Interview with Mr. Sandeep Chauhan, Director of Star Printery Limited

Mr. Sandeep Chauhan, Director of Star Printery Limited and President of the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation.

The Pacific Green Business Centre had a meeting with Mr Sandeep Chauhan to discuss a number of printing and paper related issues and in the process thought it would be useful also have an interview on the subject for the PGBC portal. Few realise the strides the printing industry has done to become sustainable and the PGBC will continue working with the industry to make the last few improvements necessary.

Sandeep Chauhan,, Director of Star Printery Limited and President of the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation

Q1. Star Printery has become a leading printing company in Fiji. What has the company done thus far to make its business more environmentally friendly?

More than 12 years ago we made a decision to follow the Australian & NZ standards of purchasing press consumables which were not harmful to our operators or environment. As such over the years we have completely stopped using anything that is not good for our operators, even if it means that it is safe to wear gloves and use them, we just did away with these consumables and replaced these with green chemicals. This means that these are safe to use and are no different to how we use soap to wash our hands and allow the soap to go down our drains. In addition to this we changed all of our offset inks from mineral oil based inks to vegetable oil based inks, once again “green inks”. We also changed our paper procurement policy to purchase from suppliers who bought from mills which had certifications from FSC, PEFC, WMF etc. This meant that mills were not cutting down trees and contributing to de-forestation but were in fact planting trees and farming these for paper production. They were also not using harmful chemicals while farming these trees.

Q2. What is the motivation behind greening your business?

Our Conscience was the motivating factor. My brother and I both strongly felt that we had to be the leading example and practice what we preached. It was not an easy step but someone had to start and we both felt that we had established the business to a point where we could slowly start to implement the measures we wanted to. Most of the Fijian citizens are pretty spiritual and we treat nature as a gift from God, so how could we contradict ourselves and continue to ruin and pollute it. Agreed that we don’t contribute as much to the climate change and it is not our doing but we can’t turn a blind eye and turn away form this, we need to do our bit. Every small step goes a long way and who knows, this may inspire others to follow suit and perhaps bring on a green revolution.

Q3. When deciding on suppliers, do you distinguish between green suppliers and other suppliers?

Where it all happens – the printing factory

Yes, most definitely. We are happy to state that more than 90% of our suppliers adhere to green initiatives and over the years we have only dealt with suppliers who are committed to following the “green principles”.

Q4. What are some future steps you will be taking towards further greening the business?

We are now looking at renewable energy for our operations and currently going through the proposals as to what suits our needs the best. In addition to this we continue to monitor any new development and also see how we can refine our processes to be in line with changes in the world. We also work with our clients and suggest “green alternatives”.

Q5. Have you initiated any green partnerships or programs with any local organizations?

Printing in progress

Yes with some of our multinational clients who require us to ensure that we purchase from mills who are certified with the above credentials.

Q6. How do you think Star Printery could use the Pacific Green Business Centre to further its social and environmental efforts?

By advocating about the benefits as well as educating our people. Every day we receive emails which states, “please do not print & save a tree”, however not many people realise that paper manufacturing has evolved so much over the years and is one of the least contributor to climate change. In fact more energy is used to print from an office or home printer than the commercial printing machines we have. We have now started to include the following statement in all of our quotes and we are making an effort to educate our clients with the following statement: With renewed awareness in all things ecological and the effect we are having on our environment, we as print suppliers of commercial and packaging products for the Fijian market as well as neighbouring countries are well aware of our responsibility to use materials in our production process that perform to very high standards while minimizing any effects on the environment.

To this end we endeavor to supply products that are as environmentally friendly as modern technology allows.

It’s become a huge operation.

Our inks are mineral oil free and are manufactured from vegetable oils and fatty acid alkylesters (modified vegetable oils) which are all derived from renewable sources. They therefore are biodegradable and will break down when disposed of in suitable waste streams with extremely minimal effect on the environment. Water based dispersions by their nature pose a low threat to the environment as they are readily biodegradable. Further to this are FDA approved formulations, that is, they contain ingredients that are cleared to be used in direct food contact.

Similarly, our vast range of paper is sourced from well managed forests and our recycled paper is made from renewable materials (wood pulp + recovered paper).

Well managed forests or Sustainable Forestry is harvesting trees to produce paper which does not damage the environment because paper makers increasingly use purpose grown plantation timber, hence, replanting more trees than they use. Sustainable timber harvesting is “greenhouse emissions” neutral.

Waste paper that goes to the landfill with the view of recycling, has low toxicity and continues to lock up carbon for an extended period. Hence recycled paper products maintain carbon stored in the fibre.

The paper industry is not responsible for the increase in CO2 emissions caused by land use change; in fact, 95% of global land use change emissions are caused by deforestation in tropical developing countries due to land clearing for agriculture and human habitation needs.

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Note: If you enjoyed reading this Exec Interview you may also enjoy reading our other previous interviews. You can find them here.