Got Green? Flaunt It!

The Stock Exchange (uploaded by juliaf)

Last week, I blogged about some of the latest research showing that marketers are missing the opportunity to share their green stories with customers who want to hear it. Customers want to hear your green story. Research shows that when marketers share their green commitments, it increases customers’ favorable feelings toward the company, strengthens customer loyalty, and decreases price sensitivity, even in a challenging economy.

I guess Lighting Source Inc. was listening. Lighting Source is one of the largest, if not the largest, print on demand printer in the country and around the world, printing millions of books per month. Many of the books you buy on Amazon and other online retailers are printed on demand by Lighting Source once you buy them.

I run a small publishing company, Strong Tower Publishing, and my vendor is Lighting Source. Today I received the following email:

Dear publisher:

This communication is to inform you of the current status of our Chain of Custody (CoC) certification as of January 19, 2011.

When I clicked through the link, it led me to a page that described how the company’s print-on-demand model benefited the environment by reducing waste paper, wasted energy, greenhouse emissions, pulping, and landfill overflows that result from unnecessary inventory. It discussed how POD lessens the possibility of returns, reduces supply chain waste, greenhouse emissions, and conserves valuable natural resources.

Next, LSI used the page to discuss the CoC process and how it plays into the company’s broader environmental commitment.  It described each of the three primary environmental paper certifications and gave links for the interested reader to actually download LSI’s certificates for each.

For customers looking for even more information, there was a downloadable FAQ, too. Topics included:

  • What is Chain of Custody (CoC)?
  • What does Chain of Custody certification mean?
  • What does this mean for Lightning Source customers?
  • What organizations has Lightning Source been certified by?
  • Why did Lightning Source choose to be certified by three certifying bodies?

All I can say is, “Nicely done.” For those in the know about environmental issues, it certainly raises awareness of all that Lightning Source is doing in this area. For those not familiar with environmental issues, it served an interesting, accessible primer. All the way around, this was nicely handled.

Not only was this smart from a customer loyalty perspective, but it creates positive peer pressure for its competitors to follow suit.

Written by Heidi Tolliver-Walker

Heidi Tolliver-Walker has been a commercial and digital printing industry analyst, feature writer, columnist, editor, and author for nearly 20 years. She is known for her meticulous research and no-nonsense perspective. In addition to having written thousands of industry articles for top industry publications, she and Richard Romano have been the face of the well-respected industry research firm The Industry Measure (TrendWatch Graphic Arts) for many years. In her more than 13-year tenure with the firm, she has written countless reports on digital printing, 1:1 (personalized) printing, Web-to-print, personalized URLs, and other hot industry applications. She is also a long-time contributing editor and columnist for Printing News, for which she writes two monthly columns, including "Personal Effects," which features monthly analysis of 1:1 (personalized) printing case studies. She is also the author of three titles for the National Association of Printing Leadership: Designer's Printing Companion, Ink & Color: A Printer's Guide, and Diversifying Via Value-Added Services. As a small, niche publisher (Strong Tower Publishing), she is active in utilizing these technologies in her own business, as well.


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