SGP Partnership

Welcome to the EHS Department’s Sustainable Green Printing (SGP) Partnership Page. Here you will find the information and resources you need to become an SGP certified printer!

SGP Update

The Sustainable Green Printing (SGP) Partnership, the independent certification body for the graphic communications community, has achieved many milestones since its official launch on August 28, 2008. In 2010, SGP revised the certification requirements and expanded the program to include Binding, Finishing, and Loose Leaf operations. To reflect the changes to the program and help align SGP with the sustainability movement, a new logo was adopted along with the launching of a new website. In 2012, SGP coordinated with Hewlett Packard to create a series of educational YouTube videosfeaturing SGP certified facilities and print buyers, including adidas, who share their experiences with the certification process and the many benefits of certification. 

The SGP Partnership will be celebrating a milestone this year as it reaches its five year anniversary. The program started off this monumental year by electing several new members to the Board of directors, including a new Chairman of the Board, Paul Lilienthal from Pictura Graphics, one of the first SGP certified facilities. The organization has also collaborated with Re-nourish, to develop a resource for integrating sustainable graphic design with sustainable production. The SGP Partnership  continues to receive a steady flow of applications, and is gaining support by numerous stakeholders in the graphic communications industry. There are now nearly 50 certified SGP Facilities, and additional facilities in the application process. The  program is supported by 25 patron companies.

A monthly newsletter packed with exciting news about the SGP program and sustainability in general is now available and is delivered to over 1,300 recipients. SGP has also entered the social media world with a LinkedIn account and has nearly 300 active members.  If you’re a Twitter user you can follow SGP by connecting @SGPPartnership.

A list of SGP certified facilities, patrons, newsletter signup and more information about the SGP Partnership program can be found on the SGP webpage at

SGP Certified Facility Case Studies

A new book, Sustainability Studies in Print: Five Printers Discuss Their Journeys to SGP Certification, available in the Printing Industries of America online bookstore (Click here to order), features five real-life case studies of printers who have achieved SGP certification. An article published in the July 2011 Magazine,  "Printers' Sustainability Stories" by the author of the book, Printing Industries of America's Joe Deemer,  gives you a sneak peak at some of the valuable information the book contains.

SGP – An Overview

The SGP Partnership ( is an independent organization that recognizes and acknowledges printers who are committed to sustainable and green printing through a formal registry program.  There are six main components to becoming an SGP certified printer:

  • EHS Regulatory Compliance
  • Sustainability Management System
  • Mandatory Best Practices
  • Social Aspects
  • Metrics System
  • Annual Progress Report

The sections below briefly summarize the SGP Partnership criteria; printers should refer to the most recent version of the SGP Criteria Document for the Partnership’s complete requirements.

EHS Regulatory Compliance

Complying with all applicable federal, state, and local environmental, health, and safety regulations is a core component of the SGP Program. In fact, the SGP Program requires a full EHS audit at least once every two years.

Printers have the option of contracting with a third party to conduct an EHS audit or performing the audit themselves.  Printing Industries has developed OSHA and U.S. EPA compliance checklists to assist printers who want to perform their own EHS audit. 

Sustainability Management System

The SGP Sustainability Management System is the heart of SGP certification. This system is the nuts and bolts of the printer’s commitment to green and sustainable printing. The SMS has three main components:

  • Sustainability Committee: The sustainability committee must be representative of the facility’s departments, meet at least twice a year, and develop and circulate agendas, minutes, etc.
  • Sustainability Policy: The sustainability policy is a company’s public commitment to sustainable and green printing.  Printers are required to commit to: EHS compliance, continuous improvement, pollution prevention, and sharing information on sustainability performance with external stakeholders.  Refer to Printing Industries’ article, How to Prepare a Sustainability Policy, for information on writing a sustainability policy and templates you can use to create your own policy.
  • Written Sustainability Procedures: The SMS must contain written procedures that describe the who, what, when, where, and why of your company’s sustainability operations, goals, etc. The SMS is an internal document that will be used by your employees to meet goals and commitments contained in the company’s sustainability policy.  View Printing Industries sample EHS Compliance procedure to help you get started!

Mandatory Best Practices

The SGP Program requires implementation of certain mandatory best practices.  The practices are broken down by product, process, envelope as follows:

  • Product includes the design aspects and input material management to create the product. Best practices include customer discussion on material use and responsible material sourcing.
  • Process includes all manufacturing steps involved in converting raw materials into a finished product. It includes any by-products produced.  Best practices include inventory management, waste reduction, and pollution prevention. 
  • Envelope includes all the manufacturing support activities and the building, grounds, utilities, employees, and other functions at the site. Best practices include purchase of Energy-Star equipment and an office recycling program.

Social Aspects

The SGP Partnership recognizes sustainability encompasses more than the stewardship of our air, water, and earth; it includes the stewardship of our human race as well. To this end, the SGP Partnership requires printers to comply with all local, state, and federal employment laws and to provide an equal opportunity workplace which, if necessary, accommodates workers that have adopted English as their non-native or second language.


An important step to tracking a company’s sustainability progress and goals is the use of metrics.  Metrics normalize a company’s raw data such as kw-hrs or water purchased by a company’s operations in terms of total impressions, volume of substrate purchased, or other function appropriate for the facility.  The SGP Partnership requires the use of a specific metrics form, available to printers who have submitted their SGP application.

Annual Progress Report

The SPG Partnership requires printers to report their sustainability progress annually.
The SGP Partnership will review the annual report for consistency with a company’s continuous improvement goals. More importantly, the SGP Partnership will post this report on the SGP website ( for print buyers and the prospective customers alike to review and evaluate. 

For more information contact: Gary Jones by clicking here.

Published on Tuesday, October 4, 2011 (updated 06/03/2016)

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