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Committed to a sustainable future: part two

Both COP26 and the global pandemic have increased environmental awareness, causing more people to pay more attention to climate change. It’s clear that if we are to limit the most damaging impacts of climate change, the direction of travel is firmly towards net zero Here, some of the print sector’s leading vendors discuss the need to cut GHG emissions and why strong environmental performance matters to both customers and employees alike

PrintIT Reseller: What are the main objectives and targets of your sustainability strategy, and what progress has been made in meeting your goals?

Dave Prezzano, Managing Director, HP: “Our ambition is to become the world’s most sustainable and just technology company. The measures HP is driving, that build on the strength of our complete list of 2025 goals, are among the most inclusive climate actions in the technology sector and align with relevant UN SDGs. On climate change, we want to drive towards a net zero carbon, full regenerative economy through ocean conservation and forest restoration, and we plan to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across HP’s value chain by 2040. On human rights, we’re committed to achieving 50/50 gender equality in HP’s leadership team by 2030. On digital equity, our goal is to accelerate digital equity for 150 million people by 2030.

“In terms of meeting these goals, we’re already tracking well on both global and local scales. In the UK, we recently worked with conservationist and UN Ambassador Ben Fogle to raise awareness on the importance of strategic reforestation. As part of this awareness campaign, we will plant three trees in UK forests for every comment left underneath Ben’s Instagram video. So far, the campaign has been a great success with 650 comments to date – which means 1,950 trees will be introduced to the UK’s forests with at least 10,000 more due to be planted with the Arbor Day Foundation this year. On a global scale, we’ve already achieved a 56 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions from operations compared to 2015 as well as using over 51 per cent renewable energy in our global operations. We also recycle (on average) around 352 tonnes of hardware and supplies each day – reaching a total of 642,300 tonnes recycled since 2016 with the aim of recycling 1.2 million tonnes by 2025.”

Brother UK Sam Johnson

Sam Johnson, Sustainability and Organisational Development Manager, Brother UK: “Globally, Brother has set itself the target of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The strategy involves reducing our Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions along the 1.5°C trajectory defined in the UN’s Paris Agreement. Meanwhile, the group has revised its 2030 target to reducing the level of Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 65 per cent compared to 2015 levels.

“Our UK operations are at the forefront of the global effort to reduce the environmental impact of the business. For example, Brother UK has just secured carbon neutral status for its recycling and environment technology centre in Ruabon, North Wales. This comes after already achieving our ambition of being 100 per cent net zero waste to landfill across our operations in the UK in 2019.”

Trevor Northfield, Operations Director, Sharp UK: “We have many targets set in our Environmental Management System ISO14001. Responsibly managing our sizeable fleet vehicles and the energy resources they consume is an area where we focus our attention. For example, we triage every technical request to see if we can resolve it remotely and have dedicated work controllers to minimise travel distances between appointments. We also take commuting into account, and aim to position our mobile workforce near home whenever possible using various tools including vehicle trackers.

“We are fortunate enough to have our own bespoke service management system – our team of developers built the system to aid our people and that’s something I am very proud of. Every grade of vehicle we have has hybrid options, and the majority of vehicles we’ve purchased recently are totally hybrid. We have looked very closely at full EV vehicles and tested some; while we are not quite there yet, however I think we have almost reached that tipping point. It’s just a matter of when not if, although I suspect we will end up with a mix of EV and FCEVs as technology gets better and better.”

Sylvie Thomas, Lexmark

 

Sylvie Thomas, Head of Sustainability Policies & CSR (EMEA), Lexmark: “Lexmark’s intention is to be fully carbon neutral by 2035. Since 2005 we’ve successfully reduced our emissions by 62 per cent globally by lowering our energy consumption and new plastics use, recycling and re-using products through our Lexmark Cartridge Collection Program and engineering durable products that are built to last.”

Boris Manev, Head of Sustainability and Government Affairs, Epson Europe: “Epson has clear environmental sustainability targets – both near and long-term. These start with immediate initiatives around business travel reductions, switching to 100 per cent renewable energy, and reducing direct and indirect emissions in line with Science Based Targets by 2025.

