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In traditional practice, since the early 1960s, petroleum has been used in the production of printing ink despite its adverse effects to the environment. Petroleum-based inks are widely used due to the fact that they have quicker drying time than other natural and artificial pigments that are also available; these inks improve the overall productivity through enabling printers to run and perform faster, and they have high efficiency in printing as the work is much accurate, precise and presentable as explained by Larsen. In spite of the many benefits of petroleum-based inks, they are major contributors of environmental pollution, hence making their use hazardous to the environment and present living things. The pigments used in these inks contain harmful materials including: heavy metals used in coloring, adhesive chemicals and solvent chemicals, which are used to speed the drying process of the ink. Moreover, they have volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are hazardous to the human beings, environment and other living beings when released to the environment. The emission of VOCs contaminate atmospheric air leading to the formation of smog, they also affect the soil fertility when contact with the soil and ground water. In some cases, they cause severe irritation to the workers around the printing machines when these compounds are in a vapor form as explained by Mcminn and Marsosudiro.

In the early 1990s, the government of the United Kingdom put measures to respond to the negative impact on the environment caused by the ink industries. The government legislated reduction of the VOCs emissions in order to minimize the environmental pollution. Several essential laws were passed to be observed by inks manufacturing industries, and in a bid to control further damage to environment other alternatives of inks production such as vegetable-based oil inks were sought, as they ensured as minimal emission of VOCs as possible, as evidenced by Hilson.

Investment in Eco-friendly products is a booming business in the modern market as more efforts are sacrificed in diminishing the damage to the environment by reduction of volatile organic compounds emissions, hence more people and government organization are opting the alternatives of the petroleum-based inks. Erhan asserts that vegetable-based inks such as the soy-based inks are friendlier to the environment as they release very minimal amount of VOCs. Through scientific research, their efficiency has been increased over time and have almost similar characteristics to those of the petroleum-based oil, the difference is only that they have high percentages of the soy oil instead of petroleum. They do not compromise the safety and health of the workers; they have better drying characteristics, reduce water usage in press machine cleaning and can be used on any lithographic press machine. They are available in many applications, formulations and colors as explained by Nickell and Arruda. In addition, they are biodegradable and locally available resources. Nevertheless, the production of green products with as minimal pollution to the environment as possible is the key to a successful business venture which not only advocates the use of its products, but also the significance of maintaining our environment clean through embracing vital social aspects of the society as illustrated by Florida Soybean Producers Association, and Florida. The vegetable-based inks company will focus on production of high quality and environmental friendly inks utilizing as minimal amount of energy and resources as possible through embracing the culture of recycling materials and retrieving value adding substances from the waste and maximizing on profits.

Market summary

Vegetable-based inks

The inks will be produced specifically from the soybean oil. Soy-based inks have minimal emissions of VOCs, hence are friendlier to the environment than their counterpart petroleum-based inks as explained by Erhan. They are easier to de-ink whenever recycling process is carried out, are cost-effective in their disposal, more biodegradable and are easily obtained from abundant and sustainable domestic resources. They are the most preferred in the market because they have a low “low rub-off” quality, they are less likely to build up the printing plate than petroleum-based inks, their oil enhance great printing mileage since it is translucent making the pigment to appear deeper, brighter and richer, and it also certifies environmental consciousness of the consumer.

Market of vegetable-based inks

Over the years the market size for vegetable-based inks has progressively increased as the demands for environmental friendly inks increases; government intervention in companies and business enterprises because of the products that are harmful to the environment has contributed immensely to the introduction of these inks into the market. There is a stiff competition between the newly-introduced vegetable-based inks and petroleum inks, since the former is currently priced at 25% premium thereby threatening its demand as explained by DJS Research LTD. The fact that the government advocates for vegetable-based inks and more people are realizing many benefits associated with it has greatly boosted the marketing of this product. As the company will specialize on the soy-based inks, it has great potential of thriving against the forces of its counterpart as soybean oil is abundant and readily available product in domestic market, and hence its price is expected to remain constant, unlike petroleum oil price which is predicted to rise as the oil fields get exhausted over time. The market size for this product ranges between £200 and 500 million and is faced with the tough completion from well-established industries such as Needham Inks, Shackell Edwards, Big Sky company which specializes on 100% renewable material and many others as illustrated by Great Britain. Stringent strategies need to be undertaken for one to thrive in such a competitive market. There are also gaps in the quality and efficient manufacturing of vegetable-based inks which the company can involve most to establish a good interconnection in the market.    

