Under the new climate change levy agreement, the BPIF has reduced the amount by which companies must cut their energy emissions before 2020 by 30% compared to the 12% commitment of the previous voluntary 10-year CCA scheme, which ended in 2010.
If printers commit to reducing their energy output by 8.4% by the end of this CCA in 2020, they can claim discounts of up to 90% on the 0.52p per kWh climate change levy (CCL) in place for electricity, and up to 65% off the 0.18p tax on gas usage as part of the scheme.
During consultation for the upcoming CCA, due to begin in January 2013, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) suggested printers reduce their emissions by a further 12% by 2020 on top of the 12% decrease required by the previous CCA between 2000 and 2010.
But BPIF CCL manager Steve Walker argued that, considering the ever-diminishing workload and margins in the print sector, along with the changes already made regarding energy usage, a 12% emissions cut over eight years was too much to ask.
He put forward proposals on behalf of the BPIF, and existing and potential members of its CCA, to reconsider the energy reduction commitment. The changes already made, and those that can be enforced to further reduce emissions, such as building insulation and switching off inactive machines, were discussed with the DECC when setting the new target.
Walker said: "Energy output is determined by how many Kilowatt hours of energy is used per square metre of substrate printed.
"As throughput is reducing in the industry, with shorter runs and more bespoke work, this makes it more difficult to reach those reduction commitments.
"There are many small changes printers can do, it is not rocket science, but it depends on whether printers have the capital expenditure to do it.
"With the diminishing margins in the industry, where is the money to invest in systems to reduce energy emissions?"
The cost of the scheme, open to all printers on a voluntary basis, is £1,000 for BPIF members and £1,250 for non-members. Walker expected that the government would impose a further charge of £400 on top of the base price for the new CCA.
Existing members of the CCA scheme will be subject to the new criteria from January 2013 and new joiners will become eligible in April 2013 following the end of the current scheme.
Members will be examined every 2 years, and required to show that they have reduced their 2013 emissions by 2.1%, a quarter of the total eight year commitment, upon the first inspection in 2015.
Those who do not meet the agreed standards will have the option to buy the equivalent CO2 allowances from which they have exceeded their limit, or opt out of the scheme. Printers who leave the scheme do not have to pay back their discounts but will pay face value prices for gas and electricity taxes.
Walker said that the scheme has saved around 225 printers a total of approximately £6m a year. Around 40 companies have already signed up to join the new scheme.