“Looking ahead, we’ve committed to spending 100 billion JPY (around £650 million) by 2030 on decarbonisation, closing the resource loop and mitigating our customers’ emissions. Our targets for 2030 include reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our supply chain by more than two million tonnes and reducing total emissions in line with the 1.5°C scenario.

“These initiatives position Epson to meet its Environmental Vision 2050, which is to become carbon negative and underground resource free by 2050.”

Pietro Renda, Chief Marketing Officer, MPS Monitor: “The goal of MPS Monitor is to help our partners and end-users to activate all the necessary procedures to increase and ensure corporate sustainability, which we achieve through our software platform.

“One way in which we work to achieve this goal at a dealer and end-user level, is through the specific features and integration tools that we have incorporated into the platform. As our software is fully cloud-based, no additional hardware is needed from the end-user or retailer, leading to less energy usage, less office space and fewer onsite maintenance needs. Additionally, installation of the DCA can be conducted remotely, so there is no need to visit customers onsite. This cuts traffic pollution and congestion. Plus, through the recent integration with gap intelligence, we can share details of the energy consumption of any monitored device, so users can intervene easily if a device is using an excessive amount of energy.

“Furthermore, by analysing customers’ consumption of toner, dealers can plan more easily and avoid holding large stocks of toner sitting in a warehouse. This enables them to optimise shipments thanks to the benefits of a much more efficient ‘just in time’ delivery process.

“More recently, thanks to PaperCut’s Integration through Microsoft Power BI Reports, dealers can provide endusers with crucial information on print quantities, cost control related to prints, copies, scans and faxes, through reports for users, departments, cost centres and projects. The ability to implement and customise management strategies such as filters, restrictions, and redirection of print jobs, gives users the power to decide where and how to print less, and to use less colour while reducing paper consumption.”

Steve Holmes, EMEA Regional Director, Papercut: “It’s important to point out that at PaperCut, a sustainability strategy isn’t just a recent ‘bolt on’; it’s absolutely core to our DNA, as finding a way to eliminate paper waste was one of the key reasons PaperCut was founded.

“This is why, from day one, sustainability has been one of our foundational values. To that end, across all PaperCut customers, we did some number crunching, and we anticipate that our Hold/Release function alone has held back over 3.4 billion sheets. Of that 3.4 billion held, only 1,063 billion were released, giving us a total of 2,337 billion sheets saved. That’s helped to save over 280,000 trees; and it’s not just the trees saved that we need to think about, but the energy and toner preserved, too.”

PrintIT Reseller: To what extent do you think customers (and employees) want to align themselves with organisations who place sustainability high on the business agenda?

Dave Prezzano: “We’re seeing a growing number of customers aligning themselves with organisations who prioritise sustainability not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s good for business as well. The launch of our Amplify Impact programme offers learning opportunities for partners on diversity and sustainability, including issues around climate change, social justice and the digital divide.

“While the programme is voluntary, we are proud to say that over 80 per cent of our UK partners have signed a pledge with HP that taps into HP’s knowledge, training, and resources to assess and improve their sustainability performance whilst optimising sustainability-driven sales.”

Sam Johnson: “In our recent survey of 500 IT decision-makers, 83 per cent said that operating more sustainably is a key part of their businesses’ plans. The issue is clearly high on the agendas of most firms, and they’re examining their supply chains as part of their sustainable transformation. So, it’s crucial that partners and vendors have strong environmental credentials as businesses scrutinise suppliers’ impact on the environment.”

Trevor Northfield: “Most of our customers and staff take sustainability very seriously, and we believe that our commitment to our efforts can make the vital difference in a close pitch. If everything else is equal, I believe in almost every circumstance a responsible company will win a client or a member of staff over another organisation who behaves less responsibly. We are always striving to make sure Sharp remains a great place to work and sustainability is a crucial part of that strategy.”

Sylvie Thomas: “Sustainability is of course important to our employees and customers. People want to align themselves with businesses and partners who share a common goal. It’s only through working together with our partners and customers that we can achieve our goals of reducing carbon emissions.”

