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The Race To Net Zero: Part One Our industry Panel Give Their Expert Opinions

There’s no getting away from the fact that climate change is among the most pressing problems facing businesses today. The UK has a legally binding net zero by 2050 target and achieving this will require businesses to make real changes and to turn climate targets into action. Here, some of the print and IT sector’s leading vendors share their sustainability strategies and the progress they’ve made in reducing GHG emissions

PrintIT Reseller: What are the main objectives and targets of your sustainability strategy, and what progress have you made to date in meeting your goals?

Steve Hawkins

Steve Hawkins, CEO, Xeretec:
Xeretec is an ISO 14001 EMS certified organisation, and we understand the importance of the changing climate and strong environmental management. We are witnessing a generational shift in our society and the ever-growing concern of the population is impacting all aspects of life. We recognise that to be both relevant now, and in the future, and to make our positive contribution to our environment, we have to go beyond a series of one-off actions and create an ever-improving journey that lies at the heart of our planning and execution.

To this end we have selected a board member to own environmental improvement in the business and to build and deliver our strategy and
path to a net zero position. We are doing quite a lot to put this front and centre of our organisation, and what we deliver for our customers, but we also recognise, probably similar to many mid-market sized entities, that we all need to do more. Having this focus at board level, together with a senior owner is key to a successful outcome. Recognising where you are today and making changes to bring good thoughts into daily actions we believe, is essential.

Across our business, we have worked hard to reduce many elements with negative impacts and associated greenhouse emissions in recent years and continue to do so. Our focus includes energy and resource efficiency, waste prevention, sustainable travel and supply chain engagement. Some of our staff have also elected to replace fossil fuel vehicles with electric ones. We have deployed cloud telephony across all our offices to ensure our customers have greater access to us whilst facilitating remote working. This flexibility yields commuting carbon footprint reduction and lowers heat and light requirements in offices.

As a provider of technology and services we have put environmental sustainability at the heart of our organisation’s DNA, and an intrinsic part of our customer value proposition. This is evidenced across every technology pillar on our new web presence and in every document overview and customer engagement.

Our focus is to demonstrate how we and our partner network can help customers lower their carbon footprint. We give them defined, quantifiable and tangible improvement results and metrics in five key areas as part of our solutions offerings – environmental, cost, risk, experience and productivity.

For us to deliver on our commitments we expect our chosen technology and supply chain partners to show they can offer value and differentiation in these areas.

To encourage extending the life of useful technology, especially in the field of tablets, phones, laptops and PCs, we operate a ‘device-as-a-service’ model that encourages a known refresh cycle (normally three years) for a subsidised per month rate. This provides a supply of maintained technology available for second life use without the need for manufacturers to mine and build other new technology for these second life customers. This is commonly known as circular computing.

Kevin Wragg

Kevin Wragg, Director of Environment & Quality Compliance, UK, TD SYNNEX: We want TD SYNNEX to be leading the way amongst distributors on sustainability. Last year, we worked with external consultants Arete Zero Carbon on a complete carbon emissions assessment and developed an action plan that will move us towards net zero in the UK and Ireland as quickly as possible.

We’ve moved to green energy in three of our four major UK&I locations
– 90 per cent of the electricity we consume is now from renewable sources and we are working to reduce our energy consumption by 20 per cent by the end of the 2023.

We moved our Basingstoke office to a more energy efficient building with 554 solar panels on the roof, 24 e-charging points for electric vehicles, LED lighting, and shared heating, ventilation and air conditioning. It has been fitted out – as has the TD SYNNEX office in Bracknell – to the Royal institute of Chartered Surveyors SKA Gold environmental standard. We have 500 new office chairs made from recycled fishing nets and old furniture has been redistributed via the Waste to Wonder Trust to schools’ charities in Africa.

We recently qualified under the Bronze category of the EcoVadis Ratings for ESG, falling into the 50 per cent of top performers. We have achieved ISO 14001: 2015 (Environmental Management System) at all four major UK&I sites.

Globally, TD SYNNEX has signed-up to the SBTi (Science Based Target initiative) Business Ambition Pledge. We’re adopting circular economy principles to minimise waste through repair, refurbishment and recycling and report our environmental sustainability performance through CDP. This is part of a broad QEMS programme that encompasses specific environmental targets.

