The second edition of Quocirca’s Print 2025 market insight study found that sustainability has leapt up the corporate agenda. The majority of respondents expect sustainability to be highly important to their business by 2025, while 52 per cent of IT decision-makers state that lowering environmental impact is the number one print management challenge they face, outweighing cost reduction and security
Almost two-thirds of respondents to the study said they expect suppliers to adopt a leading position on sustainability by 2025. In light of this, PrintIT Reseller invited a panel of industry leaders to explain how they have embedded sustainability within their own business and how they are helping clients to reduce the environmental impact of print.
Mark Bailey, Managing Director, EBM
“The printer industry isn’t renowned for its environmental conscience, but if you take a closer look, manufacturers are making some real progress. At EBM we want to pass this on to our clients. We want to go further than simply providing more efficient printers with less waste. We see it as our responsibility to make sure we reduce our own impact, as well as our customers as much as possible.
“As a managed print provider, we recommend rules-based printing which can enforce a number of policies across print devices, such as printing doublesided by default or deleting uncollected jobs after a set period of time. These are just some of the policies that act to reduce waste and give control over the print fleet. This means less paper, less ink/toner and less wasteful printing.
“We also provide customers with the opportunity to enter into our Green Print Programme. The aim of this is to offer clients a means of addressing the carbon footprint generated by their print operations. Once a year, EBM calculates the CO2 produced by each client’s print operations. This includes the power used to run the printer and diesel used for site visits. This is invested in a Quality Assurance Standard (QAS)-verified offset project on behalf of our clients.
“Our environmental policy includes an action plan to measure and reduce our carbon emissions. We’re aiming to achieve carbon neutrality again in our office operations in 2020, whilst continuing to drive down the environmental impact of our fleet operations. Earlier this year, we offset 100 per cent of our 2019 carbon emissions, which amounted to 24.43 tonnes of CO2. In addition, we also use renewable energy provider Bulb, which lowered our overall impact more.
“We are very conscious of the environmental impact companies can have. We see it as our responsibility to make sure we reduce our own impact as much as possible. We strive to address this throughout the business, whether this is through offsetting, using renewable energy, or implementing our environmental policy.”
Alex Tatham, Managing Director, Westcoast
“As sustainability becomes an ever increasing consideration on any tender response and any GenZ young person considers an organisation’s environmental credentials before even applying for a role – it is no surprise that a company’s position on sustainability is increasingly important for their business interests.
“Yet boards are also increasing their focus on sustainability – and for Westcoast, this involves both establishing our suppliers’ positions as well as ensuring Westcoast is improving its own credentials and policies. These can be micro – i.e. using recycled material in packaging, ensuring that employees use Microsoft Teams more to reduce their travel requirements – or more macro – deciding which products to sell dependent upon their environmental impact and which partners to deal with.
“Print has always been an issue in advance of the environmental questions posed to it – largely because it has a negative effect on the environment. Printing less is seen as a good thing for the environment as paper is generally considered an environmentally expensive product. However, print companies have been working on this issue for longer and have made great strides in their focus on producing less wasteful, more recyclable printers alongside modern print software that not only allows businesses to improve their security, but also to ‘encourage’ less printing.
“Print will be ever present, so it’s all of our responsibility to do it in the best possible way with the least impact. HP and Lexmark’s modern printers do just this with less ink, toner, heat and power. Perhaps their biggest impact is the fuel charge to get new technology installed – and that we haven’t fixed! YET!”
Mark Garius, Managing Director, ASL Group
“We recognise the need to assess the environmental impact of all our activities and have a coherent plan to minimise it. As an ISO 14001 accredited business, we have initiatives in place that identify how we interact with the environment, spot any actual and potential environmental impacts, and measure progress in meeting our environmental objectives. This means monitoring and reducing the environmental impact of customers, staff, suppliers and channel partners – as well as our own.
“To reduce our own impact, we use Ecotricity for all our internal energy needs. Ecotricity is arguably the UK’s greenest energy company and ensures it is making a genuine contribution by generating the equivalent in green energy that its customers take out of the grid. We have also switched all our main offices to LED lighting to reduce consumption and placed recycling bins throughout the offices.
