Emissions: Recommendations on CO2 emissions calculation in the printing industry

6 February 2013

Intergraf recognises that calculating the carbon footprint of printing activities and its products is crucial to help clients and consumers understand the environmental impact of their activities. Several calculation schemes exist in the printing industry in European countries, and some of them were developed with a strong involvement of Intergraf Member Federations.

The need for a common understanding of internationally recognised requirements is clear. Intergraf has taken a pragmatic approach together with its national printing federations around Europe to coordinate actions and support printers to reduce their CO2 emissions. In a comparison exercise it was made obvious that by including a limited number of parameters in order of magnitude, some 95% of CO2 emissions could be covered.

As a result, Intergraf is recommending 13 main parameters to be included in any calculation of the CO2 emissions of a printing site or a printed product.


The European Commission’s package of proposals to fight climate change includes reductions in greenhouse gases of at least 20% by 2020 (compared with 1990 levels), raise in renewable energy's share to 20% and cut overall energy consumption by 20% (compared with projected trends). European industries have an important share in reaching this target, and initiatives to measure and reduce carbon emissions have already been taken in many sectors.

The European printing sector has a long history of complying with environmental restrictions and legislation. Pressures to reduce the environmental impact of the industry come from customers as well as European institutions and national governments. Since the general public’s awareness has been raised on climate change and its link to CO2 emissions, this is an important target group for information about the carbon emissions of different sectors. It should be clear to customers and consumers what the principles behind calculating CO2 emissions are.

Intergraf member federations have conducted a comparison exercise between a number of currently available calculation schemes in order to draft recommendations. The conclusions of this exercise are presented in this paper.


Download full position paper here


Contact: Laetitia Reynaud