Justin Willis

Justin Willis, Sales & Business Development Director, ASL: ASL is aiming to be carbon neutral. We recently relocated to a new head office and warehousing location and we are currently calculating data to establish our (new) current carbon footprint in order to put a realistic timeline target on our goal.

We have already implemented a number of initiatives to support this strategy. We have retro-fitted our entire HQ with LED lighting and motion sensors and 100 per cent of our electricity is purchased only from renewable energy providers.

Moreover, 67 per cent of our company vehicles are now either fully electric, plug-in-hybrid or hybrid – and 100 per cent of our field technicians’ vehicles will be hybrid by Sept 2023. We have also installed ten PodPoint EV charging stations at head office which are free to use for staff and visitors.

We have also focused on solutions to reduce waste. For example, all bins have been removed from staff desks and we have a number of recycling stations and shredders around the building. We have also invested in a polystyrene compactor which turns the polystyrene into blocks that are then repurposed in other manufacturing processes. This investment has eliminated the need for a 7.5 tonne truck per week and all the CO2 emissions associated with collecting bags of polystyrene. We have also recently invested in a cardboard compactor for a similar purpose.

John Draycott

John Draycott, Marketing Manager, ArtSystems: There are two elements to ArtSystems sustainability strategy, we have been ISO 14000 certified for over a decade so have a well-established environmental management policy for legal compliance of waste management and energy usage. We are also an EcoVadis Silver partner enabling us to connect with the wider CSR objectives. These programmes and certifications give the legal framework for the operations of the business helping measure our use of resources and identifying areas for improvement.

The second element to our strategy is customer/supplier engagement, this aims to make our stakeholders outside the business aware that not only are we legally compliant, but that we have proactive programmes that they can engage with that can deliver commercial advantage to them. These can range from chain of custody products and how this works, to product portfolios of more sustainable media such as PVC free products.

Steve Holmes

Steve Holmes, EMEA Regional Director, PaperCut: While many vendors are now talking about sustainability, positive and measurable benefits can only come from companies that are committed to it.

Reducing waste and being a responsible corporate citizen has been the core component of PaperCut’s DNA since day one; its founder’s shock at the amount of paper wasted through print drove him and the team to establish PaperCut to help ensure more thoughtful and sustainable printing. In the UK and globally, PaperCut is working towards the B-Corp certification which is an endorsement from a non- profit network that aims to transform the global economy to benefit all people, communities and the planet.

In the UK and elsewhere, PaperCut has goals for its regional offices covering matters relating to energy usage, food waste and even which cleaning products we use.

Emma Boniface, Sustainability Manager, Exertis: We have a target to reduce our scope 1 and 2 emissions by 20 per cent against a 2019 baseline by 2025, we have already surpassed this target by a further 18 per cent due to sustainability initiatives we have put in place. Scope 3 is recognised as more difficult to record as they are activities not owned or controlled by Exertis, we are working closely with DCC and hope to make further progress soon.

“However, scope 3 does include how our employees travel to and from work and with that in mind, we have created a short survey that will give us that valuable data.

Sonia Mangat, UK & Ireland Sustainability Manager, HP: We aim to be the world’s most sustainable and just technology company by 2030. To help us achieve this vision, we have set clear goals designed to support a new era of opportunity – where climate change is reversed, human rights are universally protected, and digital equity democratises opportunity for all.

For example, we have ambitious climate targets to reduce our entire value chain to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, with a 50 per cent reduction in emissions by the end of 2030. To date, HP’s carbon footprint of CO2e in 2021 was 9 per cent less than in 2019, primarily due to reductions related to product use which resulted from increased energy efficiency, and changes to the mix of products sold.

We’ve also made significant progress in reducing plastic waste and using more recycled materials in our products. Specifically, we have reduced single- use plastic packaging by 44 per cent compared to 2018 and increased the use of recycled content plastic across our personal systems and print products. This is part of our Planet Partners recycling programme, which launched in 1991, where used HP ink and toner cartridges are returned to HP to be recycled so they become new products and don’t end up in oceans or landfill. To date, HP has reached a monumental milestone of one billion cartridges recycled through HP Planet Partners.

