[Guest Article] Sustainability at PRINT & DIGITAL CONVENTION: Top Industry Congress plus Trade Fair

PRINT & DIGITAL CONVENTION, PDC, which takes place on October 20 and 21 in Düsseldorf, wires together all important topics of the graphics industry with the advantages of the formats trade fair, congress and networking: eight theme worlds, four parallel lecture series every day with 48 lectures and workshops and over 60 exhibitors. Sustainability is a main topic with 6 presentations on both days. 


PRINT & DIGITAL CONVENTION, PDC, which takes place on October 20 and 21 in Düsseldorf, wires together all important topics of the graphics industry with the advantages of the formats trade fair, congress and networking: eight theme worlds, four parallel lecture series every day with 48 lectures and workshops and over 60 exhibitors. Sustainability is a main topic with 6 presentations on both days. 

After 2018 and 2019 there are again many international trademarks on site in 2021, for example, the Antalis GmbH, Canon Deutschland GmbH, ESKO, Fedrigoni Deutschland GmbH, FKS, HP Deutschland GmbH, Kodak GmbH, Konica Minolta Deutschland GmbH, OKI, Inapa Deutschland GmbH, Mondi AG, LEONHARD KURZ Stiftung & Co. KG, Koehler Paper SE and many more. Furthermore, about 20 specialised printing companies, many software service providers and other companies from many different industry sectors will be joining them.

Many people visited the last two trade fairs in 2018 and 2019 – it was busy, but had a casual atmosphere.

Wherever you looked back then, there were lively conversations in the huge foyer, which in 2021 will also be a connecting area between the trade fair and the congress again. 

Everything is Interlinked: One Trade Fair, 8 Theme Worlds, about 60 Exhibitors, 1.200 Visitors

Regardless of the booth at which visitors get information, which speaker they listen to or which conversations they have – its all about media: printed, digital, personalized, data generated, refined, sustainable, diverse combinations or the ones, which pack all kinds of products and/or offer safe protection and attract the attention of the customers with the help of special refining and functions at the unboxing or at the point of sale. 

Various areas of the mediaproduction merge together interdisciplinary:

For example the variable data print, which would be unthinkable without powerful software and appropriate production machinery. Or printed, understandable messages, which through sustainable labeling and refined, environmentally compatible substrates emphasize the respective mission statements. This also includes clever packaging which is based on intelligent, customized concepts. Think about hybrid marketing campaigns, which are printed but triggered digitally or alternatively digital services, which are enhanced through print. Ordering processes of printed material, which is offered on the internet, can meanwhile be completely automated through web to print technologies – and so much more. 

The topics that are relevant on PDC, often interlock promptly and form big intersections as well as intelligent synergies. Subsections, services and/or functions interact or require each other. Logical production and creative chains are often based on the collaboration between diverse technologies:

Eventually all ways lead to the physical or digital mediaproduction – so to say as the meta topic of the trade fair.  

The complexity around this central trade fair topic is also reflected in the themed worlds of the trade fair:

  • Dialogue Marketing,
  • Value Added Printing,
  • Further Processing,
  • Label & Packaging,
  • Printed Electronics,
  • Brand & Product,
  • Interior / Exterior Design,
  • Sustainable Mediaproduction.

These main topics operate just like an automobile, where different components mutually require each other: Tires and engine are two absolutely different products – but they can only function together.


Eight theme worlds, four parallel series of lectures each day, with a total of 48 specialist lectures and workshops and over 60 exhibitors, including well-known international brands such as Canon, ESKO, Fedrigoni, FKS, HP, Kodak, Konica Minolta, KURZ, Mondi, OKI, etc. Copyright: PDC.

PRINT & DIGITAL CONVENTION spreads out a big roof over all these intricate theme worlds and does this complexity justice with its unique communicative concept of the congress exhibition. The organisers call it business lounge, but this foyer is much more than that: The huge area is not just the connection between the trade fair and the congress, but also, in our opinion, the heart of the event – basically forming the ninth main topic, networking: 

Networking at high tables, the bars or the seating areas – undisturbed, not anonymous! An optimal atmosphere for communication.

Congress: 2 Days, 4 Slots, 48 Top-Class Lectures

Not without a reason, the lectures are formatted to 30 minutes, even if they might be 5 minutes longer in the end. The right dosage is needed, especially keeping in mind the huge quantity of high quality themes. The idea is simple but brilliant, 

because the speakers are on-site to stay.

The speakers are prepared for individual conversations after their presentations. The congress starts daily at 09:30 AM. On both days 4 slots (congress topics) are offered:

  1. Value Added Printing,
  2. Dialogue Marketing, Technology, Know-how,
  3. Marketing & Automation,
  4. Sustainable Mediaproduction.