“To help to reduce our transport emissions and lower fuel consumption, we offer staff the opportunity to work from home and encourage the use of online meeting facilities and collaboration tools. We also provide EV charging points at all our main facilities, and our board directors drive hybrid vehicles.
“We also try to reduce call-outs by monitoring our customers’ machines remotely to keep them at optimum efficiency. When a visit to a customer is required, we minimise travel by ensuring our engineers are local to the organisation.
“We help customers reduce their environmental impact. Through products like PaperCut, a print and photocopy accounting tool, we have helped over 50,000 businesses worldwide reduce paper usage. We partner with PrintReleaf, an innovative platform that converts paper footprint into actual trees. Since March 2019, our customers have collectively offset the equivalent of 3.78 million pages by planting over 450 trees. We operate a 100 per cent cartridge recycling scheme – making it as easy as possible for its customers to recycle by providing and collecting the recycling boxes.
“ASL Group recognises that reducing environmental impact doesn’t stop at the front door – we need to look at our whole supply chain. So, where possible, we work only with other ISO 14001 accredited companies, to ensure that the products we supply have as little environmental impact as possible. And of course, this works both ways. For example, we use Ecotricity to supply our green energy, and Ecotricity in turn uses us to supply their print devices. By taking a lead role, and choosing to work only with responsible partners, we hope to encourage others to take sustainability seriously, too.”
Paul Franklin, Head of UK Production Print Graphic Arts Business Unit, Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK)
“Konica Minolta is committed to minimising the environmental impact of its activities, along with those of its customers and partners, throughout the product lifecycle. We are focusing on the entire end-to-end process, from planning and development, through to procurement and production, distribution, sales, service, usage, collection and recycling.
“As well as directly ensuring a very high percentage of our product components can be recycled, we also carefully analyse general input and output, energy and resource efficiency, recycling and waste prevention – ensuring all these factors are fully compliant with all relevant environmental and safety regulations.
“Equally, we encourage and support our customers to meet their sustainability targets, including advising on workflow efficiency and making recommendations (such as ensuring inks are economically used and only replaced once necessary). Remote diagnostics also ensure servicing needs are more efficient too.
“Konica Minolta is committed to not only meeting the responsibilities of our own environmental impact, but also to that of suppliers, something which is based on a relationship of mutual trust.
“As a business, Konica Minolta is very strict on the ethical criteria of our business partners. This includes the consideration of labour issues (and the intrinsic human rights considerations), social and business ethics, protection for the environment, along with sound safety and security across our partners’ business operations.
“Right from the start of the supply chain, the company takes a positive stand to protect people and the planet. Konica Minolta has also taken proactive steps to address potential conflict mineral issues with supplies. This includes continually seeking to prevent and counter violations of human rights in conflict areas where some minerals and raw materials are sourced.
“Konica Minolta’s sustainable strategy also entails the pursuit of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. As a successful multi-national company, it has an incredible responsibility, but also a considerable influence on matters of sustainability and ethics. It has a duty to protect these vital considerations and also to demonstrate to customers that it has a moral conscience.”
Mike Barron, Managing Director, SYNAXON UK
“The SYNAXON group has a very positive approach to sustainability and the environment and we do everything we can to encourage our own staff to be as sustainable as they can be in their work. We operate from modern, energy-efficient offices in Warrington and our staff are encouraged to travel as little as possible and to work from home for one or two days a week. Like many organisations, we try to minimise use of paper (we send invoices and other documents electronically), packaging and plastic, and provide recycling facilities for staff to use.
“Sustainability is a subject that’s on everyone’s agenda now. It’s not just specific to print of course, and I think most organisations do already try to discourage over-use of printers to minimise energy and paper consumption. We should continue to encourage this and also make customers aware of the eco-friendly options that are available from major print vendors.
“We’re looking at different options to reduce the carbon impact of our events.These are likely to include minimising use of paper by providing digital show guides and asking exhibitors to provide digital materials instead of the usual paperbased hand-outs.
“We have discussed what we can do for and with our members to help them follow more sustainable practices and reduce the environmental impact of their activities, such as increasing the use of collaboration. Making the activities of the channel as a whole more sustainable is a big challenge, but one we all need to address, because it’s a very real and vitally important issue, and something end-user customers are asking about much more often.”
