At the recent UK Graphic Awards, one of the highlights of the evening was the fantastic success of Macroart, who picked up both the Green Award and the Wide Format Company of the Year (30+ employees).
Eye on Display caught up with the company’s managing director, Michael Green, to find out more.
Macroart was one of the pioneers of the wide format industry, formed in 1991 by John Walker. “John was an amazing character and an industry legend. I worked for him for many years before I became MD following a management buyout. We grew at an incredible rate, and around 2018, we felt we needed to move to the next level and brought in some very experienced people to guide the company through this important stage in its development.”
This plan was working well, with a healthy profits in 2019 and early 2020. “We all know what happened next! Suffice it to say, the pandemic had little regard for our great plans. However, we were in a much better place to cope, and we rode through by providing the best service we could for what work there was available. We adapted and came out of Covid better organised, leaner and focused on the bottom line,” says Michael.
For companies that print as much as Macroart, a massive area of cost and wastage is in media. “Our profitability was suffering from a 25-30% wastage of media. We felt this was something we had to do something about, and by carrying out a range of strategies, such as clever use of software for better nesting and tiling, we managed to reduce this significantly and very quickly. This was when we started to see that being more environmentally conscious was going to benefit not just the planet but also our ability to succeed as a business,” he says.
The Road to Net Zero
Macroart made the decision to work with David Humphreys of Green Circle. “I had known David for a long time since his days working for GES, and when he told me had set up a sustainability consultancy business, I was very keen to bring him on board. We had seen the benefits of reducing waste, and we wanted to build on this to become much more sustainable in all our practices. David did a full audit on our carbon footprint, and we have come up with a plan to get to Net Zero as quickly as possible.”
Michael continues, “Once you have made the decision to really commit to being sustainable, you quickly see how much work it involves. We have a sustainability committee that meets every week for updates and every quarter for major developments and planning. We work hand in glove with David, looking at best practices in every part of the business and have a sustainability roadmap that we follow relentlessly.”
Michael believes being sustainable in this industry is no longer optional, it should be mandatory if you want to succeed. “In the modern world, it is simply good business practice to look after the planet, the well-being of your staff and meet the core requirements of your customers. Sustainability is a massive part of the whole tender process, so if it is not a fundamental part of your operations, you’re not going to win a lot of business.”
Winning the Green Award at the UK Graphic Award is a really high moment for Macroart and Michael himself. “We are so proud to win this award because it shows that we are putting demonstrable actions behind our words. With sustainability, if you are doing it properly, then you can talk about it with sincerity, and the evidence is there to back that up. Anything else is greenwashing.”
He continues, “We have made a huge push over recent years to improve our marketing and entering awards is a big part of that. I thought the event itself was brilliantly organised, and it was a fantastic networking opportunity. I was able to meet in person many of the people I had connected with on LinkedIn, and this helped to strengthen those contacts. I and my team had a great time. I’m sure winning a couple of awards helped, but it really was a great event.”
Michael concludes, “Winning the awards is validation for the hard work put in by the incredible team we have here at Macroart. It is a massive pat on the back for all of us for getting the business to the place it is now. Winning awards, growing and meeting our targets for sustainability is a fantastic achievement, and I want to take this opportunity to thank Dan and his team for such a well-organised event and all our staff, suppliers and customers for helping us get to where we are.”