It has been more than three years since our last review of sustainable business blogs. In the blogosphere three years is an eternity, and as you can imagine a lot has changed. Sustainable business is an even hotter topic now than it was back in 2007, and there are now dozens of blogs devoted to this topic, some of which have become very popular. I sifted through them all and review the blogs here that would be of most interest for label converters.
Greener Design is part of the GreenBiz network of blogs. GreenBiz is one of the leading resources for news, opinion and best practices when is comes to sustainable business. It has dozens of writers and thousands of daily website visitors, so it has the resources to cover a wide variety of green business topics. Greener Design has several subsections: Design and Innovation, Materials, Green Chemistry and Toxics, as well as Packaging. The packaging section will be of most interest to label converters. Recent blog posts discussed Naked Juice's transition to 100 percent recycled bottles, Terracycle's "upcycling" efforts for tortilla and cheese packaging, and Hasbro's goal for 75 percent recycled packaging in 2011. Greener Design features many of the major writers on sustainable business practices, including some of the authors featured in this review.
Two Steps Forward (http://makower.typepad.com/)
Joel Makower gave a presentation a couple of years ago at a TLMI meeting and his blog, Two Steps Forward, remains one of the most important blogs about sustainable business. Makower is the author of more than 20 books, and along with this blog he is the co-founder of Greenbiz.com and its many sister websites (he also contributes to the Greener Design blog reviewed above). Two Steps Forward is focused primarily on big business and its impact on the environment, with the occasional article on packaging. Recently, he reviewed Procter & Gamble's sustainability vision as well as an in depth analysis of the new Stonyfield Farms PLA packaging.
Sustainability Marketing (www.sustainability-marketing.com/)
Sustainability Marketing is the blog of Frank-Martin Belz, vice dean of the Technical University of Munich School of Management in Germany, and Ken Peattie of Cardiff Business School in the UK. These two have also published a book, Sustainability Marketing: A Global Perspective; hence the name of their blog. They provide a European perspective on sustainable business, although many of the same issues are discussed. They write frequently about greenwashing (the deceptive use of green marketing), but they also provide plenty of examples of companies that are doing the right thing. Reading this blog you would not know it was written by two academics, because it tackles the issues in a practical and down to earth way.
Going Green is a blog from the people at WhatTheyThink.com, the printing industry's leading news and information site. The managing editor is Richard Romano, a long time writer and analyst in the printing industry. As you would expect, the focus here is on the sustainability issues affecting the printing industry. While most blog posts are related to commercial printing, Romano does include more than the occasional post pertaining to label and packaging. He has a very breezy and easygoing writing style and his posts are probably the most enjoyable to read out of all the authors reviewed here. Recent posts have discussed Procter & Gamble's new zero-waste manufacturing plant, bioplastics in packaging, and biodegradable packaging, where a new plastic bag created from CO2 emissions is discussed.
Inside Sustainable Packaging (http://blog.salazarpackaging.com/)
Inside Sustainable Packaging is the blog of Dennis Salazar, president of Salazar Packaging, a leading packaging supplier with a focus on sustainable packaging. This is a corporate blog, so there is some self-promotion, but it is usually done in a tasteful way and Salazar makes an effort to educate his customers and prospects. Most blog posts are general in nature covering a range of sustainable business topics. Recent posts have discussed biodegradable stretch film, molded pulp packaging, a new bubble packaging on demand system, and the pros and cons of diecut versus regular slotted container boxes. Every converter uses some kind of packaging to ship their labels; by reading this blog you can discover ways to make this process more environmentally friendly.
Peter Renton is the founder and former co-owner of Lightning Labels, an all-digital label printer in Denver, CO, USA. He is currently doing some blog consulting while attempting to take a career sabbatical after the sale of Lightning Labels.