George Brasher, Managing Director, HP UK & Ireland
“From an HP perspective, we already have a long-running and expansive sustainable impact strategy, covering people (diversity and inclusion), planet (sustainability) and community (techenabled learning). Each year we publish a Sustainable Impact Report, freely available on our website, transparently detailing all our initiatives, goals and achievements to date. A few examples of these include; an 11 per cent reduction in product-related GHG emission intensity since 2015, a 47 per cent reduction of operational emissions since 2015, and a goal by 2035 to power global operations with 100 per cent renewable electricity.
“These are substantial commitments. Last month, HP was positioned sixth on Barron’s respected 100 Most Sustainable Companies list – our third consecutive year in the top ten. Elsewhere, environmental non-profit organisation, CDP, awarded HP ‘Triple A’ status for taking climate actions, protecting forests and addressing water security – one of only five companies to make this grade.
“We have a range of initiatives to help our print partners and their end customers become more sustainable. The HP Planet Partners programme, for example, provides a closed-loop recycling service for a business’s print hardware and supplies.
“Products collected via Planet Partners are part of the 395,200 tonnes of tech recycled by HP globally from 2016 through 2018. We aim to have recycled 1.2 million tonnes by 2025. Also contributing to these numbers are cartridges collected via Instant Ink, our consumer print supplies subscription service which includes a pre-paid recycling process.
“Then, of course, we are offering our customers products that have an increasingly reduced environmental footprint. For instance, 100 per cent of HP Original toner cartridges and 80 per cent of Original ink cartridges are manufactured with post-consumer plastic. This includes more than one million pounds (roughly 35 million plastic bottles) of ocean-bound plastics collected in Haiti.
“It’s also worth channel partners being aware that our managed print service offerings come with recycling options, via the Planet Partners programme, while our Device as a Service (DaaS) contractual models do too, covering PC hardware.”
Jeremy Spencer, Marketing Director, Toshiba Tec
“At Toshiba, we aspire to minimise the impact of everything we do within all aspects of our business, from the products we offer through to our local business activities. All are measured and offset to support the common drive to achieve carbon neutrality and a sustainable future.
“Back in in 2009 we launched our Carbon Zero scheme in order to mitigate our own environmental impact, and the scheme was then offered up to our partners, so they could do the same. From there, we started working with clients to expand on the carbon neutrality of our products and services to consider other green initiatives that helped further.
“The success of the scheme has been tremendous, even being recognised by the UN in 2016 as supporting their Sustainable Development Goals. Wanting to go further, we then took the significant step of making our own business more environmentally friendly with the successful adoption of the stringent PAS 2060 standard.
“Working towards clear and defined environmental accreditations and standards is a great discipline and one that I believe will increasingly become necessary to meet regulatory requirements, as the UK strives to meet its stated claim of being emissions ‘net zero’ by 2050.
“I personally believe that smart organisations will elevate sustainability as a key business focus, undertaking voluntary objectives and putting them at the centre of their operations now, before it becomes mandated.”
James Pittick, Partner Channel Director and Sustainability Lead, Canon UK
“Sustainability is an increasingly important topic and businesses are looking for more environmentally friendly ways to operate – from the supply chain to the manufacturing process. As a result, it’s important for suppliers to adopt a leading position on this.
“Our sustainability initiatives are embedded in our ‘Kyosei’ corporate philosophy, which means living and working together for the common good. For this reason, our products, services and solutions are designed and manufactured to reduce the need for new natural resources. This minimises energy consumption throughout the product’s lifecycle.
“Some of the initiatives we’ve launched to help our partners and customers reduce their environmental impact include a remanufactured printer range (the imageRUNNER ADVANCE EQ80), as well as a pan-EMEA toner cartridge recycling programme. By encouraging customers to reuse and recycle products, we’ve been able to drastically reduce our impact on the environment – for example our toner cartridge recycling programme has helped us to save over 601,000 tonnes of CO2 since it was launched in 1990.
“We also promote ‘sensible’ printing and print management, through a combination of our device capabilities, recycled paper and materials from certified producers. With Canon printer drivers and solutions, we enable users to control how much they print, which in turn helps to avoid wasting paper and printing resourcing.
