Thoughts on Sustainability from QuadGraphics

How Sustainable Is a Directory?

When it comes to directory publishing, sustainable print management can be a market differentiator. A holistic strategy ensures that forestry management practices, paper choices, printing, distribution and end of life recovery opportunities are taken into consideration to minimize impacts to the environment. Quad/Graphics is a recognized leader in the industry for its sustainable print management practices.


Quad/Graphics continually evaluates each aspect of the printing process to measure and identify opportunities to reduce waste and environmental impacts from our processes and products.

This approach has resulted in:

  • Responsible design based on the optimized use of paper
  • Investment in manufacturing processes that minimize impacts to air and water
  • Use of soy inks and cold-set printing of directories that reduce consumption of fossil fuel based products while minimizing air emissions and our carbon footprint


Quad/Graphics offers clients several options for sourcing responsible forest products through paper certification programs which include the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). These programs ensure that paper products come from forests which are well managed – that take into account environmental, social and economic principles and criteria.


In Manufacturing, Quad/Graphics is driven by efficiency which results in continuous efforts to reduce waste in every aspect of production and distribution. Modern large-format presses reduce energy consumption per printed page. Inline finishing reduces paper waste and minimizes logistics. Digital prepress technologies, such as computer-to-printing-plate systems, eliminate the chemical and solid waste resulting from traditional photographic platemaking processes. Some of our systems require no printing plates at all. Quad/Graphics directory manufacturing plants are strategically located from coast-to-coast and are part of a larger network of Quad facilities which allows us to provide more efficient consolidation and shipping of printed product. This reduces fuel consumption and shipping costs.


Over the past decade, the paper industry has set and exceeded increasingly aggressive goals for paper recovery. In 2003, the paper industry set a goal to recover 55% of the paper used in America by 2012. Using educational efforts combined with creation and promotion of community recycling programs, the 55% recovery goal was achieved five years ahead of the target. The recovery rate in 2011 was 66.8%, or three times the amount that was land filled. A new goal to exceed 70% recovery has been set for 2020. Each percentage point represents nearly 1 million additional tons of recovered paper – enough to fill more than 14,000 railroad cars.

Learn more about how Quad/Graphics is making directories more sustainable at: