The printing industry is currently coming to terms with what it means to be more sustainable. It is widely recognized that energy consumption, paper consumption as well as environmental emissions need to be reduced. A consistent request that the principal investigators (PIs) have been fielding has been to help develop standardized sustainability assessments that would allow the comparison of different printing technologies, printing platforms, printing products and printing value chains. The issues that need to be addressed in order to accomplish these assessments is that (1) a set of metrics needs to be agreed upon and developed that would allow this comparison to be made; (2) the appropriate data acquisition and analysis methods would also need to be developed so that there is consistency between comparisons; (3) the appropriate sensing instrumentation would need to identified along with the proper methods to install this hardware would also have to be developed.
The goal of this research it to perform a survey into metrics and methods employed by the printing industry to measure, track and integrate sustainability into their business practices. In addition, it is also recognized by the PIs that a great deal of work has been conducted in this area by the print industry, but that a proper inventory of the current state of the art is lacking. Therefore, the focus of this proposal is to define the research roadmap that will be required to develop this inventory and execute the first phase of that inventory. In addition to the inherent value of just the described service, this work would serve as the foundation for the future development of a printing value chain test-bed envisioned by the PIs.