In most progressive rock music, movement through its sound doesn’t necessarily happen smoothly or obviously. Often it is made in unexpected and unanticipated ways, which is the way of progress in most situations. Progress happens with little steps. We recently came across a lovely example of how it works in the real world of printing and publishing, in the Life and Ecoedicion office of the regional Ministry of the Environment for Andalucia in Spain. This is a local government office that wants to provide an example of green procurement and services. The office has set up a project to improve publishing and production processes and goods procurement, so that they are more environmentally friendly.
The idea is to produce a reference brand that printers and publishers recognise and support. The administration in Andalucia wants to promote sustainable publications and to provide consumers with complete and consistent environmental impact data. They expect this information to be a factor in purchasing decisions. The Ecoedicion Manual is a guidance document the adminstration has produced for its own publishing and distribution activities, however it is hoped that other publishers and municipalities will also use the manual. A campaign is underway to encourage other companies to join the network and nearly 80 Spanish printers and publishers from all over Spain have signed up so far. A pilot project is underway that includes various regional ministeries who have committed to publishing and printing green publications that will bear the Ecoedition ecolabel.
As part of this project the Life and Ecoedicion Office is developing Product Category Rules (PCR) for printed books. This is ambitious because Product Category Rules are difficult to develop for print media products. As far as we are aware only the Japanese Printers Federation is making a stab at it for the graphic arts. PCRs are important because they provide the basis for determining what should be covered in an environmental impact calculation. The work in Spain is intended to provide the partners in Ecoedicion with a common framework on which to base their calculations.
Having a PCR for printed books makes it possible for publishers to produce consistent Life Cyce Assessments for their products. The Ecoedicion Office’s PCR covers printed books of various types and provides the information to be addressed in an environmental impact calculation. If this work is of interest to you, you can find out more about it at the website
, where the PCR is available for public comment. We are taking tiny steps but we can be confident that, like progressive rock, they will eventually make sense. Such is the way of progress.