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Sustainability a key consideration for print buyers

Quocirca has uncovered the importance customers put on the green credentials of those providing them with printers

A failure to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability could cost those operating in the print channel business.

According to market watcher Quocirca, customers are increasingly looking at corporate sustainability goals as part of their supplier selection process.

The vast majority of those making buying decisions want to see a commitment from suppliers to reduce carbon emissions, with Quocirca’s Sustainability market trends study making it clear many users are tracking their print suppliers’ efforts.

Sustainability is not just expected in the device but also in the suppliers themselves, with users keen to use green technology to improve operational efficiency, reduce costs and meet industry standards.

Louella Fernandes, CEO of Quocirca, said the pressures on suppliers to demonstrate green credentials were continuing to rise, and it was an issue that had to be seen as a priority by those operating in the print industry.

“A combination of stakeholder expectations and the implementation of legislation such as the corporate sustainability reporting directive [CSRD] are prompting organisations to speed up their sustainability initiatives,” she said. “This is driving a broader cohort of decision-makers to put more emphasis on the sustainability performance of the solutions – and suppliers – they select.”

Where there could be some improvement from the industry is in terms of information, making it easier for customers to gauge their sustainability progress. “There is a clear need for vendors to offer more clarity around the sustainability credentials of their products; demand for relevant data and analysis will only increase in the future, and vendors that can’t offer it will lose their competitive position,” said Fernandes.

Reducing paper use

Although there has been a great deal of focus on making printers more environmentally friendly in the manufacturing process and the offers from vendors on recycling toners, the main focus of sustainability efforts is on trying to reduce paper use.

“The pursuit of a less-paper workplace is nothing new, and limiting consumption through pull printing and process digitisation is a logical focus area,” said Fernandes. “However, companies should explore the entire range of options for reducing the impact of the print infrastructure from cradle to grave.

“With many businesses embarking on significant investment in workplace technology to meet hybrid, distributed working requirements, now is a great time to modernise the print infrastructure with a view to meeting sustainability goals, as well as improving efficiency, security and reducing costs,” she added.

Suppliers and customers are all at different stages on the sustainability journey, but Fernandes said the importance of having a positive story to tell users was clear, and efforts needed to be made to get that information into the hands of users.

“Whatever their level of sustainability maturity, companies should explore print infrastructure modernisation as a win-win for meeting sustainability goals,” said Fernandes. “The industry has a long history of embedding circular economy principles into their value chain. Buyers can benefit from advances in technology and service provision that will help them meet energy efficiency, waste reduction and wider environmental impact targets.”

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