Kodak’s Sustainability Report

The Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner

A few years ago, it was tempting to write Kodak off as a spent force. And yet the 130 year old company is still here and its 4300 employees are collectively still making a difference. Not all of those people contribute directly to the graphics industry but amongst the companies many patents, 2500 are print related. Kodak recently published its sustainability report for 2020, covering 2018 to 2020. The most striking thing about this report is the reminder that sustainability is as much about a company’s survival as it is about the environment.

According to Dick Szembrot Kodak’s director for health, safety and the environment, the company’s “largest business today is commercial printing”,
As one might expect Sonora, Kodak’s processless plate technology, features heavily in the review of its sustainability efforts. Kodak estimates that paired with Kodak computer-to-plate systems, energy savings of 95% are possible using processless plates. However there is no reference figure for this.

Doing away with plate processing with a shift to process-free should be a no brainer for any printing company keen to cut their environmental impact. A mandatory expectation of processless plate production should also be a fundamental requirement for any print buyer who wants to be environmentally accountable, from packaging to book printing.

Kodak’s energy usage has also fallen and the company has seen a 26% decrease in GHG emissions. This is indexed to revenue over the period but the company gives no reference figure. Measures to cut CO2 emissions by 1400 tonnes of CO2 annually are underway but the effort to cut both CO2 emissions and water use over the last few years has already yielded positive results. Waste CO2 has come down from 0.48 metric tonnes in 2018 to 0.3 in 2020. Water usage is also down from 1.99 million cubic metres in 2018 to 1.52 million cubic metres in 2020. In 2021, Kodak’s specialty inks and dispersions manufacturing cut energy usage by 41.6% eliminating 50 metric tons of CO2 per year.

Other key points from the report include a 55% increase in Kodak’s solvent recovery business. This has seen the company increase to 24.62 million kilos the amount of solvents recovered from non-Kodak sources. Kodak remanufactures used these solvents, so that they can be reused in production applications that would otherwise require new materials thereby contributing to circular economies.

Kodak’s story has been one of sustainability over its 130 year history. Today, in its rather more svelte form, the company is focusing on the next phase of its business as a sustainable developer and provider for the printing and publishing industries. You can read the full report here: http://www.kodak.com/go/sustainability

– Laurel Brunner

This article was produced by the Verdigris Project, an industry initiative intended to raise awareness of print’s positive environmental impact. This weekly commentary helps printing companies keep up to date with environmental standards, and how environmentally friendly business management can help improve their bottom lines. Verdigris is supported by the following companies: Agfa GraphicsEFIFespaFujifilmHPKodakMiraclonRicohSplash PRUnity Publishing and Xeikon.

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