ISO 16759 involved input from various manufacturers and environmental scientists who work in the printing industry.

It was developed by the Verdigris Project, a UK-based environmental initiative that carries out work on the environmental impact of print and other media.

The new standard encompasses all types of printed product, from labels to newspapers and transactional mail, and has been completed in less than three years.

Project director Laurel Brunner said: “We’ve had lots of input from all around the world from people who recognise the importance of this.”

She added: “It is written to be as clear and straightforward as possible, making it really easy for people to follow. If you understand how to reduce your carbon impact, you cut your costs.”

Brunner said that experts from the Japanese printing industry had been particularly engaged with the process. “The Japanese printing federation, with support from the government, have earmarked a lot of funding for improving the environmental impact of print and improving the industry’s competitiveness through environmental means.

“It’s a UK initiative, and I would have loved it if the UK had had more involvement.”

Print companies in Germany, Japan, and the US are among early adopters to implement the standard.

“It will become more important as print buyers recognise the value of it for their CSR policies,” Brunner added.

The standard can be downloaded from the ISO website. It costs CHF146 (£101).

The next phase of the Verdigris project involves developing an equivalent calculator for electronic media.