Epson puts sustainability at the top of its focus

Epson has been driving its environmental and sustainability message for several years now, but the company is progressing along its journey with environment and sustainability as a key focus, according to Epson Australia managing director Craig Heckenberg.

Epson continues to refine its long-range plan in this area as environmental and social factors change and technologies advance,” he said.

“In 2019, Epson identified three key themes that it would focus on as part of the overall environmental vision for 2050. These are achieving sustainability in a circular economy, advancing the frontiers of industry, and improving quality of life.  

“Epson aims to address these issues by driving innovations in five key areas, which are office and home printing, commercial and industrial printing, manufacturing which relates to our robotics business, visual solutions which refers to our projector business and lifestyle, which relates to a lot of different products that Epson designs and produces, but also includes our wearable business.”

In addition to its ongoing efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of its operations, Epson is also collaborating with business partners and embracing open innovation as a means of creating new markets to further expand the potential to reduce the impact on the environment.

It has also forged environmental and sustainability partnerships with organisations like National Geographic, to promote the protection of the world’s permafrost which is melting due to global warming.

“Turn Down the Heat is the name of the campaign we are running and together with National Geographic, we aim to raise awareness of the plight of the world’s permafrost and in doing so, educate people on how they can reduce their own carbon footprint and help us all turn down the heat by simply switching from a high-energy laser or toner device to a low energy business inkjet printer, which uses heat-free technology,” Heckenberg said.

Given its efforts in this space, the company has won a few environmental and sustainability awards.

“Some people may be surprised to know that in 1993, Epson was the first company to completely eliminate CFCs from all production processes worldwide. It was recognised a few years later for its efforts by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Recently though, Epson was selected for the 18th consecutive year for inclusion in the FTSE4GOOD Index Series, which recognises companies like ours for their efforts in addressing environmental and social issues,” he said.

On the right track

Epson also recently received platinum rating for sustainability for EcoVadis for the second consecutive year. This rating puts Epson in the top one per cent of companies in the industry for environment, sustainable procurement, labour, and human rights and ethics.

“We’re extremely proud that we were also named by Forbes Japan as the number one sustainable company last month,” Heckenberg added.

Epson recently revealed that it has committed to run on renewable energy by 2023, demonstrating that it is serious about taking action.

“Earlier this year, Epson joined the RE-100, which is a global initiative that brings together the world’s most influential businesses to drive the transition towards 100 per cent renewable electricity. On November 1 of this year, Epson became the first company in the Japanese manufacturing industry to convert all sites to 100 per cent renewable energy and has a plan to transition all other Epson sites globally, including Asia Pacific by 2023, which is great news for our region and our customers,” Heckenberg mentioned.

“We strongly believe that climate change represents a serious corporate risk, and that Epson must play a greater role in mitigating that risk as it expands its business worldwide.”

According to Heckenberg, manufacturers have a huge role to play in educating the industry about environmental and sustainability. The industrial revolution has led to incredible change, but it has come at a cost to our planet today. After taking so much of the world’s resources, it is time for manufacturers such as Epson to set an example with products and processes that minimise the impact on the environment for future generations,” he said.

Climate survey findings

Epson also conducted a climate survey which was released in September. The key takeaway that came out of that survey was the potentially damaging gap between the climate reality and people’s understanding of its catastrophic effects.

“When asked about their views on humanity’s ability to avert climate disasters within their lifetime, close to half of all respondents said they’re optimistic about the future, but one in 20 did not believe we’re in a climate emergency,” Heckenberg said.

“When we look at those results closer to home, over a third of Australian surveyed are optimistic that we will avoid a climate disaster in their lifetime. For those Australians, it’s worth noting that their level of optimism is driven mostly by the belief that people are more aware of climate change dangers as well as government action and the opportunity to use science and technology to solve problems.”

Heckenberg said Epson aims to deliver more products that have environment and sustainability at its core. Some of its products that are reliable, recyclable, and energy-efficient include its EcoTank printers, Workforce Enterprise printers, PaperLab (not yet available in Australia) and its PrecisionCore inkjet technology.

Of greener products and services

In the coming months, the company aims to launch new products and services that can help our customers reduce their environmental impact.

“We obviously have a lot of work to do in order to meet our long-range environmental and sustainability goals, but we are confident, with the support of our customers and our partners that we can play our part in building a more sustainable world for everyone to enjoy,” Heckenberg said.

“Globally, we’ll continue to advance our unique technologies to reduce the environmental impacts of our products and services. We believe that our inkjet technology has the potential to satisfy the conditions for a sustainable world. The number of potential applications for this technology is growing.

“By collaborating with other companies who have strengths in different fields, we can work together to advance the frontiers of industry at a much higher level. For the A/NZ region though, we’ll continue to work with industry partners to provide sustainable solutions and educational programs that offer tangible benefits to not only our customers, but also to the communities to which we live in.”

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