26 Sep 2013
By Wright Communications
Soar Print went into the night knowing it had joined a select group of the country's most forward- thinking companies, making it to the final group of nominees for its outstanding efforts to embed sustainability in its strategy and governance, workplace, marketplace, environment and community.
But even with all these nods, taking out the supreme award for the company came as a thrilling surprise for Fred Soar, Managing Director and grandson of the company founder, who attended the awards with his two sisters and a large group of Soar colleagues.
"Seven years ago we decided to become a different type of printer - one that would ensure our environmental impact was the lowest possible, our stakeholders were at the forefront of our business planning, and our strategy was sustainability," he says.
"Tonight's awesome result at the Sustainable 60 confirms we are on the right track and rewards the dozens of people in this company that have devoted themselves to making the company better in every way."
Soar Print won the strategy and governance and environment categories, was runner-up in marketplace, and won the overall medium business award. The business was then awarded the supreme award, the first time the accolade has ever been bestowed in the history of the awards.
The drive to improve at Soar has been part of the company's long-standing drive to continuous improvement, but has also been a necessity in a sector - the sheet fed print sector - which has declined 10 per cent year on year.
Despite these conditions, Soar has maintained its gross profit and is poised for growth of as much as 20 per cent in the next year as a result of substantial new contracts won, in part due to the company's dedication to sustainability.
Soar was the first print company to achieve carboNZero 'Organisation' certification in 2010, and 'Product' certification 2011, as well as a slew of other environmental certifications - achievements that have not only dropped energy costs by 40 per cent but improved gross profit as a percentage of sales.
The company has reduced waste to landfill by 33 per cent in the last year, continued to reduce greenhouse gases, and moved to almost 100 per cent vegetable inks.
Jenny Carter, Soar Printing financial director and environment officer, says the company's 70-strong team has bought into the drive to become New Zealand's most environmentally responsible printer.
"The printing industry has historically had a high environmental impact, but our investment in new technology and dedication to change has made it possible to help protect New Zealand's environment and contribute to our wider community."
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