Environmental engagement of Finnish printing companies

Pentti Viluksela

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph


    Growing environmental awareness of citizens, consumers and organizations has led to stronger demands that industrial companies should manage and reduce their environmental impacts and engage in environmental communication. The environmental activities of the Finnish printing industry have not been studied in detail – especially the contributions of many micro and small enterprises have been under-represented or even totally absent from earlier studies. The purpose of this study was to gain an up-to-date snapshot of the environmental activities of Finnish printing companies by assessing their use of environmental and sustainability management tools and to evaluate the extent and quality of their environmental communication. All identifiable Finnish printing companies in the prepress, printing and finishing subsectors were included in the study sample. Secondary data sources of commercial databases, certification bodies, industry associations and authorities were accessed to collect basic company information, financial data and information on the usage of sustainability tools. Websites of the Finnish printing companies were used for analyzing the environmental communication. The study involved 970 companies, out of which 83.7% were micro enterprises of less than 10 employees. Only 86 companies (8.9%) used at least one third-party certified environmental and sustainability tool and 142 companies (14.6%) provided at least some environmental information on their websites. The environmental web content was generally found to be unimpressive. Greenwashing – mostly vague or non-proven environmental claims –was encountered on 58 websites. In order to quantify environmental engagement, novel calculation models for tools usage and environmental communication were developed. The extent of environmental engagement displayed a moderate correlation with company net sales but no correlation with profit. Those companies operating in the printing subsector, compared to prepress and finishing, were more environmentally active. From the financial point of view, over 80% of the business volume of the industry originated from strongly or moderately environmentally engaged companies. This study revealed that environmental engagement of the larger Finnish printing companies is at a good level, but almost non-existent among micro enterprises. Smaller companies should be encouraged to benefit from the most suitable of the many management tools available. Environmental communication has an impact on the image of the whole print sector; industrial associations could support the adoption of a sector-wide active and substantive communication approach, including benchmarking and training inputs.
    Translated title of the contributionSuomalaisten painolaitosten ympäristötoiminta
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor's degree
    Awarding Institution
    • Aalto University
    • Dahl, Olli, Supervising Professor
    • Pohjola, Tuula, Thesis Advisor, External person
    Print ISBNs978-952-60-6479-6
    Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-6480-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)


    • printing industry
    • environmental management
    • environmental communication
    • sustainable development
    • SMEs


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