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Print industry needs to work with channel on sustainability

Vendors are strong on their own actions, but need to use programmes to support more action in their channels

The print industry has been working hard on sustainability, and a major review of the industry has found that more efforts are needed to bring channel partners along on that journey.

Quocirca’s Sustainability leaders 2022 report has found that the efforts made by many vendors had put the industry in a decent position on sustainability.

Vendors across the board had commitments to net zero and programmes that supported the recycling of toner cartridges and hardware were also mature and well established, it said.

There had also been positive moves made on the remanufactured hardware front, to extend the life of equipment.

“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 Louella Fernandes, research director at Quocirca

“Among the IT decision-makers we surveyed, 84% say it is important that suppliers offer sustainable products and services and 81% say suppliers must demonstrate that they are reducing their own environmental impact.”

Quocirca found that more work needed to be done around sustainability-focused channel programmes, which, if provided, would give partners more guidance and support.

“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,” said Fernandes. “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.”

She added: “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.”

Elsewhere in the print channel, Tech Data has launched an installation service that should give resellers the option to lean on the distributor’s expertise and increase value.

The company is offering the option as part of its Tech as a Service, which will give resellers the chance to pitch it as a subscription service.

“It provides partners with a simple and cost-effective way to add value for their customers without having to commit additional resources,” said Chris Bates, business unit manager, print and supplies, UK, at Tech Data. “When combined with our OpenMPS service, partners can extend their managed services offering even further.”

On the vendor front, Konica Minolta is looking to stir customer interest and demand through a See the Potential campaign. The firm is linking printing to the wider digital transformation movement being made by users and is pointing users towards its channel to ensure printing is included in the strategy.

Olaf Lorenz, general manager, global brand management at Konica Minolta, said: “Despite growth in areas such as labels and packaging during the pandemic, some sectors have declined. With the print industry evolving at pace, there was a need for a campaign to highlight our desire to be creative, to give extraordinary brand stories through high-value touchpoints, which can be shaped through our extensive product portfolio to help customers thrive.

“Our aim is to build the future together with our customers to help them create new business opportunities. See the Potential is our slogan for realising digital transformation. As a trusted partner, we can help print businesses service new market segments, build stand-out creative pieces with customers sharing a similar passion, and optimise workflow.”

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