Every slot offers 6 lectures on both days respectively, which means that 24 substantial lectures are provided every day – 48 lectures on both days. The speakers are managing directors, doers, inventors and drivers of the respective topics – generally they are contact people of the highest and second highest management level. Through this

power dating concept

the visitors can optimally help themselves to the theme buffet of the congress. “The substantial information I can’t pass on in 30 minutes, I also will not be able to pass on in an hour”, says Rüdiger Maas, the managing director of the Fachverband Medienproduktion e.V., f:mp. Next to drupa this association is the co-organiser of the event. 

Optimal Mixture

The association and drupa have developed this concept, which is the integral part of the brand PRINT & DIGITAL CONVENTION in 2018 and continued with it in 2019, as well as now in 2021. “The synergy of entertaining lectures, the compilation of topics, embedded in 4 slots, the format of the trade fair, the mixture of the exhibitors as well as the big networking area interact optimally in this combination.” Since Rüdiger Maas has taken the place of managing director of the f:mp in 1998, the association appears, following the diversived spectrum of the media topic, as

communication logistician,

through long lasting industry initiatives like Creatura, PrintPerfection, Media Mundo, Print digital! or go visual, together with professional events, workshops and various online events. This expertise has grown organically for the past 25 years – the congress fair is practically the result of this, a wonderful face to face format. 

Digital Alternative to the Congress: Websessions

No sophisticated video conference or web session technology can top this format – just as little as a flipbook can imitate a book through its helpless, digital scroll function. Nevertheless, PDC also offers digital visitors the possibility to join lectures of the congress via the internet through web sessions. More on that in the details below. 

Highlights of the Congress Themes: Sustainable Mediaproduction

Entrepreneurs have by now recognized that sustainable management is on the cusp of reaching a new dimension regardless of the industry. The demand is booming. High-quality, sustainable assets are more and more criteria for organisations and institutions when looking for sustainable mediaproduction. Also small and middle class companies, the retail trade, the event industry, self employed people and creative agencies specifically inquire much more about high quality, sustainable awards and labels as well as production environments. In accordance to this, the sustainable mediaproduction is one of the main topics of the trade fair in 2021 and is with this importance represented in 12 lectures: 

Guido Rochus Schmidt: “Sustainability is more than basic environment protection”

“Sustainable mediaproduction” is a concept, which is known, often used, but yet still has not a constant defined meaning. Which labels and norms and which specific processes, for example in the production, include sustainable mediaproduction? Meanwhile, there are clearly defined, but hardly known sustainable standards, such as in the paper production, the printing process, the energy management or in the climate compensation. 

“Sustainable mediaproduction consists of many single, differentiated measures, which have one goal: the local, regional as well as the global protection of resources and climate. In order to fulfill this aim, all processes of mediaproduction must be inspected to document and evaluate the whole environmental impact of a printing company”, says Guido Rochus Schmidt. The practitioner led Druckerei Ulenspiegel-Druck for almost 40 years. Under his leadership the company Ulenspiegel Druck was the first printing company in Germany to receive the EMAS certification in 1999. Schmidt initiated more standards like the “Gemeinwohlzertifizierung” or the “Blauen Engel DE-UZ 195”. 

Schmidt will be talking about current standards of sustainable mediaproduction, the latest changes, for example regarding the “EU Ecolabel” or the “Blauen Engel DE-UZ 195” in the new 2021/2022 version on October 20 at 10:45 AM. He will also include a general summary of all relevant labels.

In an additional presentation on October 21 at 10:45 AM, Schmidt will be talking about a current study that deals with the current situation of sustainable mediaproduction in Germany. 

The study provides the latest facts regarding the status quo and the future of sustainable printing companies in the German printing industry. 

Study that deals with the current situation of sustainable mediaproduction in Germany

Study, including industry survey on the situation of sustainable media production in Germany, published as a basic work for the “Blauer Engel DE-UZ 195” campaign. Copyright: UmDEX.de

The campaign relating to the state subsidization of “Blauer Engel DE-UZ 195” printing products (KSB) was initiated in spring 2021 by UmDEX, Media Mundo and Highendmedia GmbH. The goal of the subsidization of printing products, that are awarded with the “Blauen Engel”, is to balance out the additional costs that are tied to it.

The foundation for this political process was supported by the questioning of 152 sustainable printing companies that provided valid data, numbers and facts in regard to the current market situation of sustainable mediaproduction. Guido Rochus Schmidt will talk about the most important results of the study in his presentation and will introduce the accompanying whitepaper „Blauer Engel DE-UZ 195 | Cradle to Cradle“: a comparison of state supported and non state supported sustainable design concepts. 

The results of the study, including a strategy paper and further studies, will also be presented at a press conference on October 20, 2021.

