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There is a lot of debate around just what the lasting impact of the coronavirus will be, with questions over what it will mean for working patterns and the shift to the cloud – and there is also likely to be an impact around sustainability.
One of the hardware segments that always comes under the spotlight when talking about sustainability is printing, because of its use of paper and regularly changing consumables.
Research from Epson has indicated that printing is going to remain at the heart of the debate, with many customers viewing Covid-19 as an opportunity to make changes.
The firm found that 65% of all respondents thought the environmental and social impact of businesses would become more important after the pandemic. The firm found that 79% of IT decision-makers saw an increased role for environmental and social impact issues post-Covid.
The vendor discussed the findings at a recent roundtable, where it was joined by partners, and revealed that although price remained a key consideration, there was room for education around sustainability.
“I think an opportunity is presented with regard to ‘yes, we have to change, but we have to take it further’,” said Dan Wogan, product manager, market development business imaging (EMEAR) at Epson Europe. “Covid has presented them with this accelerated change opportunity.”
Daniel Quelch, sustainability manager at Epson, said there were differences between the position on environmental matters now and at the last major crisis in 2008, with the financial crash, and the green argument had not been hit by the current pandemic.
“This environmental discussion has managed to keep going,” he said. “People really understand that looking at the information that we have and the science that we have, that Covid-19 is an opportunity to hit the rest button, bring in new legislation and compliance and bring green technology back in a better way than it has been before.”
Partners agreed that sustainability was an important factor, but possibly not the primary one, that was part of a sales pitch and more education was needed, particularly with the SME market.
Mark Williams, sustainability and corporate director at Blue Leaf, said millennials were in important positions in businesses and did take sustainability seriously, and more people were aware of environmental issues.
“The problem we have is education,” he said. “I think people want to if they know it is there they will go with that option, over something where it is not.”
Mark Moore, managing director at iDoc Services, said it was the responsibility of partners to inform customers of the sustainability impact of their technology choices.
“One of the things when we are talking to larger corporates is to ask them how much they pay per kilowatt hour for their electricity,” said Moore, adding that it would then bring energy costs back up in its proposal and it encouraged them to understand the costs they were paying for old technology and the savings from a heat-free product.