Boris Manev

Boris Manev: “COP26 proved that there is a clear overwhelming global consensus on the ethical and environmental importance of tackling climate change. These strongly held beliefs understandably influence the choices people make in their day-to-day lives, including where they shop and who they want to work for.

“Our own recent research study of 2,000 consumers found that over half (53 per cent) are no longer buying products from brands they deem to be unsustainable, proving the importance of placing sustainability high on the agenda to secure long-term consumer support.

“Younger generations in particular attach a high value to companies seen to have a purpose beyond simple economic profit. An additional Epson survey of over 4,000 people found that 86 per cent of gen Z and 79 per cent of gen Y are paying more attention to the environmental and social credentials of the brands they engage with.

“Having a customer base that cares about the environment is also a plus for any company, as it allows it to confidently say that it engages with those who care about the planet.”

Pietro Renda: “Protecting the environment is a collaborative effort, and everyone has a role to play personally and professionally.

“The younger generation possibly have a greater appreciation of their environmental responsibilities than, say, the current workforce, for whom it has become an important C-Level issue only over the last few years. This is promising because over time, it means workplaces will feature even more environment-centric teams.

“We can, therefore anticipate that employees will not just be looking at the career opportunities an organisation offers, but what it is doing to help create a cleaner, safer environment for everyone on the planet. Equally, we can see scenarios in the future where a company’s environmental credentials will be as important a factor when deciding which organisations to work or partner with.”

Steve Holmes: “I think everyone is now more aware of their personal and professional obligations to the environment. Good practice on that front is flowing in both directions from the home to the workplace, reinforcing positive behaviour that, long-term, benefits the environment.

“With that as a backdrop, I believe that individuals and organisations will be scrutinising the environmental practices and behaviours of organisations and brands before they align themselves with them. In the same way that many companies won’t conduct business with those that exploit workers or turn a blind eye to poor pay or poor work conditions, we are seeing more customers putting sustainability at the top of their purchasing requirements than ever before. It’s moving from what was previously a ‘tick-box’ exercise to now being a key purchasing decision.”

PrintIT Reseller: Does strong environmental performance provide a valuable source of competitive advantage? What, if any, business value have you seen from your sustainability efforts?

Dave Prezzano: “Strong environmental performance lends itself to competitive advantage. The measure of success for every company today is tied to empowering progress for the planet and its people – if you are not acting as a pioneer right now, you will be passed by very quickly. In everything we do as a company, we look to see how it can affect the planet, people (internally and externally) and profit. HP’s commitment to sustainable impact has become a difference maker for the business, driving more than $1 billion in new sales for the second year in a row, and becoming a competitive advantage in our goal to be the most sustainable and just technology company by 2030.”

Sam Johnson: “Acting sustainably is becoming far more commercially advantageous. We’ve worked with partners on tenders where up to 40 per cent of the scoring has been weighted towards sustainability and we expect this trend to continue as environmental concerns increasingly shape decisionmaking among the public sector, businesses and consumers.

“There’s also a fast-growing market for solutions that enable customers to act more sustainably by cutting waste and using less energy. The print IT sector is fulfilling this with devices that work into the circular economy and have a longer machine life. So, being sustainable is equally as important as providing green solutions in leveraging this competitive advantage.”

Trevor Northfield: “Yes definitely. For a start it reduces your costs but we have also found that by having good processes (for example how we handle our recycling) it also encourages a culture of good processes across other areas. The net gain is a better quality service for our clients while reducing our costs at the same time.”

Sylvie Thomas: “Sustainability is high on the priority list for most businesses and a strong consideration in buying decisions today. Our range of sustainability initiatives enable our customers to reduce their costs and help them reach their own carbon neutrality goals through longerlasting and lower-energy use devices. We believe it certainly does add competitive advantage, particularly when customers are looking for a partner who will support them in these efforts.”

Boris Manev: “While the moral case for a shift in focus to sustainability is compelling, there is also a clear business imperative too.

“For the reasons outlined above, if consumers are feeling more strongly about the environment and even boycotting brands whose environmental credentials don’t stack up, then it makes sense that brands with focused sustainability efforts will experience a competitive advantage.

