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Coronavirus has not knocked the sustainability pitch

Epson reports that channel partners and customers are still talking green even in the face of the pandemic

The coronavirus has changed many things, but one thing the pandemic does not seem to have disrupted is the momentum around the sustainability pitch.

The previous great shake-up in the economy, back in 2008, had a major impact on the green approach, with many in the channel having to shelve talking about environmental concerns to focus on price to attract business.

The signs are more encouraging this time around, and the current economic challenges created by the fallout of Covid-19 does not appear to have derailed those who want to keep protecting the planet.

“The environmental conversation has stayed part of the conversation around what people are talking about...when we speak to customers or through the channel,” said Daniel Quelch, sustainability manager for UK and Ireland at Epson.

He added that legislation that had been introduced in the past five years, the impact of high-profile programmes such as Blue Planet II, and the shift from companies looking at CSR into a more sustainable means meant that the issue was more widely part of the fabric of society and unlikely to go away.

From an Epson perspective, Quelch said that sustainability was a “fundamental” for the firm, and it had been leading efforts to make positive changes for decades, with highlights including eliminating CFCs back in 1993.

“When you are in an industry where the main source is the piece of paper, there is an environmental concern,” he said, adding that Epson had been working with its partners and supply chain to make sure that they understood and were signed up to its sustainability goals.

“We want to take our supply chain and partners with us on that journey, and we should be taking them with us,” he added.

Commenting on the recent public announcements from Microsoft and HP around environmental commitments, Quelch said that they helped underline the importance of the issue and benefited the market as a whole.

In January, Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, announced plans to reverse the company’s entire historical carbon footprint from 1975. This year, Microsoft aims to remove one million metric tons of carbon from the environment. It recently followed that up by revealing it also wants to help improve the transparency of carbon-emission reporting in the Azure public cloud.

As a vendor, Epson has continued to develop technology to reduce its environmental impact and has been promoting its inkjet heat-free printing to ensure that partners have the option to provide what is not only a green technology, but one that help reduce energy costs for customers.

“We are slightly greener than our competitors…in all of our print technology, [whether it’s] large-format textile printers or something in the home during the new normal,” he said.

Epson and sustainability

  • In the 2019 FY, 140,000 Epson business inkjet printers sold in the UK, saving customers 8.2 million kWh of energy per year, 2.3k tonnes of CO2 emissions (106,000 trees), £1m in costs and a 76% reduction in power, cost and CO2.
  • Epson has planted 9,146 trees and mitigating 2262 tonnes of CO2, since 2015. Manufacturing low-energy, durable and reliable products is a more reliable sustainable solution than offsetting.

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