Striving for carbon neutrality is nothing new and any firm that genuinely regards corporate social responsibility as core to its business will have calculated its carbon footprint and worked towards reducing that footprint. Becoming a carbon neutral-certified company is no mean feat – Commercial Group in the UK is a well-known example in the OP sector – but the majority of OP operators start out by having a carbon-neutral product range.
OPI spoke to Andreas Poimer, International Marketing Manager at Austrian stamp manufacturer Trodat about its carbon neutral range and its broader sustainability goals.
OPI: When did you first start making climate-neutral stamps? Do you believe it still gives you a competitive advantage?
Andreas Poimer: We started to offer climate-neutral stamps in 2010 with the launch of the Original Trodat Printy 4.0. The Printy 4.0 is the fourth generation of our bestselling product Original Printy, which has been sold over 300 million times worldwide since its first launch back in 1976.
And yes, although much of the competition now also offers climate-neutral stamps, we still think that it gives us a competitive advantage because we offer it as standard on our bestselling products. This helps our customers minimise their number of listed products as well as their space and warehousing costs because our climate-neutral products cover both – the standard and the green range of products.
OPI: I believe the majority of Trodat stamps now offer climate neutrality as a standard. Are there plans to increase that number to 100%?
AP: There are currently no plans to further increase that percentage as our range of more than 70 climate-neutral products already represents millions of units sold every year.
This is the big difference versus an approach whereby just one or a few green product lines are launched. These lines will never account for such high volumes and therefore never contribute as much to the environment and climate protection as when you offer the majority of your standard product range as climate neutral.
OPI: Are the climate-neutral stamps more costly than the rest of the range?
AP: Although we’re investing in Gold Standard climate protection projects that are recommended by the WWF to compensate for the unavoidable CO2 footprint of our products, we do not charge more for these products. So customers get climate neutrality at the same price.
OPI: What have been – and still are – the core challenges of making stamps carbon neutral?
AP: The biggest challenges lie in the steps that need to be taken prior to the investment in climate protection projects. Our principle has always been in line with the recommendation of WWF Austria to: a) avoid CO2 emissions, then b) reduce CO2 and c) only as a last step compensate for the unavoidable CO2 emissions.
Just making up for CO2 emissions would be quite an easy thing to do, but that’s not acceptable, as you should always strive to avoid and lessen as much in the first place, and only then seek to compensate for CO2 emissions as a last resort.
Trodat is currently investing in a biomass project in Brazil as part of its commitment to Gold Standard, a standard and certification body for climate protection projects in voluntary emissions trading.
This carbon offset project covers five production sites for ceramic tiles and bricks, operated by a traditional company called Grupo Tavares in the state of Ceará in north-eastern Brazil.
Traditionally, non-sustainably produced firewood is used for fuelling ceramic kilns in Brazil. This leads to a massive deforestation of woods, which mainly consist of mangroves in this area. Grupo Tavares changed the fuelling of the kilns to renewable and sustainably-produced biomass, using cashew nut shells, coconut husks and wood exclusively from areas with a sustainable forest management plan. The project started in 2010 and is certified by the non-profit Gold Standard Foundation.