“In terms of business printing, the only segment to see growth in recent years is business inkjet, which provides real world proof of how consumers are actively changing their purchasing habits to more sustainable options.”

Pietro Renda

Pietro Renda: “By the time all companies have levelled up with respect to their collective environmental efforts, we can’t see it having a commercial benefit per se, but it will have a positive environmental benefit which is of course the goal. Until then, companies like MPS Monitor that take an early lead on this matter, will be viewed more favourably for already taking steps to being a responsible corporate citizen. What we can say with some certainty though, is that the companies that make no or little effort to put the environment at the top of their CSR initiatives, will be the ones that stand to lose out in the long-term.”

Steve Holmes: “It’s one thing to have a solution that, by default, delivers environmental value for its users. It’s another, though, to strive to ensure that all aspects of your businesses operations are as environmentally friendly as possible. We think the latter will become much more important over time, as companies look to partner with organisations that have similar environmental ambitions to their own.

“For some time, PaperCut’s environmental efforts have been holistic, covering staff, buildings, customers and local communities. In fact, we hold ourselves accountable internally to meeting high sustainability standards. We think what’s being done behind the scenes to help protect the environment will be under the spotlight just as much as more public-facing initiatives.

“With respect to whether a good environmental performance aids competitive advantage, it may do for a while until such a time that there’s much commonality between what companies are doing from an environmental perspective; loosely speaking, it’s a similar scenario to the early days of the NCAP safety testing for cars. Initially, the performance between models differed enormously. Now that safety has become a priority for consumers, manufacturers have responded by making safer cars. The test results are not only far better, but they are largely uniform across brands. This makes using safety as a USP more difficult now that every manufacturer is on board with it. So while I think that right now there is a small window of opportunity for companies to promote their environmental credentials, I don’t think that window will be open for long.”

PrintIT Reseller: How are you engaging your employees in your sustainability efforts?

Dave Prezzano: “Engaging our employees in our sustainability efforts is extremely important. For the past two years, under the leadership of our CEO Enrique Lores, sustainable impact targets, including diversity, equity and inclusion, have been part of the annual performance evaluation for our executive leadership team. Now, for the first time, every HP employee is encouraged to set a sustainable impact goal as part of their goal setting process. This move emboldens every one of our employees worldwide to have a personal stake in the success of our sustainable impact strategy regardless of their role or title – essentially, we’re empowering a 55,000-person sustainable impact team within our company. Employees have greater control, meaning and purpose in their work, while helping accelerate our efforts to creating positive, lasting change at scale.

“The goals can be as individual and unique as the employee. For example, making a commitment to champion equality in their team by organising perspective-sharing events, or by actively engaging in the HP Racial Equality and Social Justice Task Force. Others could commit to expanding our closed loop recycling process, enabling more end-ofservice takeback options, or empowering our customers’ transition to a circular, low-carbon economy. These are just a few ideas, but when we multiply that kind of individual action by hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of employees, you can quickly see the magnitude of the impact we can create.”

Sam Johnson: “It ultimately falls on all of our people to help enable Brother’s sustainable transformation. As such, we are making sure that our ‘Five Rs’ are ingrained into all aspects of working life. These are: refuse environmentally burdensome materials when possible; reduce waste material; reuse waste materials without processing; reform waste materials in a different form; and recycle materials as resources.

“To further support our staff’s sustainability efforts, we’re beginning to introduce fully electric vehicles to our fleet of company cars, and we’ve also developed a new travel ‘self-serve’ platform. This allows colleagues to search for business travel by using CO² reduction as a filter.”

Trevor Northfield: “We have various ways of keeping employees engaged in our sustainability efforts, including but not limited to training. Sharp provides online content for employees to access, team meetings, coffee break meetings and we also have various employee groups, including a specific group that deals with Corporate Social Responsibility.”

Sylvie Thomas: “At Lexmark, we are committed to creating a cleaner, smarter and more sustainable future where we live and work, and we engage our employees in our initiatives to work together with suppliers and partners to ensure a positive impact on people and communities, while limiting the impact on the environment. We continue to prioritise maintaining efficient use of natural resources at our manufacturing, research and development, and office facilities worldwide.

