Environmental considerations key to decision

Continental printer wins huge National Trust job

National Trust membership pack with Handbook, centre
National Trust membership pack with Handbook, centre

The National Trust’s Handbook will be printed outside the UK for the first time after Walstead Group lost the job following a tender process.

The National Trust Handbook is issued annually to the charity’s members and is a flagship element of its membership benefits package.

The A5 handbook is 464pp plus a 4pp cover, perfect bound, with the text pages printed on 40gsm Holmen XLNT Classic PEFC and the cover on 250gsm Revive 50/50 FSC.

The print run is 3.2m.

It has been printed at Walstead Bicester for many years, but the Oxfordshire site is set to produce its final edition – for 2024 – later this year.

The new contract has been won by Spain’s Einsa Print, which includes small format directory-type products among its specialities.

National Trust print manager Helen Linning-Innes explained the reasons behind the switch. She said: “We are producing the 2025 Handbook at Einsa Print. Our rationale for changing print supplier was driven by our responsibility to look for competitive rates and the best value we can when using our charitable funds, and by the National Trust’s commitment to take action to tackle the climate crisis.

“Although based in Northern Spain, production through Einsa would result in a smaller carbon footprint overall, and Einsa’s roadmap to being 100% powered by renewable energy within the next two years (at the moment, they are at 40%) perfectly aligns with our climate action goals.

“We were also impressed by the similarity in our values, including diversity of recruitment, and by Einsa’s initiatives to support their local community through its charitable foundation.”

Print management and outsourcing consultancy business Eight Plus, established last year as a sister company to Eight Days a Week Print Solutions, assisted the National Trust with the process.

Eight Plus co-founder and sales director Rob Moules said: “We were appointed as consultants to the support the National Trust through the print and RFQ process.

“We were involved in an advisory and consultancy capacity, and we supported them impartially on a tender of scale that hadn’t been tendered for a long time.”

Since last year's demise of YM Group Walstead has effectively become the only multi-site UK web offset printer with the right kind of printing – and crucially binding – capacity to produce this type of product in the volume and timescale required.

Einsa will print and bind the handbook in December 2024, with mailing commencing in January 2025.

Printweek understands that a number of other UK web printers were approached about the job, but the print run and schedule made it unfeasible for smaller players.

The National Trust Magazine, published three times a year and with a circulation of nearly 2.7m, is a separate contract which comes up for tender later this year. Walstead is the incumbent printer.

Walstead had not commented at the time of writing.