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Sustainability leaders

Quocirca’s Sustainability Leaders 2022 Study analyses vision, strategy and performance on issues such as net-zero, circularity, remanufacturing, customer and partner sustainability initiatives

Quocirca has published its 2022 Sustainability Leaders Study, the first independent and comprehensive analysis of sustainability strategies and offerings in the print industry.

In its analysis, Quocirca has evaluated each vendor’s vision, strategic approach to reducing their own environmental impact and how they are enabling customers to address their own environmental targets through the provision of sustainability-centric services. The report positions key vendors based on their sustainability strategy, vision and completeness of offering. The vendors included in the report are Brother, Canon, Epson, HP Inc., Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Lexmark, Ricoh and Xerox.

“Sustainability performance is now an important supplier selection factor
as businesses aim to meet ambitious environmental targets and reduce the impact generated in their supply chain,” said Research Director Louella Fernandes. “Among the IT decision-makers we surveyed, 84 per cent said it is important that suppliers offer sustainable products and services and 81 per cent said suppliers must demonstrate that they are reducing their own environmental impact.

“This report is a valuable resource for organisations conducting supplier sustainability due diligence, who are seeking to understand and compare the base performance, rate of progress, and innovation behind sustainability initiatives in the workplace print market,” she added.

The findings are drawn from detailed vendor submissions in response to Quocirca’s in-depth questionnaire, public ESG data and statements published by each vendor, and primary research conducted among 212 IT decision-makers in the UK and US.

The study finds that the industry is relatively mature in terms of product design, manufacturing, distribution and end-of-life management. However, it is less advanced around the delivery of customer- and channel-focused sustainability offerings.

3d rendering of green line chart isolated on white background.

A clear commitment to net-zero

All companies have net-zero targets that fall due by 2051 at the latest, with one manufacturer targeting carbon negative status by this point. Several have brought forward their net-zero target in relation to their supplies business to 2030 and one vendor plans to reach net-zero across its entire business by 2035.

Well-established circular approaches

Circular approaches are well-established and apply to product design and manufacturing processes, with mature takeback, recycling, and waste management schemes in place for hardware and consumables.

The industry is also making the shift from product- to service-based models (such as managed print services) and providing intelligent hardware and software that supports the transition to the ‘less-paper’ workplace.


Remanufactured hardware product portfolios are emerging as differentiators to support device circularity strategies. Buyers should consider evaluating high quality remanufactured devices to reduce the lifetime impact of the products they use and minimise resource consumption.

Sustainability-led customer services

Sustainability-led customer services are gaining momentum. Environmental and carbon footprint assessments and analytics are offered by some suppliers
as part of MPS engagements. There is an opportunity for vendors to pursue stronger alignment of MPS with sustainability, including advocating workflow digitisation tools to meet paper reduction targets, helping customers identify third- party software tools to deliver efficiency benefits, and providing analytics to inform continuous improvement against sustainability targets.

Channel programmes

Sustainability-focused channel programmes are needed to drive all-important channel engagement. While there is encouragement for the channel from most vendors to incorporate sustainability into customer messaging, only one vendor currently has a dedicated channel sustainability programme. This represents an advantage for its partners, who are better placed to capitalise on growing market demand.

“The industry is relatively strong on identifying and acting on most of the key metrics around carbon emissions, renewable energy use, resource consumption and waste management,” Louella commented. “However, as vendors come under growing pressure to address the wider impact of their business on the planet and people, addressing how customers can use their products and services to improve sustainability performance, and influencing how the channel goes about selling, these benefits will be essential.”

Louella argues that sustainability – both in terms of the vendor’s own performance and the services it offers – is becoming an important competitive battleground. “We expect to see increasing sophistication as vendors develop their corporate ESG strategy and bring to market innovative customer services, channel initiatives, and product enhancements that deliver environmental and social benefits,” she concluded.