Unite print conference demands global green standards

Unite print conference demands global green standards

05 November 2013

Imported print products should have to meet British environmental standards, declared speakers at an open discussion about the printing industry hosted by Unite.

“We operate on a sustainable basis in this country, in contrast to print and paper businesses in the Far East,” said Paul Finegan, the union’s national officer for the Graphical, Print, Media and IT section. “I would welcome a Kitemark for paper products to show they are from sustainable sources. We do the right thing for the environment and we should ensure imports meet the same standards.”   

British Printing Industries Federation chief executive, Kathy Woodward, echoed his view. “Why do we allow printed, paper products into the country that don’t meet the same high environmental standards?” she asked. “Focussing on innovation, service and control will help the industry fight off offshore threats.”   

Some 70 delegates from all sides of the industry took part in the first of a series of discussions on challenges facing the printing industry at Unite’s London and Eastern Region office in London on 30th October. They heard speakers from banknote printers De La Rue, ink makers Sun Chemicals, publishers Penguin Random House, The Observer and trade paper Print Week tackle a range of subjects including flexible working, training and the convergence of print and electronic media. 

Unite merged its Graphical, Print, Media and Information Technology sections in September to reflect the way print and publishing increasingly overlaps with the internet and other electronic media. The newly merged sector holds its first sector conference later this month.

Future open discussions will focus on the industry’s skill shortages and training needs, and ensuring the GPM and IT section is fit for purpose.  


Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.