“Alongside sharing resources and information with our employees, we involve them in practical initiatives to positively impact their local communities. Between 2008 and 2021, Lexmark employees have planted over 627,456 trees around the world in parks, schools, cities and forests, with the goal of reaching 800,000+ by 2025.”

Boris Manev: “Epson want its employees to remain mindful of the environment while on the job. We feel it is important for them to consider how their conduct, both at work and at home, affects the environment and we want them to take the initiative in coming up with real world solutions. Toward that end, Epson provides environmental education and promotes correct understanding of ecological practices.

“Our environmental education curriculum for employees consists of a general education program, a professional education program, and general awareness-building activities.

“The general education program consists of a mandatory Basic Environmental Training course as a first step, followed by echelon-based training courses in which non-management employees, managers, and executives learn what action they need to take in their respective positions to address environmental issues.

“In the professional education program, employees select the courses they need in their particular area in order to acquire the skills and knowledge required for environmental action. We also build general environmental awareness among all personnel in a variety of ways, including through environmental messages from management to all employees and by implementing special actions during Environmental Sustainability Month and Energy Conservation Month.”

Pietro Renda: “Our employees are focused on improving our platform day-by-day with sustainability in mind. In addition, every day we respect and adhere to sustainable behaviour, which as responsible citizens of the world we consider to be fundamental.

“Therefore, we print and copy only when strictly necessary and we set our devices to duplex printing while ensuring devices are on ‘Ecoprint’ mode so as to consume less ink. We have also enabled the stand-by function, while avoiding screen savers featuring photos or text. At the end of each working day, we disconnect devices. We also place differentiable waste (paper, plastic, aluminum, glass, organic materials etc.) in the appropriate containers to facilitate the efficient recycling of waste, which in turn decreases the consumption of resources and energy.

“We also encourage smart working approximately 90 per cent of the time, travelling only when strictly needed. Of course, we’re reliant on video calls and phone calls for managing and conducting business with our partners, customers and suppliers.”

Steve Holmes

Steve Holmes: “We have created an environment where it is easy for our ‘PaperCutters’ to take part in our efforts to be as sustainable as possible. For instance, in our buildings, occupancy sensors or timers are used for lighting efficiency, while programmable thermostats automatically reduce heating and air conditioning during closed hours. Maintenance checks are regularly conducted on HVAC and other energy-intensive equipment, while windows are double-pane or better and doors are weather-sealed. Our TVs, MFDs and light up signage are all on power save/auto timers. When we moved into our Bracknell office, we also made a conscious effort to look for ways to minimise waste, and have eliminated the use of individual waste baskets at desks.

“Food scraps are composted, and only reusable dishware is available for day-today office use. Only tap water is provided at our workplace; no water delivery service or single-serve plastic bottles.

“Centralised printers are used, while paperless alternatives are used whenever possible (paystubs, invoicing, orientation materials, etc.) The majority of copier paper is used on both sides and recycling bins are clearly labelled, regularly monitored, and education is provided when needed. Furthermore, we put our money where our mouth is and we use our own cloud products to help track and manage our printing activity. Not only does this provide insights on where we have opportunities to improve print habits and behaviours in the office, but it helps to keep our team thoughtful and environmentally conscious when it comes to their own paper use.

“An employee ‘green team’ is encouraged and supported by management in implementing sustainability efforts. In the UK specifically, we have an environmental guild team that meets regularly to discuss sustainability topics and look for ideas to improve our office and environmental impact. We take employee education seriously and educate all employees about sustainability practices. New employees are introduced to these as part of their onboarding programme, where they’re given an orientation on topics including waste reduction, our recycling programmes and commuting options.”

PrintIT Reseller: With which groups are you partnering with regarding key sustainability initiatives?

