Everyone says they are environmentally friendly these days, don't they? At Upstream, we don't just talk the talk, but as the saying goes, we also walk the walk...


Environmentally accredited

The London Environment Centre has awarded us their Green Mark accreditation. Green Mark is an environmental certification that enables businesses and other organisations to improve their environmental performance and gain recognition for doing so.

The process of achieving the accreditation has seen us improve our power saving, recycling and environmental management. This, in addition to our existing good practices, ensured we passed the Green Mark certification.

Southwark Council have also recognised our green credentials by awarding us their Silver Environmental Business Award.


Recycled paper

We can source a wide range of recycled papers, with high levels of post-consumer waste content. That's where the recycled waste was produced by the end consumer of a product (the stuff that people throw away that usually clog up a landfill) not as a by-product of the manufacturing process (trimmings from paper production etc.)

It's not just landfill space recycled paper saves, As waste rots in landfills it releases methane gas, 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change.


For every tonne of paper used for recycling the savings are:


  • at least 30,000 litres of water
  • 3,000 - 4,000 KWh electricity (enough for an average 3 bedroom house for one year)
  • 95% of the air pollution of virgin paper production (no chlorine bleaching process).


Vegetable-based inks

Upstream uses vegetable-based inks with dramatically lower rates of emissions. Conventional printing inks are petroleum-based and used with alcohol-based solvents. As alcohol and petroleum evaporate, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are emitted. VOCs cause environmental pollution and are a health hazard to pressroom workers, creating ozone pollution or photochemical smog.

Vegetable-based inks have dramatically lower rates of VOC emissions. Petroleum inks emit 25 to 40% VOCs as they dry, while rates for vegetable-based inks are as low as 2 to 4%. Vegetable oils used in printing inks are essentially non-hazardous.

Petroleum inks contain products refined from crude oil, which is a finite resource. Energy requirements for extraction, refining and treatment are high, adding to environmental destruction. In contrast vegetable oils are derived from renewable resources. Vegetable based inks also benefit the environment due to greater ease of removal from waste paper during de-inking for recycling.

We are a small charity organization, so we don't produce much publicity, but we have found that over the last 4 years Upstream have been able to meet all our printing needs, with a really friendly and high quality service. Duncan and the team at Upstream have helped us to produce some really beautiful and unique annual reports. What's great about working with Upstream is that they really take time to talk through ideas and options with you; it's a very personalized service. Its great to be able to go to the Upstream office and talk things through and fiddle around with the design work until everything is just right so much better than just sending off a design to some faceless company and keeping your fingers crossed that it comes back the way you want it to look.
We really enjoy the way that Upstream works, and it fits perfectly with the way that we work; we will definitely continue to work together in the future.

Lucy Pearson
Refugee Youth