External factors: PESTLE analysis

Technological change

IT strategy in production

Information technology (IT) is critical for the growth of companies as it provides them with efficient scalability, the latter promotes successful management of the organization as it grows and increases in its complexity. According to recent research, implementation of IT in management systems of the company helps to outplay other competitors in the market and, at the same time, accomplish the main objectives of the business. According to the results of the research conducted in the UK, IT has the capacity to contribute to the growth of potential business enterprises as shown by Shi and Silvius.  Reflecting and applying IT in the strategic plans on producing vegetable-based inks ensures the prediction of sustainable and better performance when introduced into the market. It will enable the company to overcome or avoid obstacles of growth, as well as will help to quickly seize opportunities that arise. Embracing IT in production promotes growth of the company.

Product promotion through the internet

The internet is the hub of many researchers worldwide; it provides a platform over which products are placed for public for scrutiny. To increase the awareness of one’s company product, one need to establish good marketing strategies over the internet to ensure that as many people visit the internet are able to see and appreciate the product. In case of the vegetable-based inks company, new models of internet advertisement and product promotion need to be developed every time to correlate with the pace of technological change as explained by Landes.

Installation of new automatic printing machines/press

Technological change in design of press and printers call for the further specification of the inks used; as demand for better and improved services rises, press are redesigned and introduced into the market to give a more satisfactory outcome, consequently, the vegetable-based industry needs to be flexible enough to accommodate new changes that arise now and then in order to play good competition with other companies producing the same product.

Upgrading the processing machines

Better services and production can only be obtained from fully operational and efficient processing machines. The company needs to employ periodical maintenances and upgrading of machines to meet the standards of modern technology. This ensures smooth and efficient production, hence risks of losses associated to the production machines is avoided. Moreover, changes in market demand may compel the design of totally new processing machine which is able to yield according to customer desires and satisfaction, as explained by Erhan.

Venturing in the vegetable-based inks has been associated with more environmental benefits that propel the usage of this kind of inks even by the future generation. Advantages of using soy-based inks gives investors the great hope for venturing in the sector of ink production as they are much environmental friendly compared to the petroleum-related inks.

Environmental Impact

Environmental impact of the vegetable-based inks is assed using factors such as raw material consumption, primary energy consumption, potential of a global warming, and potential to acidification, ozone layer depletion and solid waste generation. Energy consumption is the accumulated energy from summation of the energy utilized in production, in use, in disposal and the energy content that remains in the product as explained by Leach.

 Soy-based ink environmental benefits are analyzed in terms of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions that are the great cause of the condemned ozone layer depletion leading to the global warming. To shun the depletion of ozone layer that was facilitated by the printing companies using petroleum-based inks, the federal government endorsed the use of vegetable oils to replace the component of petroleum oil in manufacturing of the inks.

VOC Emissions

Soy based inks are more applauded due to minimal emission of Biogenic Volatile Organic Compounds which lead to ozone layer depletion as compared to the earlier used petroleum-based inks. Other than the above advantage, propagation of these soybeans needs only 0.5 of the total energy that is used by the soybean agriculture translating to fewer carbon emissions, hence the venture will be environmental fit to the society. On different approaches, venturing in soy-based inks production ensures workplace safety as there is minimal use of petroleum products but much of vegetable oil is used in the manufacturing processes. As per the ergonomics, minimum petroleum products usage denotes that the indoor air or environment is composed of few chemical fumes, and it gives a safe working environment for the personnel ink manufacturing company. This is a guarantee that the venture will have a secure and safe labor force even in the future, hence this provides the success of the venture. The research shows that the industrial wastes produced by the soy-ink related residues require minimal treatment to be released into the environment, since the waste is considered to be less hazardous as compared to the petroleum-based inks as revealed by Askew and Bowles.

The above analysis of the environmental impact of venturing into production of eco-friendly inks predicts a success of the business in regard to the effect to the environment. As opposed to other petroleum-based inks, vegetable (soy)-based inks prove to produce minimal VOCs, levels that are within the limits agreed with the environmental policies.