“We’ve seen the rising demand from customers for low-cost, sustainable products. This trend is in line with our environmental vision: a society that promotes both enriched lifestyles and the global environment. We are committed to promoting this vision thorough technological innovation and improved management efficiency, which is why we opened the Canon Eco Technology Park in Japan in 2018 as a focal point of our environmental activities. Popularity for environmentally friendly products will only continue to grow, which is why it’s important for partners to recommend and offer sustainable technologies.”
Al Coyne, General Manager, Print, Exertis
“The channel and its supply chain will need to ensure that products are sourced, manufactured and transported in a sustainable way. Naturally, that includes all aspects of the supply chain where organisations will want to ensure that their suppliers are also engaged in programmes to reduce carbon emissions. Those suppliers that have a poor environmental record negatively impact the supply chain and are likely to be replaced by a greener competitor.
“End-users will expect their channel partners, as their trusted advisors, to provide technology from vendors that provide solutions that are environmentally friendly, reduce energy consumption and lower carbon emissions. Providing sustainability reports are likely to play an increasingly important role in tenders for projects.
“Exertis can help resellers to offer a managed print service that both manages print and stores electronic documents. With the Epson Print365 proposition, we provide a simple solution for resellers that want to offer their customers cost-effective, peace of mind printing and support within a fixed, all-inclusive, monthly fee. This is a great opportunity for a reseller to provide a print solution for any size of company that wants a combination of great printing but low energy consumption, taking advantage of Epson’s renowned stance on sustainability.
“Of course, for all companies, including our own, going totally paperless isn’t a realistic proposition. However, whilst digitisation and electronic document workflows can be implemented, it’s also important to encourage sustainable habits from employees to eliminate waste. That can be aided by adopting solutions such as PaperCut software which can support the green objective by setting print rules to use less paper such as duplex as standard, only print when jobs are released at the printer, and auto delete if not released, as well as redirecting printing to the most cost-effective device and controlling access to colour.
“Vendors in the print market are well aware of the importance of sustainability. For example, increasing the length of warranty on printers encourages the device to be kept for longer periods – five years isn’t uncommon and Lexmark have been suggesting even seven as a possibility. Manufacturing is also benefitting from innovative technology. For example, Kyocera uses a unique ceramic technology. Their long-life image drum technology means that for some products, toner is the only consumable that needs to be changed throughout the life of the machine. This reduces the total cost of ownership/running costs. The toner cartridges contain as few as eight parts and are 100 per cent recyclable once the toner is used. Over 99 per cent of the total plastic can be recycled. Equally Epson has been at the forefront of advancing environmental initiatives.
“Exertis offers resellers products, solutions and services from a range of manufacturers that not only offer great printing solutions but also lead the way in sustainability.”
Trevor Northfield, National Operations Director, Sharp Business Systems UK
“We have made sure to embed CSR across the whole of Sharp UK and drive many local and national initiatives. Our team are highly motivated by environmental conservation as well as activities to support charities across the country and within the areas in which we operate.
“Our customers – both current and prospective – are also increasingly concerned about using sustainable services and partnering with companies that have a proven track record. As the impact we have on the environment grows in importance, our customers are insisting on environmentally sustainable products and services that aim to reduce energy consumption. Our team at Sharp is determined to match these growing trends and offer sustainable services.
“The business we pitch for invariably incorporate a points system that includes a sustainability section, or at least this a major consideration for customers. Trends over the past few years have led to deficiency in this area potentially being the difference in securing a sale.
“Aside from encouraging our customers to print double-sided and recycle our cartridges at every opportunity, we also point out that many of our products have in-built functions that conserve energy. For example, our digital signage solutions have a low power mode that is employed automatically when inactive for a long time – some products also have movement sensors that wake the device when a user approaches, ensuring there is no loss of functionality.
“A highlight of our environmentally friendly products is the Skywell, an atmospheric water generator. This functions as a water cooler that collects moisture from particles in the atmosphere and converts them to drinkable water. Skywell is a great way for businesses to save money and demonstrate their sustainability drive. Cutting back on deliveries of plastic bottled water ultimately reduces the amount of plastic in circulation and demonstrates that there are other options for businesses that are serious about green initiatives.”
Sustainability climbs the corporate agenda part two will run next issue