Recognized as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 14, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Printing House Ltd., The / TPH was selected as one of Canada's Greenest Employers (2019):
- The Printing House is a major advocate of responsible paper procurement, actively promoting high-recycled content paper and Ancient Friendly Forest paper products for its customers, with over 92 per cent of paper purchased being environmentally certified last year
- The Printing House supports a number of environmental initiatives throughout the year, including the WWF CN Tower Stair Climb for Nature and The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (in partnership with the WWF and Ocean Wise) -- the company also partners with the Forest Farmer organization to ensure that one tree is planted for every new account opened at The Printing House, planting nearly 4,000 trees since 2015
- In response to worldwide drops in honey bee populations and honey yields, The Printing House took the unique step of working directly with Toronto Bee Rescue and installed eight rooftop hives at its head office location, creating one of the first corporately-sponsored bee apiaries in the country
The Printing House is a leader in forest sustainability
Tomé Moitas feels lucky that when he interviewed for a job at The Printing House (TPH) 14 years ago, the Toronto-based firm was not quite the powerhouse of sustainability it is now. Another person initially got the nod, then didn't work out, and the interviewer had to fish Moitas's resume out of the wastebasket to hire him.
"I guess we weren't quite as efficient in processing our waste back then," laughs Moitas, a Branch Equipment Specialist who is deeply involved with TPH's much-lauded environmental efforts. In a business where paper is critical, TPH is determined to maintain its designation as North America's Most Forest-Friendly Printer, which it received in 2018 from Vancouver-based forests advocacy group Canopy after ranking No. 2-and tops in Canada-for several years. "We take this extremely seriously," says Moitas.
He works with the company's more than 70 locations in Toronto and across the country to help them use equipment more efficiently and more sustainably. "It's about using recycled paper, it's helping the locations recycle their material, it's reducing waste by properly maintaining and operating machinery, and it's educating them in best practices so you don't waste as much. It could be as simple as showing a designer how to place something on a sheet to use less paper, or using the right cut of paper to minimize waste."
He notes that TPH's head office now uses 100 per cent recycled paper for internal operations, and is urging its customers to use it as much as possible. Some 93 per cent of the paper TPH offers clients is environmentally certified, mainly by the Forest Stewardship Council, meaning it either comes from sustainably managed forests, has been recycled, or, most commonly, is a mix of both.
TPH is also careful with the inks, chemicals and toner cartridges left over from printing, ensuring they are properly dealt with and recycled. Even toners are being made from more organic sources. "And we're looking at biodegradable shrink wrap," says Moitas. "There's one made out of sugar cane."
Andrew O'Born, Vice-President of Business Development, says printing has evolved greatly since TPH was founded by his father Earle in 1961, and the company is determined to stay in the forefront of sustainability. "We're running exceptionally current technology," he says, "and you can't buy new technology that isn't environmentally friendly."
TPH, he says, has always believed that doing the "right" thing is good for business. "Our process for incorporating social responsibility and sustainability into our operations and decision-making is ingrained into our culture," he says.
The 30,000-sq.-ft. head office sources its energy through the Bullfrog Power green energy system. TPH also has several prominent eco-partners, including Canopy. The company is known for the eight honey bee hives it maintains on its headquarters roof in conjunction with Toronto Bee Rescue. For each new account opened, Forest Farmer plants a tree. TPH has also been a long-standing partner with WWF-Canada and others.
"We've tried to create a portfolio of things that we keep adding to in order to support our environmental initiatives," says O'Born. "We're a family business and we own our own stores, so we have that level of control, if you will. It's something we believe in wholeheartedly."
Employees, meanwhile, are encouraged to volunteer for clean-up days and tree-planting, and to donate to a TPH charitable program that supports the University of Guelph Honey Bee Research Centre. "We talk about four pillars that relate to the environment," says O'Born. "Those are people, product/paper, planet and partnerships. Within each of those pillars we have specific initiatives that unfold."
And ultimately, he adds, "it's more an emotional thing than a solely business-driven decision. I'm 36 and I have a 20-month-old daughter at home. What is the world going to look like in 40 years, and how can we do our part to make it better?"