Another sustainability initiative of ours is to work with our channel partners to help drive a more circular and low carbon economy. Through our Amplify Impact Programme, we have a unique opportunity to share sustainability-focused resources to drive meaningful change. Since the launch of our Amplify Impact programme, over 80 per cent of our UK partners have signed up and completed more than 10,000 sustainability training courses.

Louise Marshall

Louise Marshall, Director of ESG and Organisational Development, Brother UK: Brother has long had sustainability at the heart of its business globally, recognised by our membership of the FTSE4Good Index – a select group of the world’s most environmentally and socially sustainable companies. Now, we’re pushing forward with plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, which includes a goal to cut greenhouse gasses by 65 per cent before 2030. And our UK operation is leading the way internationally in driving progress to meeting this sustainable vision.

Our recycling and environment technology centre in Ruabon, North Wales, represents an excellent example of how our business is transforming to meet our new vision. The facility was certified as carbon neutral in 2021 and made a major contribution to Brother’s global milestone in recycling 40 million toner cartridges to date. Remanufacturing cartridges in the way we do is saving approximately 5,300 tonnes of CO2 globally every year, which is equivalent to taking 1,150 cars off the road.

People are at the heart of any sustainability strategy, and we see it as vital to get engagement from everyone across the business. Our ‘Five Rs’ initiative ensures that sustainability is baked into every aspect of working life: refuse environmentally burdensome materials where possible; reduce waste material; reuse waste materials without processing; reform waste materials in a different form; and recycle materials as resources. These principles sit behind any decision our people make.

A greater focus on sustainability is no longer just an ethical decision, but a commercial one too. The majority of businesses that are switching to managed print service contracts are taking the green credentials of potential vendors into account. So, it’s important that we evidence the progress that we’re making to best support our partners.

We’ve worked hard to secure accreditation from Valpak, an environmental consultancy, as being 100 per cent net zero waste to landfill across Brother UK’s operations. We’re also aligned with the UN Global Compact, a set of ten principles for sustainable growth that requires us to promote greater environmental responsibility and drive the development of sustainable technologies. Attributes like these are increasingly on IT decision-makers’ wish-lists when searching for suppliers.

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

Steve Hawkins: Our staff have undergone extensive training on how we, and our solutions, can assist us and our customers on improving environmental sustainability. This has included quantifying typical improvements across our offerings and specific training from associated manufacturer partners on their core sustainability offerings and programmes.

All staff have undergone training across our core value proposition,
and sales staff have received deep dive training with toolsets to be
able to articulate how we, together with our customers, can apply technology to reduce carbon footprint. This includes presentations for customer use, proposal templates, and specific technology solution material documenting environmental improvements that can be obtained.

Kevin Wragg: Our co-workers are an integral part of our efforts and we’re encouraging them to be as energy- efficient and to reduce waste as much as possible. We ask them to come to the office for only two days each week, reducing carbon impact. We encourage them to use public transport or to walk or cycle when they do come in.

For those who own a hybrid or electric vehicle, we have 24 e-charging points for electric vehicles at the new Basingstoke office. We also have ten chargers at our Warrington office and are working to install EV chargers at Magna Park and Bracknell.

We are using smart LED lighting and heating controls and all desks
have audio-visual equipment to allow interaction with at home workers. The buy-in and enthusiasm for what we are doing amongst our co-workers will be essential to helping us achieve that goal of a 20 per cent reduction in energy consumption this year.

In a separate initiative, we have been working with Treedom to offset
our carbon impact and we’ve been planting trees to recognise employee achievements and anniversaries. We are also working to make our marketing events zero carbon, planting one tree for every attendee.

Justin Willis: We have an Environmental Social & Governance (ESG) steering group made up of seven members of staff from a number of departments. To drive inclusivity, most of the ESG group are not in senior management positions. This group meets on a monthly basis to drive forward our strategy.

Sustainability and the environment also feature regularly within the ASL monthly staff newsletter, and we publish facts and statistics which are displayed on staff noticeboards.

In additional all of our people are encouraged to take part in opportunities that support environmental initiatives internally and externally.

