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Specialty Graphic Imaging Association

Modernistic Establishes Commitment to Sustainability

A case study from the SGIA Sustainability Recognition Program

Sustainability is of growing importance to specialty imagers, and SGIA’s Sustainability Recognition Program strives to recognize exceptional members as they take steps toward realizing sustainable business practices. Adopting a sustainable business ethic requires a strong commitment on the part of both management and the workforce, and Modernistic has made that commitment. Since 2009, Modernistic has been certified under the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership Program (SGP Partnership). The SGP Partnership is a non-profit organization that validates printing facilities’ sustainability initiatives, including and beyond regulatory compliance. The SGP certification process encourages printers and suppliers to reduce their environmental impact and increase social awareness of their best practices towards assuring print buyers a more sustainable supply chain.

In 2014 and moving into 2015, Modernistic has reduced their lacquer usage by 26 percent, and plan to continue to increase that number by creating and implementing strict handling procedures, introducing more sustainable cleaning solutions, and by better training employees on proper lacquer amounts required for screen cleaning. Additionally, Modernistic is testing chemicals with a lower VOC content to not only reduce employee exposure, but also VOC emission from the entire facility.

In past years they have reduced their volume of wax in screen making by 46 percent, and measures have been taken — with the help of the company’s new Signtronic Stencil Master Screen Maker — to implement continued reduction. Use of the Signtronic Stencil Master Screen Maker eliminates the need for plotting opaque wax in the process. The cost of shipping heavy wax is erased, and wax is no longer washed into the wastewater stream. By lowering environmental risk, screen making wax is reduced, and so is Modernistic’s carbon footprint.

“[For over 75 years], Modernistic has served our customers by providing products and resources focused on delivering sustainable results and business practices,” commented co-CEO James Schulte. “We believe this extends outside the company to serve the health and wellness of our environment and the community at large.”

Schulte goes on to describe the company as one committed to operating in a sustainable manner, integrating environmental, health and safety (EHS) affairs into all of their operations. He and his staff strive to ‘live’ the company slogan: “A Better Way Every Day.”

Upon receipt of sustainability recognition, Modernistic has pledged to “be compliant with all applicable EHS and labor regulations,” and will “endeavor to lead by example,” performing twice annual system reviews and regular audits to ensure sustainable results. Modernistic has acknowledged their role in establishing goals and implementing procedures that clearly define prevention activities as related to healthy lives, safety and the environment:

• The health and safety of Modernistic’s employees shall, as always, be a top priority.
• Modernistic’s commitment to environmental stewardship will result in clean, safe and sustainable technologies and processes routinely initiated.
• As a part of pollution prevention endeavors, Modernistic will research and initiate methods and practices that emphasize source reduction, reuse and recycling.
• Modernistic will minimize releases to the air by seeking ways to reduce VOC emissions.

For more information about Modernistic’s commitment to sustainability, or to learn more about the services they offer, visit

About Modernistic 
Modernistic, a leading national décor, display and graphics company, was founded in 1938 by Clifford L. Schulte. Now in its third generation of Schulte family ownership, Modernistic is a leading national sign and graphics company. Modernistic’s growth and evolution is fueled by talented and responsive associates, emerging technology and its adaptation to changing markets in order to satisfy and exceed our customer’s demands with superior results and value. A centrally located production facility provides customers with savings in both time and distribution costs. With 160,000 squre feet, multiple screen and digital presses capable of large and small format printing, Modernistic’s Stillwater, Minnesota location has the capacity to handle any project — no matter its size or complexity.

Publication/Release Date: 
May 13, 2014

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