Martin Lind: “No fear to be certified with the ‘Blauer Engel DE-UZ 195‘“

Martin Lind, managing director at Industriedruck Brandenburg GmbH and consultant at Umweltdruck Berlin GmbH, is an RAL gGmbH authorised consultant that can award printing products the “Blauer Engel DE-UZ 195”.

“Many printing companies shy away from the work when it comes to the certification of the ‘Blauer Engel DE-UZ 195‘. That’s why I am accompanying the presentation of Mr. Schmidt and showing, using a specific example, what work really is needed for such a certification – I will present a typical progress for the certification process and talk about technical and mechanical pre-conditions.” Lind will also be focussing on older machinery, for example, in the lighting and printing process and will elaborate on how these can be converted in accordance to the label. 


Whitepaper, with facts about the Blauer Engel DE-UZ 195, EU Ecolabel and Cradle to Cradle labels, published for printers and marketers. Copyright: UmDEX.de.

Martin Lind and Guido Rochus Schmidt are inviting people to participate, bringing a good overview with them and thus reducing the supposed complexity. Martin Lind motivates by saying, “After entrepreneurs start getting into the details of this topic, the complexity begins to dissolve”. 

Mario Drechsler: “Sustainable mediaproduction starts before the printing process.”

Mario Drechsler, managing director at Highendmedia GmbH, has specialised in the production of sustainable media: “High quality certified printing companies are finally understanding how to nicely market the sustainable services they offer. A lot has happened in that field: customers often get different certifications, awards and labels and sustainable papers right away – if they are not asking directly themselves, like I do.”  

“Sustainable media is one of my absolute focus topics!

The source for a sustainable printing product is the earliest design phase.” Then, the search for the right printing company and a fitting paper for the project begins, and all the other project conditions are probed, says Drechsler.  

Drechsler will hold his presentation on October 20 at 03:00 PM in Slot 4, and will be talking about the design of sustainable media, saving potentials that can be realized in the preparation phase of the print, standardisation and personalisation in relation to printing quality and eventually about the technical aspect of the print, which will include the color space expansion for uncoated recycling paper, for example like PSOuncoated_v3_Fogra52.

Alexander Rossner: “Some people do not know what electricity provider they have.“

Alexander Rossner, founder of Zukunftswerk eG, recommends that managing directors assess the economic aspects of sustainability correctly and analyze them with due appreciation. “Sustainability is still too rarely identified as economic success in the industry of mediaproduction.

What sustainability advocates often wanted, they did not get and what they said was often overheard – thus the topic was often unjustly neglected.”  

The key figures used in each case are rarely compatible: financial managers at printing companies evaluate classically, for example, according to the operating result and the return on investment (ROI), while sustainability experts quantify wastewater reduction, energy reduction or emission reduction. The sustainability indicators are usually shown separately from the financial figures. In most entrepreneurial structures of the reporting system, there are often no bridges to the key figures of the environmental balance sheets: public welfare effects are not sufficiently assessed in terms of balance sheet technology.

“Yet energy is for example the third largest item for printing companies.

The often still too little appreciation in sustainable management does not live up to its monetary significance”, says Alexander Rossner and warns that it is high time to adjust the priorities. “The impact of the legislation is getting closer, for example in terms of sustainability reporting, the Supply Chain Act, the Fuel Emissions Trading Act, since the beginning of 2021, and soon further regulatory frameworks in environmental protection.” Rossner recommends: “Either I do it now and use the possibilities and gradually price these must-have requirements, or I wake up one morning in a few years with massive existential problems. My advice: use the time now!”

In this context the lawyer points out the groundbreaking decision of the Federal Constitutional Court from March 24, 2021: “This decision has far more reach than generally perceived.

It is the first time in the history of the Constitutional Court that environmental protection is linked to the protection of certain population groups – specifically with the protection of the next generations.” 

He is convinced that this verdict will be the foundation for more well-founded legal rulings – not at some point, but rather soon. Alexander Rossner, voluntary member of the board of directors of Gemeinwohl-Ökonomie Bayern e.V., as well as, chairman of the supervisory board of the Energiegenossenschaft Peißenberg eG, supports companies with the calculation and identification of CO2 emissions. He also helps with the creation of environmental balance sheets, following the standard of the “Deutschen Nachhaltigkeitskodex (DNK)”, or following the high international requirements of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

As co-initiator of the f:mp. initiative Media Mundo the expert will be dedicating himself to these and other topics from the bird’s eye perspective, looking at the whole picture in two related presentations at the congress: October 21 at 12:00 AM and continuing at 01:45 PM. 

