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Print channel has a strong sustainability pitch

Long-standing recycling schemes and print management designed to reduce paper wastage are just some of the efforts the industry has made over the years to increase sustainability

Sustainability is firmly on the agenda and is a topic that the print industry can pick up and run with as most of those involved in that arena have already been working hard to improve recycling and reduce paper wastage.

An executive briefing from Quocirca has looked at how the print industry can promote the efforts it has made to adhere to circular economy principles.

The analyst firm highlighted the role that managed print service specialists can play in helping customers control their printing costs and the extent to which vendors have already taken steps to increase sustainability.

The printing world is seen as having a particularly strong story to tell when it comes to meeting customer concerns around sustainability.

“The print industry has a long history of working to address sustainability challenges, predominantly driven by CSR initiatives and recycling obligations, however, what we see now is a level of consumer demand that means there are also powerful commercial opportunities to be seized by adopting circular economy principles. Several leading manufacturers now attribute significant new revenue directly to sustainability programme,” said Louella Fernandes, research director at Quocirca.

“Manufacturers are looking at every step of the product lifecycle,” she added, “from substituting raw materials with post-consumer recycled plastics, through design improvements for longevity and resilience, to using AI-powered big data analysis to monitor product performance and maintenance and innovative takeback and recycling programmes.”

With Microsoft announcing the it is aiming to become carbon negative in a couple of decades time the chances are that many more vendors will look to promote their green credentials. For many in the printer industry it is not going to be a case of coming up with fresh initiatives but getting reseller to be more active promoting some of its long-standing programmes.

Thomas Valjak, VP EMEA channel at Lexmark, said that more partners and customers were talking about sustainability and it was an important consideration when it came to making purchasing decisions.

"It is of increasing importance and we can all follow the news and in the SME field it has become increasingly important. We have already had solutions in place for a number of years where we help to increase the ratio of using recycling, for example the Lexmark toner collection programme where we collect empty cartridges and recycle them," he said.

Martin Fairman, UK & Ireland Managing Director at Lexmark, said that as part of the toner collection programme it could share with customers reports of what they have done with the cartridges for them to use in their own corporate sustainability reports.

"They can request a report that they then put into their CSR reportage and what will we do is breakdown how many toner cartridges we have collected and what we have done with every element of that toner. So if its phosphorus metals and plastics we will tell them what percentage of those we have recycled and how we have utilised those. That's something that has really picked up in the last six to eight months," he said.

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