Daniel Quelch, Epson UK’s sustainability manager, explains why sustainability is at the heart of the global technology giant’s future.
The coronavirus pandemic has given us a glimpse of a different future that places sustainable practices at the heart of operations.
Decreased traffic volumes have improved air quality and reduced noise pollution.
Remote working has created a more agile and flexible workforce furthering discussions on the right work/life balance.
Changes have been accelerated in customer behaviour and expectations around what constitutes a sustainable, technologically-enabled company.
We wanted to learn more about the appetite for sustainable initiatives so, with research company B2B International, we surveyed more than 4,000 employees across 26 countries as part of the Epson Sustainable Working Environment Index 2021.
The results were encouraging.
We found three quarters of employees wanted to see more focus on environmental and social issues, post-COVID.
These findings mirrored those from pollster IPSOS Mori. 65% of its respondents believed climate change should be prioritised in the economic recovery following the pandemic.
This is something we have been aware for a long time but the figures confirm why we are committed to addressing and improving every aspect of our global footprint, from manufacturing and distribution, to resource use and the behaviours of our people.
We are always looking for new ways to be indispensable to our customers who similarly share our commitment to a better environment. We listen to them and work together to push the boundaries of what can be achieved. We collaborate and create products or sharing solutions that serve a real social purpose and exceed expectations.
This includes developing increasingly sustainable technologies and responsible ways of working. And, as all our components are produced in Epson-owned factories, we can better guarantee the sustainability of our products at every stage of the product lifecycle, from design and manufacturing to transport, usage and recycling.
The increased desire for sustainability highlighted by the surveys is also encouraging companies to make positive changes throughout their operations. For Epson this includes the significant progress made in 2020 towards aligning our business activities to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Integrated into our mid and long-term plans, they are guiding us and are setting the direction for all our sustainability actions.
We also recently set out our plans in our Environmental Vision 2050 statement. It includes our commitment to becoming carbon negative and underground resource free by 2050. We will achieve this by reducing the environmental impact of products and services. In supply chains we will deliver sustainability in a circular economy by advancing the frontiers of industry through creative, open innovation, and contributing to international environmental initiatives.
And, by 2023, we are planning for all of Epson’s worldwide group sites to meet their electricity needs from 100% renewable energy. This is something we are already achieving in the UK.
These aims follow a number of exciting achievements we are very proud of, such as our EcoVadis Platinum rating for sustainability that places us in the top 1% of companies in our industry. It confirms we meet the highest standards for human rights, labour conditions, environment, ethics and sustainable procurement.
We have also saved a potential 1.1 million tonnes of plastic-based consumables through the sale of over 50 million cartridge-free EcoTank printers and recycled 23,700 tonnes of material including batteries, paper, wood, plastic and waste electrical equipment.
As we enter an extended period of recovery, it is clear accountable and transparent sustainable choices will be vital to business success.