12 Lectures with the Topic “Sustainable Mediaproduction”

Next to these 4 lectures, all the other speakers are also providing topics with this high quality: 

20.10.2021: 6 Lectures with Topic “Sustainable Mediaproduction” (Slot 4, Day 1):

  • 1st lecture, 09:30 AM until 10:00 AM: Nachhaltiges Markenimage – echte nachhaltige Verpackungen, Christophe Dujardin, global business development manager sustainability / cold transfer, Leonhard KURZ Stiftung & Co. KG.
  • 2nd lecture, 10:45 AM until 11:15 AM: Aktueller Stand der Nachhaltigen Medienproduktion, like mentioned before, Guido Rochus Schmidt, UmDEX.de.
  • 3rd lecture, 12:00 PM until 12:30 PM: Neutralität bei Papier und Druck, Thomas Staebler, sales manager, ClimatePartner.
  • 4th lecture, 01:45 PM until 02:15 PM: Anreize für den nachhaltigen Papierkonsum setzten – am Beispiel des Blauer Engel für Druckerzeugnisse, Almut Reichart, production integrated environmental protection paper and pulp manufacturer, Umweltbundesamt.
  • 5th lecture, 03:00 PM until 03:30 PM: Optimierungspotenziale zur Nachhaltigkeit und Qualität in der Printproduktion, like mentioned before, Mario Drechsler, mediaproducer and managing director, Highendmedia GmbH.
  • 6th Lecture, 04:15 PM until 04:45 PM: Vier “Win-Win-Win-Effekte” bei umweltbewussten Printprodukten, Ralf Lokay – eco printing pioneer and managing director, Umweltdruckerei Lokay e.K.

21.10.2021: 6 Lectures with Topic “Sustainable Mediaproduction” (Slot 4, Day 2):

  • 1st lecture, 09:30 AM until 10:00 AM: Nachhaltige Medienproduktion in der Praxis (Motivation, Geschäftsmodell, Produktionsverfahren), anhand real produzierten Druckprodukte mit dem Blauen Engel DE-UZ 195, Jürgen Zietlow, specialised journalist, UmDEX.de.
  • 2nd lecture, 10:45 AM until 11:15 AM: Vorstellung der Studie zur Kampagne Subventionspaket für Blauer Engel Druckprodukte (KSB), like mentioned before, Guido Rochus Schmidt, environmental expert, UmDEX.de.
  • 3rd lecture, 12:00 PM until 12:30 PM: „Go green or die“ – Teil 1: Woher wir kommen, like mentioned before, Alexander Rossner, founder of Zukunftswerk eG.
  • 4th lecture, 01:45 PM until 02:15 PM: „Go green or die“ – Teil 2: Wohin wir gehen (müssen), wie vorbeschrieben, Alexander Rossner, founder of Zukunftswerk eG.
  • 5th lecture, 03:00 PM until 03:30 PM: Nachhaltig Premium, hochwertiges Recyclingpapier für anspruchsvolle Luxusverpackungen, Udo Hollbach, managing director at Koehler Paper Greiz and Christoph Braun, Sales Director, Koehler-Paper Group. 
  • 6th Lecture, 04:15 PM until 04:45 PM: Wie wird Print und wie wirkt Print nachhaltig? Sylvia Wiener, team leader, Printmedia, Inapa Deutschland GmbH. 

Lecture Topics are Systematically Intertwined

The congress offers a broad spectrum of knowledge in the field of sustainable mediaproduction. New information about certifications and labels, real implementations, sustainable media designs, brands and marketing aspects as well as refining in the context of sustainability and a look at the political surroundings.

Co-organizer Rüdiger Maaß points out the importance of synergy between different topics in regards to the theme Value Added Printing: “In accordance to its meaning for us, the topic Value Added Printing is one of the focus points at the congress (Slot 1), with a whole of 12 lectures. Here, many agencies and printing companies are offered highly interesting business models and sales opportunities, especially when this theme is relating to sustainability. This example shows how we are linking topics together, since their relevance overlays.”

Information and Facts

How to get there:

Entry CCD Stadthalle, Rotterdamerstraße 141, 40474 Düsseldorf, PKW – parking space P5

Opening Hours:

  • Wednesday, October 20, 2021: 9.00 AM until 6.00 PM (Evening event afterwards)
  • Thursday, October 21, 2021: 9.00 AM until 5.00 PM


Ticketshop: https://tdm.f-mp.de/details/eintrittspreise


  • Visitation of the trade fair on one of both days, without congress ticket: 28,00 Euro
  • Visitation of the trade fair plus participation at all the lectures of the congress per day: 155,00 Euro
  • Participation at the web sessions per day: 99,00 Euro



This article was previously published (in German) on umdex.de.

About the Author:

Jürgen Zietlow, management consultant for sustainable communication, specialist journalist, environmental lobbyist | 2005 to 2017 editor-in-chief of MEDIEN magazine | since 2010 analyst for sustainable communication, social monitoring/media | developer of LineCore-Method® (research/editing system).

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