John Draycott: We will embed the sustainability strategy within all parts of the business, the initial emphasis is to bring employees up to date on the strategy and the programmes that we are engaged with. Relevance to their role will be key to them seeing the benefits both to them and as part of the wider organisation. A ‘Sustainability Champion’ will act as the focus point for internal information and to feed back to both management and board on improvements. All employees will have opportunities to suggest and feedback on improvements.

Steve Holmes: PaperCut’s environmental efforts are holistic, covering staff, buildings, customers and local communities. In most of 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. Food scraps are composted, and only reusable dishware is available for day-to-day 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 and regularly monitored, and education is provided when needed. And, needless to say, we use PaperCut solutions to simplify and manage our print, as well as to reduce waste.

Each region has a green team supported by management in implementing sustainability efforts. Employees are educated annually (at minimum) about sustainability best practices, while sustainability practices are communicated to customers.  New employees are informed about sustainability best practices — including waste reduction, recycling, and commuting options.

When we moved in our Bracknell office, to aid waste minimisation, we decided not to purchase individual waste baskets for each desk, dissuading paper use. We set up a LHR Environmental Guild that reviews a new topic to improve our office and environmental impact. Our TVs, MFDs and light up signage are all on power save/auto timers.

Emma Boniface: A new sustainability hub has been launched on our website.  Tim Griffin is due to cover this topic in the next company-wide briefing. A number of surveys will be used, 1. Understand commuting details so we can record carbon emission impact.  2. Understand what sustainability means to our teams, what do they have an interest in, what do they want us to see us change and improve to make a positive difference to them, the business and or the environment.

Sonia Mangat_

Sonia Mangat: The way we see it is that every job is a climate job. HP looks to engage and empower every employee to take ownership of sustainability. For the past three 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.

Since 2021, every employee is encouraged to set a sustainable impact goal when drawing up their personal development goals. This process gives every employee across the globe a personal stake in the success of HP’s overall sustainable impact strategy, regardless of their role or title.

For employees working in roles not traditionally associated with sustainability, understanding how and where to contribute can be elusive.  By giving employees the training and support to connect individual sustainable impact goals with their everyday job responsibilities, we’re creating a focused, connected network of the impact that’s aligned with our corporate vision and strategy.

We also provide training and support to connect employees’ sustainable impact goals with their everyday responsibilities. For example, employees may choose to actively engage in HP’s organised community activities such as beach clean-ups. Others may commit to expanding our closed-loop recycling process or opt to empower our customers’ transition to a circular, low carbon economy. The idea is that employees feel they have greater control in their work while helping accelerate our efforts to create positive, lasting change at scale.

PrintIT Reseller: Have you partnered with any groups/ organisations to support your key sustainability initiatives?

Steve Hawkins: We have focused in quite some depth with third party organisations to be able to bring sustainable value to us, and our customers.

We work with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise to offer a total asset recovery programme that covers older technology such as phones, PCs, laptops, tablets, servers, etc. This allows extensive circular remarketing of older technology with total security wipe certification, and financial incentives for customers rather than having to pay a cost for removal. All equipment going through this programme is included in a circular economy report.

As an HP Power Services Amplify Partner we have committed to the HP Impact Pledge designed to demonstrate a commitment to delivering sustainability solutions for customers. This includes a programme to demonstrate examples where we have assisted customers in lowering their carbon footprint, and detailed training requirements to maintain the status.

As part of the managed print offering we partner with PrintReleaf. This programme operates on the basis of ‘you print one, we plant one’, and goes towards the planting of sustainable forestation aligned to United Nations location lists. We also partner with HP Inc. to offer carbon offset programmes where devices provided at source can be certified with net zero carbon impact.

We partner with the HP Planet Partners programme that offers our customers a free of charge service to not only put spent consumables into provided ‘boxes’ but also for free of charge collection, and then total raw materials recycling, and removal of any hazardous waste in a certified environmentally friendly fashion.

We also partner with the Xerox Green World Alliance Recycling Programme which allows customers to send back used toner cartridges to Xerox for recycling, and we encourage customers to use the Xerox Print Awareness tool to help reduce print volumes via a dashboard delivering details of print volumes at a personal level and suggestions for improvements.

Kevin Wragg: As mentioned above, we worked with Arete Zero Carbon to assess our own emissions and formulate an action plan and we subsequently extended that partnership to offer a net zero carbon consultancy service. This enables partners to assess their own carbon emissions using the globally accepted greenhouse gas protocol and formulate a plan detailing practical and actionable strategies to help them reduce their impact.

