requirements, Swedish companies with more than 250 employees and a turnover of SEK 350 million or more are now required to create sustainability reports - in total about 1,600 Swedish companies.

Of course, many companies across Europe have a long history of providing information on their impact on society and the environment as a very concrete way of showing how their values translate into action. These companies have understood that sustainability is a great way to differentiate as a brand.

Be relevant locally

When going through the pain of creating a sustainability report it should be logical to also review the way the report is being produced and distributed. In applying smart new print solutions, you have the opportunity to make your report stand out.

Digital print technologies enable you to easily create localized versions of your marketing materials - including sustainability reports. How much more powerful would a sustainability report be to your partners and employees in markets if it came with a local image on the cover? What if the local projects were featured in the introduction? Small edits can have a lot of impact on local employees feeling part of a larger sustainability goal: “... there is no denying the cultural impact and sense of pride that employees receive from helping to make the world a better and more sustainable environment for all.

Sustainable printing for sustainability reports

Modern print platforms allow you to always print locally while giving you full control over content and quality. Having materials produced where they are needed drastically reduces transportation distances. And transport continues a major source of carbon emissions. Thus shipping hundreds of sustainability reports around the globe seems counter productive. Local production combined with fast delivery also empower your offices to print on-demand or in other words, to avoid excess printing - which in turn dramatically cuts paper waste.

One best practice on how to handle the brand management and printing process is the way that Zehnder Group solved it. By implementing an end-to-end solution by Gelato Globe, the company was able to cut its carbon emission by 81 percent for transport of printed materials.