Dave Prezzano: “At last year’s World Economic Forum (WEF), the Davos Agenda focused on mobilising global leaders to shape the principles, policies and partnerships that will create a more inclusive, cohesive, and sustainable future starting right now. To that end, HP is a founding signatory of the Tech Talent Charter, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to increasing diversity and inclusion in the UK technology industry. At the WEF, HP joined 61 global business leaders in committing to adopt and implement the International Business Council’s Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics. These metrics offer a set of universal, comparable disclosures focused on people, planet, prosperity, and principles of governance that are considered most critical for business, society, and the planet. Standardising metrics helps enable stakeholders to better evaluate and hold businesses accountable for ESG disclosure and performance.

“Finally, through our partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) we aim to reach across the globe to set new standards for environmental leadership. Projects such as The Epicenter for Climate Conservation and Climate Witness focus on analysis, research and data collection in order to reduce HP’s greenhouse gas emissions, improve product energy use, and educate and inspire others to do the same.”

Sam Johnson: “The strength of the initiatives we’ve put in place means that Brother Group joined the FTSE4Good Index in 2020 – a select group of the world’s most environmentally and socially sustainable companies. We were also accredited by Valpak, an environmental consultancy, as being 100 per cent net zero waste to landfill across our UK operations.

“We’re aligned with the UN Global Compact, which outlines 10 principles for sustainable growth. By taking part in the initiative, we’re committed to promoting greater environmental responsibility and driving the development of sustainable technologies.”

Trevor Northfield: “We do the obvious things like working with partners to recycle what waste we do produce (polystyrene, cardboard etc.), and our subcontractors who handle our property maintenance to make them as efficient as possible.

“We also work with the leasing company that supplies our vehicles to try and find out what other organisations are doing which helps us to use best practice whenever practical. We use the Royal Mail network to transport non urgent items around the country, to save our staff extended journeys.

“We of course work closely with our customers to reduce waste – for example, not printing when not necessary. It sounds counterintuitive for a print business but we are much more than that as we are an IT business. We believe by having this attitude it will not only save waste but it will encourage our clients to purchase our other products and services, because they cannot only see the value for money we offer but also our efficiency-first mind-set.”

Boris Manev: “Last year we joined forces with National Geographic to promote the protection of the world’s permafrost – the frozen ground beneath the polar regions of the earth – launching the ‘Turn Down the Heat’ campaign.

“The campaign comes as scientists predict the world’s permafrost will thaw entirely by 2100, drastically changing ecologies, raising global sea levels, and releasing over 950 billion tonnes of methane into the atmosphere. Together, Epson and National Geographic aim to raise awareness of how businesses can reduce their impact of global warming.

“In October 2021, we also announced a Europe-wide partnership with eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt, to be the face of a major awareness building campaign for Epson’s cartridge-free EcoTank printers. Usain demonstrates in his own light-hearted way that with Epson’s EcoTank printers, you can literally “Just Fill and Chill” for up to three years of cartridge-free no hassle printing.”

Pietro Renda: “MPS Monitor has always been committed to respecting natural resources. Through its partnership with PrintReleaf – an organisation that aims to neutralise the environmental impact of printing processes through certified reforestation projects – over 80,000 trees have been planted all over the world to compensate the pages printed through the devices monitored by MPS Monitor. That is an impressive number that quantifies the constant and important commitment of MPS Monitor in collaboration with its commercial partners.

“In this case, MPS Monitor transmits the data from the monitored devices to the PrintReleaf platform, which automatically compensates for paper consumption with the planting of trees in different areas of the world, based on a ratio of 8,333 sheets of paper per tree. This way, PrintReleaf contributes to Trillion Trees, the platform launched by the World Economic Forum to plant a trillion trees in support of the United Nations Decade 2021-2030 for the restoration of the ecosystem. Scientists estimate that reforestation can contribute up to a third of the emission reductions demanded by 2030 to meet the Paris targets.”

Steve Holmes: “PaperCut supports the Australian charitable fund and conservation project, Carbon Positive. Carbon Positive Australia’s reforestation project supports the rehabilitation of degraded Australian land while sequestering carbon and restoring Australian natural biodiversity. Now for every new PaperCut license sold, Carbon Positive Australia plants a tree in one of their controlled sites. We also partner with One Tree Planted, while local building management specialists ensure that our workplace facilities are working as efficiently as they should be.”