What GREENGUARD Gold Certification Means for Print Professionals

September 16, 2020

Commercial printing and sustainability are not something that people would put together. In fact, too often commercial and industrial print are seen as NOT environmentally friendly. However, this is not the case at Konica Minolta. As a global corporation with a large footprint in manufacturing, we have taken great steps to ensure we have a minimal impact on our environment. This also extends to the output of our production print product lines, where volatile organic compounds (VOC) have been part of the challenge for print providers for decades. Konica Minolta is committed to sustainability and we are following our long-term environmental plan: EcoVision 2050, for which we recently changed the target year to achieve Carbon Minus status from 2050 to 2030.

As part of this plan, we aim to reduce CO2 emissions at our production facilities by 20 percent through our very own Green Factory Certification system. And, to help our customers overcome the stigma that production printing is not eco-friendly, we have gone through great lengths to develop products that are environmentally safe. We now have the GREENGUARD Gold Certification as proof of our commitment.

What is GREENGUARD Gold Certification?

As one step toward our sustainability goals, Konica Minolta has worked with UL, a global company focused on sustainability and safety, to earn their GREENGUARD Gold Certification for our AccurioWide Inks. GREENGUARD certification is a rigorous, scientific process of testing products for harmful VOCs in line with international standards and the highest ethical principles for health and safety.  The GREENGUARD Gold certification standard goes one step further ensuring that VOCs used in manufacture of products have lower emission levels for safe use in sensitive environments, such as schools and healthcare facilities.

This is so important because studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other researchers have found that VOCs are common in indoor environments and levels may be two to a thousand times higher than outdoors. UL states on their website, “Any approach towards more sustainable lifestyles, buildings or products must address potential human exposure to pollutants and chemicals and associated health effects.” In addition, UL reveals “There may be anywhere from 50 to hundreds of individual VOCs in the indoor air at any one time…At high concentrations, some VOCs are toxic.” 

GREEENGUARD Gold Certification Ensures Customers Inks are Safe

We often forget about indoor air quality is equally important to outdoor. Clean, chemical free air is so important that in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development, goal number three for participating countries reads: “By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination.” Without a doubt, this goal includes indoor air quality and its effects on people. Products (such as production printers) that we surround ourselves with in the work environment can have devastating effects on human health.

Print professionals have a long history of dealing with VOCs with many years of federal, state and local laws set in place to protect plant staff and the environment. Anyone who has visited an offset printing plant will remember the familiar, sometimes overpowering, odor of the inks and other compounds used.  Many facilities include expensive ventilation systems to purify the air by reducing the concentration of VOCs, keeping in compliance with federal, state, and local laws safeguarding the health and safety of staff.

Production print product manufacturers, like Konica Minolta, are building safer digital presses and printers by creating color toner and inks that are low in VOCs. Our efforts in this area include our cutsheet toner and inkjet presses and our recently introduced wide-format printers, the AccurioWide 160 and 200. The AccurioWide products are hybrid digital wide-format printers that are designed to use LED UV curing inks low in VOCs.

What effect will this have on print providers’ businesses?

Print professionals can rest easy knowing that their environment will be safe when using the AccurioWide inks. No costly ventilation systems will be needed when installing an AccurioWide product because the inks will meet federal, state, and local laws for low VOC emission requirements. In fact, we earned GREENGUARD Gold Certification — a standard for excellence recognized globally. GREENGUARD GOLD certification means the AccurioWide inks will meet the strict VOC requirements of federal, state, and local governments. Even the guidelines for the state of California Department of Public Health (CDPH), also known as California Section 01350 and considered the most stringent in the 50 states.

By using our GREENGUARD GOLD certified inks, print providers’ customers will also know their wide-format prints and signage are safe for any indoor environment. With many public and private sector clients now requiring GREENGUARD certified manufacturing to meet their own high standards for environmental health and safety, print providers will now be in compliance opening a whole new avenue of opportunities for business.

Print providers can add this as one more step in their business plan to be part of a greater cause – for the health and safety of their staff and clients. Here are some highlights of the advantages:

Benefits for Print Providers

  • In compliance for Low VOC standards
  • In compliance with all local, state, and federal VOC regulations
  • Provide an Eco-friendly, safe environment for staff
  • Provide additional ‘Bid’ opportunities to expand revenue and market penetration
  • Provide print customers safe and sustainable Eco-friendly print products

Benefits for Print Customers

  • Print products that are safe to all environments both indoor and outdoor
  • Promote an Eco-friendly environment
  • Know that prints and signs are safe, even for use in schools and hospitals

Commercial and in-plant printers looking for a wide-format solution should consider the advantages of Konica Minolta’s GREENGUARD GOLD certified AccurioWide products and all the benefits it brings to employees, customers, and the environment.

Download the AccurioWide brochure to learn more about our AccurioWide 160 and 200 hybrid UV LED wide format inkjet printers.

Todd Smith
Manager, Product Marketing, Specialty and Wide Format Products

Todd Smith is responsible for product planning and marketing for wide format and inkjet product initiatives for Konica Minolta. He has managed many successful products and programs in the office, production print and wide format markets. His goals include offering the best products for our customers with the right fit of solutions and services to accompany them. In his free time, you can find him in the studio working on music or snowboarding down very large mountains.