Highlights from our Sustainable Print Open Day with MacroArt

Our second Sustainable Print Open Day with MacroArt was a huge success, including a tour of the Production Hub, a materials showcase, the ‘Guide to a Sustainable Project’ workshop, and a round table framed around the wider subject of the circular economy.

A big thank you to MacroArt for once again opening their shiny doors and sharing their sustainable print secrets with our isla members. We say secret, when in fact it’s quite the opposite, Macro Art are an open book when it comes to knowledge sharing and collaboration, which is just what we need as an industry in order to progress sustainably.

Thank you to all who attended, including reps from onepointfive, Identity, Yellow Fish, TCEG, Amplify, DRPG, CI Group, TMW Unlimited, TTA, Shelton Fleming and Collaborate Global. Your participation, insights and willingness to engage are always vital and always appreciated.

What did we get up to? 

Throughout the day, the brilliant MacroArt team shared their techniques, advice and philosophies for delivering sustainable print projects. Highlights included a tour of the Production Hub, a materials showcase and the ‘Guide to a Sustainable Project’ workshop. All of these demonstrated the level of thought and care that goes into every stage of MacroArt’s production process to maximise efficiency and in turn, minimise emissions and waste.

Over lunch, isla hosted a casual round table framed around the wider subject of the circular economy. The discussion went beyond identifying barriers and instead focused on what we have managed to achieve, despite them. 

It turns out, many isla members are taking significant strides towards circularity in their events. For some, the clever innovations in tech enable them to reduce single-use items, whilst another member said that data collected through TRACE (isla’s carbon measurement platform for sustainable events) was guiding decision-making away from virgin materials and some members are starting to question the brief and challenge their clients on the need for extra items such as SWAG. 

As Jermaine Parkin (Collaborate Global) put so well: “We need to stop saying ‘yes yes yes’ to the client, and instead start saying ‘yes, but…’ in order to be transparent and upfront about the true environmental impacts of their decisions.”

What did we learn? 

Key takeaways and insights…

  1. Have conversations with your suppliers, your agencies, your venues, and your clients. Start them early. Ask for product life cycle assessments, for their sustainability awards and accreditations. Discover where your ambitions align. By asking the questions, we begin to transform the working culture.
  2. Limit the number of materials you use and try to avoid composite materials that are hard to recycle. Using fewer types of materials overall makes waste and recycling easier to manage. Larger quantities and less variety also improve the efficiency of your deliveries.
  3. ‘Eco’ materials aren’t always the better choice. Apply critical thinking, do we need an eco-material that has been flown halfway across the world? Or is another, locally manufactured, product more suitable for the job?
  4. If you’re not already doing it, start measuring. Carbon measurement software can tell you exactly how much CO2e is created during the manufacture of materials and their end of life. Use the data to guide your decision-making. 
  5. Do as much as you can to improve your sustainability within the limitations of your business. We can’t do everything all the time so don’t be afraid of imperfection. 

If you found this blog useful, check out our free step-by-step Better Buying for Print – An Event Planners Guide, created by isla and the members of our Print Working Group.

We have more open days and events to come, if you are interested in joining them and becoming an isla member, reach out to us at hello@weareisla.co.uk.

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