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Founded in 1920, Soar Printing is an excellent example of applying practical sustainable business solutions to reduce operating costs and improve productivity.  Printing is an industry that has gone through enormous change, technological advances over the last 20 years has seen the printing industry reduce its carbon footprint by 97% – a huge achievement matched by very few industries.  People often think that in the digital age CO2 emissions are lower, however they fail to realise that it takes five times as much CO2 to make a CD or DVD as it takes to make an entire newspaper – a challenging misconception.

With online media replacing printed products as a form of communication, print volumes are dropping rapidly in developed economies with paper consumption decreasing 20% each year.  At the same time print runs are becoming shorter as they are becoming more targeted due to shorter product life cycles.  Fundamental to this decline in the printing industry is the belief that the use of paper is not a sustainable practice.  Facing such challenges, Soar Printing strives to overcome them by simultaneously reducing its environmental footprint; changing perceptions of the printing industry; ensuring operating costs are as competitive as possible; whilst offering clients the best practice in sustainability for required printed products.

A leader in the industry of sustainable business practices, Soar Printing is a 3rdgeneration family business and therefore appreciates the true value in generational sustainability.  To further enhance its position, Soar Printing became the first printing organisation in New Zealand to be carboNZero certified; demonstrating to clients the carbon impact of their purchases, and identifying the potential to offset these.    Achieving this certification raises the bar within the industry, encouraging best practice use of resources; it differentiates Soar Printing from other key players in the New Zealand and it minimises operating expenses – win, win, win.


Soar printing has applied sustainable practices of resource use to many areas in its business including its energy and water usage and building design to reduce its environmental footprint as outlined below:


Energy usage has improved by 18.2% since 2007.  To date, focus has been on reducing fuel consumption from company cars and vans.   With the shift toward Honda Accords and Honda Civic or Insight hybrids as company cars fuel consumption has improved by 72.5% since 2007 with an annual saving of 7,600 litres per year.  To promote this shift, staff who choose a Hybrid receive a bonus of $3,500.  Further, Carbon Method ( was engaged to conduct an energy audit in 2010.  Their findings enabled energy consumption to be reduced and further implementation of recommendations is estimated to reduce energy consumption by about 17%.


Water utilisation has improved by 50% since 2007 through new technology and by monitoring water consumption and investigating unusual fluctuations.

Waste minimisation:

Landfill waste has improved by 40% since 2008 through recycling.  This year a composting service was initiated for food waste and the washcloth fabric used to clean the printing presses (the larger contributors to landfill).

In 2009 an Anicolor press was commissioned, the first of its kind in New Zealand.  This machine uses 10 sheets of paper to set up (cf. 400 on the presses it replaced) decreasing paper used 26.7% in 2009 and 7.5% in 2010.  It consumes less power and less ink and allows the company to offer offset quality to its customers at much lower run lengths than were previously cost effective on an offset press.  One of the effects of the recession was a drop in demand of the longer run lengths and a move to shorter run lengths and this new press has allowed Soar Printing to be extremely competitive in this market.

Building Design:

Soar Printing’s building is well designed for natural lighting and ventilation and the office areas are now relying more on natural lighting and ventilation.  When the 2,200 sqm roof needed repairing it was painted with a “cool” colour which reflects the heat and improves the working conditions in the factory in summer.


In 2010 Soar Printing developed a user friendly web based PDF2printTM to print ordering system that completely removes the prepress process from the product life cycle.  This will reduce travel time and carbon emissions as there will be no upfront involvement from reps in company cars or couriers used in sending off and receiving back proofs.  No paper proofs will be produced saving paper and the products will be printed on the A3 Anicolor or HP digital machines which create less waste and are more energy efficient.

Overall, it is estimated that fuel, power, water and waste to landfill costs have reduced by over 40% since the 2007 base year relative to activity. This equates to savings of over $160,000 in total for 2009 and 2010.

carboNZero certified organisation:

In 2010 Soar Printing became the first carboNZero certified offset printing organisation in New Zealand.  carboNZero certified organisations have measured their organisations greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions so they understand what their impact is on the global climate. They then make a commitment to managing and reducing their GHG emissions by creating an emissions management and reduction plan. Any remaining emissions that the organisation cannot avoid are then offset by purchasing verified carbon credits.  carboNZero certification complies with ISO 14064-1.  Soar Printing will soon be able to offer carboNZero certified printed products / services which are further certifications that measure GHG emissions of their products and services (more information click here).

For more information: the Soar Print Website 

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