We’re meeting with and talking to our partners all the time about
the ways in which how we can help each other to reduce emissions and improve sustainability. It’s such a vitally important issue now and, as well as being the right thing to do, it makes business sense. End-user customers want to know that their IT supplier – and their suppliers in turn – are as sustainable as they can be.

Justin Willis: ASL has partnered with PrintReleaf since 2019 – in fact we were the first Platinum partner in the UK. To date we have reforested over 37,000 trees and offset more than 316,000,000 pages.

John Draycott: We work with the BPIF for our customer facing engagement within the industry promoting sustainability and waste reduction programmes like the BPIF Display & POS – recycling scheme.

We are an EcoVadis rated partner and will be using the programme to drive our improvement agenda of 2023-24.  We will engage with our customers and suppliers to enable them to see how we would like them to move forward with us to improve our FSC Chain of Custody certification which is due at the end of Q1 2023. This will help drive this setting a clear road map for our wide-format paper offerings.

Steve Holmes: PaperCut recently joined the Forest Positive movement, which is a targeted extension of sustainability that looks beyond waste reduction and carbon neutral targets. The Forest Positive initiative has been designed to directly benefit the trees and forests of the world. It tips the scales beyond neutral into an environmental surplus. We’re excited by how Forest Positive printing ensures that print takes an active part in waste reduction and restoring the planet’s natural resources. Managing print and planting more trees than those used by an end-user’s printing, means that Forest Positive printing with PaperCut Grows ensures that not only is PaperCut saving trees, but it’s now just as actively planting them. We don’t send Christmas cards either; fittingly, trees are planted instead.

The PaperCut Grows sustainability program is available with our flagship solutions PaperCut MF and PaperCut Hive. Created to help print users turn a negative footprint into an environmentally positive contribution, PaperCut Grows is a simple and inexpensive up-front investment per printer based on a print fleet’s size, which transforms printing into an immediate environmental impact. PaperCut Grows is part of PaperCut’s print management functionality and handles all the calculations and conversions. Through the PaperCut Grows dashboard, users can see real- time print tracking and tree planting volumes for a transparent view of their Forest Positive printing. We leave the tree planting to the ecological experts, our non-profit reforestation partner, One Tree Planted.

Emma Boniface: ISO14001 Environmental Management accreditation in progress with British Assessment Bureau – UKAS Accredited. ISO14001 is an internationally recognised standard that allows companies to set up and implement an Environmental Management System (EMS). Companies use this framework to establish their own performance targets alongside the procedures, systems and reviews to ensure sustainable business operations. The certification ensures that we meet current public expectation and can act as a badge that assures both potential customers and stakeholders that we take green matters seriously.

Some business contracts will require our organisation to demonstrate an adherence to environmental standards and ISO14001 can often pre-qualify organisations for this part of the application process.

EcoVadis provides holistic sustainability ratings service of companies. The EcoVadis rating covers a broad range of non-financial management systems which are similar to DCC’s four sustainability pillars which include environmental, labour & human rights, ethics and sustainable impacts.

We are also working closely with customers and vendors to see how we can support each other on our sustainability journeys.

Sonia Mangat: HP has partnered with leading conservation and environmental organisations, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Arbor Day Foundation, to invest in forest restoration and responsible management to counteract deforestation for non-HP paper used in HP printers and print services.

Since 2016, HP has achieved 100 per cent zero deforestation associated with HP branded paper and recently pledged $80 million to expand its partnership with WWF to address the impacts on forests from printing with HP printers.

The Arbor Day Foundation has been a key partner in helping HP achieve
its goal of planting one million trees globally each year. To date, HP and
our reforestation partners have been responsible for planting over 40,000 trees across UK and Ireland, and one million globally each year, since 2020.

Following this, our recent forest restoration campaign saw us partner with WWF ambassador, Ben Fogle, who visited the Mersey Forest in the UK to explore how HP is working with the Arbor Day Foundation to establish new woodlands as part of HP’s Forest Positive framework. This framework ensures we work towards restoring and protecting forests by influencing customers and industry and continuing ‘Print Smart’ efforts to reduce paper consumption.