Economic Analysis

Economic analysis shows that black vegetable-based ink have the same printing capability producing a print of the same good quality as petroleum-based inks. The ink is said to cost 30%-50% more than petroleum based inks since they contain about 25% hydrocarbon resin, moreover, the black ink needs 20% pigments and formulation of 80% as explained by Bisset. This high market price is a reflection of a similar high cost of manufacturing the vegetable-based inks. The colored vegetable-based inks have good quality print with their cost being 10% more than the petroleum based inks. Vegetable oil based inks have an addition in cost-efficiency due to their low demand for ink application that results in high-quality delivery since the oil allows the pigments to reach complete vibrancy of colors.

The vegetable oil based inks fit well to already existing petroleum-based ink printers since switching to the eco-friendly inks requires no conversion of the printing equipment. This makes the adoption of the vegetable-based inks to be easier, hence increasing the chances of a success of a new venture of the eco-friendly inks production.

From economic perspective, an evaluation is done on the life cycle cost in areas such as labor, capital investment, wastes, supply chain, energy consumed, safety and environmental health.  The ink cost is calculated from the cost of the raw materials, labor, the production cost of the energy consumed among others as clarified by Bowles. Vegetable inks utilizing resin chemistry have reduced VOC emissions that economically get rid of the use of hydrocarbon solvents to wash the already spent ink hence reducing the cost during recycling.

Vegetable oil based inks are easy to recycle in a way that the already used ink is blended together with the virgin ink making the ink production cost effective as few raw material are utilized, reducing the amount of ink going to waste. The economic incentive behind ink recycling is as a result of the ink and solvent recovered in the recycling process, the lowered cost of disposal and reduced liability by controlling the disposal of wastes that are potentially hazardous.  The above stated high production cost relievers increases the chances of success to a new venture in production of Eco-friendly inks maximizing the profits of such an industry.


From the above analysis, cost-effectiveness, environmental awareness and innovation technology helps in development and success of inks production industries in future. The industries are experiencing the rapid speed of automation that increases the demand of Eco-friendly and high-quality inks. The analysis from the facts above has a prediction of increase in demand for vegetable oil based inks with the increase in environmental awareness, hence decrease in usage of petroleum-based inks. This is due to the fact that vegetable oil based inks proved to have lower environmental impacts in addition to a low life cycle cost.

Potential Opportunities

Potential opportunities of venturing in production the vegetable oil based inks are based on environmental impact and the advancement of technology in the future. Starting with environmental effects, vegetable oil based inks creates wastes to the environment whose toxicity levels are within the limits of environmental policies. The success of this opportunity will be much experienced due to the restriction in use of the petroleum-based inks because of their continued negative effects to the environment such as the depletion of the ozone layer. According to the ergonomics policies, workers should be subjected to a conducive environment (free from toxins, with fair and not harsh conditions), and with vegetable oil based inks the conditions are met as revealed by the United States. Poor working conditions in petroleum-based ink manufacturers will result to workers moving to those companies in which, they think, their safety and health standards are met, improving the success to the Eco-friendly ink producing companies hence a successful market conditions for the product.

Technology advancement opportunity is based on the ability to change from petroleum inks to use of vegetable inks without a change in a used printing machine, as revealed by Flick. Vegetable oil based inks adapt well in printers earlier using petroleum inks with a more ease to convert to lighter colors which was more difficult by petroleum inks. Technology has eased the possibility of ink recycling for vegetable inks reducing the amount of ink wasted resulting to cost efficiency. Printing industries will adopt the use of these inks to ensure they lose less ink as waste thereby increasing the market for the vegetable based ink.

Potential Threats

On the other hand, potential threats that are probably to challenge the production of vegetable oil based inks are related to the market competition and lower cost of the petroleum-based inks. From research, the cost of the vegetable oil based inks is higher, the black ink costs almost 25% more than the petroleum inks due to the high cost of manufacturing. The higher cost will not be able to compete effectively with the relatively cheap petroleum inks posing a threat of failure of the venture. Holding the environmental impact factor, consumers will opt to use the cheaper inks considering that they also want to maximize their profit, as said by Ramsey.

The time that the vegetable based oils takes to dry poses the venture into a risk of not growing. The ink takes long to dry; having poor drying ability, it increases chances of creation of rub-off resistance and setting off of the unsightly markings on the work. The printing companies will not dare to risk increasing these chances, hence the will opts to use the competitive petroleum-based inks. Upon weighing the threats and opportunities of the production of vegetable-based inks, the opportunities outdo the threats due to the technical superiority and favor to environmental policies, hence the success of the venture is favored.

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