Supply Chain Information: Print Media

Sector Name Information: Print Media

SIC code 51


Major Players

Newspaper Publishing Companies


  • Gannett Company
  • The New York Times Company
  • News Corporation
  • McClatchy Company
  • Dow Jones & Co.


Book Publishers


  • HarperCollins
  • Random House
  • imon & Schuster
  • Macmillan
  • Penguin Group
  • Hachette Book Group


Magazine Publishers


  • Time Inc.
  • Hearst Magazines
  • Conde Nast
  • Meredith
  • American Media Inc.
  • Wenner Media


Greeting Card Publishers


  • Hallmark Cards
  • American Greetings


News Organizations


  • Associated Press
  • UPI
  • Reuters




  • Library of Congress
  • Boston Public Library
  • Harvard University Library
  • New York Public Library
  • Yale University Library


Major Issues

1. Energy use 

The production of print materials requires a large amount of energy. Companies are looking for ways to minimize energy use while increasing reliance on sustainably-produced energy.

2. Sustainable materials

Paper production requires large quantities of wood, fresh water, energy, and chemical agents.  Often pulp for paper production is sourced from old-growth forests. Companies in the information sector are looking for ways to decrease their reliance on old-growth wood. Similarly, many companies are interested in reducing reliance on chlorine-based chemicals to bleach paper stock. Chlorine is toxic and has to potential to do significant damage to the environment. Companies are interested in switching to non-toxic, environmentally-friendly ink for printing needs.  Many companies that produce or rely on print media are interested in ways to increase reliance on recycled materials.

3. Transportation issues 

The production and distribution of print materials requires the physical transportation of materials and products—often over long distances. Companies in the information sector are increasingly concerned both with shortening transportation distances as well as with increasing use of low-emission vehicles.

4. Sustainable building practices/materials 
Like many others, businesses in the information sector are increasingly concerned both with reducing the environmental footprints and utility costs of the buildings they use.


Key Requirements

Many businesses in the print information sector have struggled to remain profitable over the past five years; many newspapers and magazines have gone out of business. Print-based companies are recognizing that in order to survive they must reconsider business models and supply chains, reaffirming the importance of sustainable practices. This presents strong opportunities for sustainability-focuses companies looking to enter into Information-sector supply chains.
Businesses looking to enter into new supply chains with information companies should pursue product certifications (see below). Additionally, potential partners should have full and detailed understandings of their own supply chains and production processes. This will allow them to optimize their own operations and allow them to market themselves as sustainably-focused supply-chain actors.

Key Certifications

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI)

Chain of Custody Certification
This is a specific certification that can be achieved through SFC or SFI (see above)

ISO 14000/14001



Print Communications Professionals International Certification

The Chlorine Free Products Association (CFPA)



Getting Started
Complete a full sustainability audit of your company, including a life-cycle analysis of your supply chain to understand and document what your company is doing and how it could improve.

Choose and research specific information-sector businesses with which your business hopes to work. Identify key sustainability issues and areas.


Going Further

Work towards specific sustainability certifications (see above).
Create new promotional materials for your business, highlighting your company’s commitment to sustainability.

Write clear company-specific supply-chain proposals, outlining ways in which your business can help green larger supply chains.


Advanced Steps
Investigate ways to expand your business to provide additional sustainability-focused services.

Consider ways to reduce your company’s reliance on print-based media and to offer paper-free services to clients.


Best Practices
New York Times Company
NYT Company is one of the few large newspaper publishers that has begun to embrace environmental sustainability. It has chosen to focus most on sustainable paper use and green building design. Most notably the NYT Company has significantly decreased its reliance on paper produced from virgin forests, while increasing the percentage of recycled material in its newsprint. Also, the new company headquarters building was designed to include a host of green-building components, including underfloor air distribution, an efficient and innovative air conditioning system, and an on-site natural-gas-based generator.

HarperCollins has pursued a range of sustainability-focus policies. These including relying on 60 percent FSC-certified paper sources and working with the Carbon Trust to go “Carbon Neutral” by relying on environmentally-friendly energy sources. Also, HarperCollins publishes a range of environmental-sustainability-focused publications each year.

Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Hallmark has focused on the incorporating sustainably-produced and recycled paper in its cards.

Lakeview Terrace Branch Library, Los Angeles, California
This was the first library to achieve LEED Platinum certification. The building contains a number of innovative building designs, including a reliance on recycled material, sustainably-produced energy, and recycled water.

Key Resources
Sustainable Communication –  This is a non-profit dedicated to sustainable print and digital communication

EPA – A good resource on how to incorporate sustainably-produced paper produces into businesses

Newspaper Association of America – A resource to help newspapers focus on sustainability

Sustainable Ink – Information on sustainable ink products

Printing Industries of America – General information on green printing


Key Words
Sustainable printing, sustainable newspapers, green printing, recycled Paper, green ink

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