Messiah Sees the Light on FSC

The staff of Messiah College Press proudly poses with an enlarged copy of the new FSC chain-of-custody certificate. From left: Dwayne Magee, Pam Seibert, Rachel Bidelspacher, Denise Albert, Dennis Barr, Cathy Weaver, Bill Althoff, Seng Beck and Bob Madden. (Missing: Annie Minicuci, Carole Hutchison)

While the printing world gushed over FSC chain-of-custody certification a few years ago, Dwayne Magee made no secret about his skepticism.

“The issue of the environment is important, but having the certification in our shop isn’t a huge issue,” he told IPG in a 2009 article. He had, after all, been duped into obtaining ISO 9000 certification at a previous print shop, with the promise that it would bring new business, which never happened.

Magee, director of Messiah College Press & Postal Services, felt that FSC certification was “just extra money in the hands of someone behind a desk somewhere” for the privilege of slapping a logo on a printed piece. His Grantham, Pa., shop was already using FSC papers, he said, so he could just point to that as evidence of the in-plant’s sustainability focus.

Time has a way of changing opinions, though. Last month, Messiah College Press & Postal Services passed its FSC audit with flying colors and now proudly displays the FSC logo as a sign of its devotion to sustainable practices. Why the change of heart?

“I was wrong,” admits the newly converted Magee. He came to realize that by going the extra mile and getting certified, his in-plant was demonstrating much stronger support of the college’s goals.

“Sustainability is really growing on our campus,” he says. “They’re always looking for ways to communicate how the college has made sustainability a priority. So when they see a department take something like this on, they’re on our team, and they consider us on theirs.”

Trying to communicate the in-plant’s sustainable practices without using the FSC logo (prohibited for those that aren’t certified) was proving extremely difficult, he notes.

“We were finding that it just didn’t carry the weight that actually being able to use that logo carries,” he points out.

In addition, he has come to see the Forest Stewardship Council more favorably; it’s made up of people with a noble goal, he says, and paying to support that goal by attaining certification is commendable.

“It just conveys a very positive image about what our priorities are, and that we support this organization [FSC] and what they do,” he notes.

Magee says his views started to change after getting to know the college’s new sustainability director, Craig Dalen. Magee began to realize the value of making a strong statement like this, both for his in-plant and for the college.

Dalen also pointed out that attaining FSC certification would show customers that the in-plant can commit to a detailed project that requires hard work and an eye for detail.

“That communicates to your customer that they can trust you with their project as well,” Magee says. Though he insists that generating business was not his goal, he notes that “just the rumor of us possibly becoming certified has generated emails and phone calls.”

An added benefit of getting certified, Magee says, is that it brought his 10-person team together as they worked through the steps. The in-plant received a training and reference manual from Printers Green Resource LLC, coordinator of the InGreen group certification program for in-plants, and employees read it as a group during production meetings. The manual spelled out all the steps the shop would need to take to pass the audit.

“It just made it so easy,” Magee remarks.

When the in-plant passed that audit in November, the staff felt a strong sense of accomplishment, he says.

He praises the InGreen program for simplifying the process and keeping costs down. Certification cost the in-plant $1,695, he says.

In explaining his change of opinion, Magee quotes Thomas Merton, who once said “If the you of five years ago doesn’t consider the you of today a heretic, you are not growing spiritually.

Related story: FSC Certification: 'A Good Investment'

Bob has served as editor of In-plant Graphics since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 130 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Graphics.

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