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Holistic environmental viewpoint makes good business sense

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Many companies are putting green concerns at the forefront of their
marketing campaigns, writes Michael Powell, product marketing manager at
Kyocera Mita South Africa.

What doesn't get mentioned often enough is that a company can be green and
save on costs. A green initiative can generate savings but it
requires vision, investment and real commitment – the vision is probably
the critical aspect.
Decisions have to be taken on the basis of all the relevant factors. The
factors in any business decision are too often limited to those that are
one or more of the following: easy to measure, look good on the bottom
line, suit the agenda of specific stakeholders, are "common sense" or
"intuitively obvious". When the last two phrases are used, it usually
means that no proper analysis has been done.
A company has to have a vision and mission statement that is dedicated to
minimal environmental impact. In our line of business, we always find that
the purchasing decisions made can be seen as a trade-off between costs and
environmental impact.
The way we see it, you cannot separate the two concerns simplistically –
and many of our customers have realised this. A good example is a recent
engagement with a major financial services company. They had a choice
between replacing old equipment with the lowest price machines available
or using more expensive machines with energy-saving features.
The
decision was made when they worked out that just 100 machines with
energy-saving technology would save R40 000.00 per month on their power
bills.
Most decisions are more complex, including aspects such as downtime,
service cycles, equipment longevity and risk exposure – all of which can
have large financial consequences, depending on the size and nature of a
business.
Stop for a moment and think what these aspects mean to your business. Can
you afford the productivity losses if equipment is down for
scheduled or emergency maintenance? Are you really saving if the
inexpensive machines you bought have to be replaced every couple of years?
What will it cost you if your machines don't have security
technology to protect against fraudulent use?
Lastly, ask yourself what are the costs involved in running polluting,
energy-inefficient equipment. These costs are not just financial, either –
it might well involve reputational risk at a time where all your
competitors are eagerly staking claims to green practices.
Perhaps looking at the specifics we deal with in the office equipment
industry will serve to drive home the key point – that there is no easy
way to make a decision where there are many, inter-related factors.
We have offered a cartridge-free toner system called ECOSYS for many
years. This eliminates pollution and energy wastage involved in
recycling, reduces shipping costs and eliminates a lot of wasted
packaging. We have always paid attention to reducing the impacts of
packaging.
The relatively small amount we use is recycled material and even the
palettes in our equipment containers are made from recycled paper – not
wood, which leads to deforestation and cannot be re-used.
Kyocera systems therefore produce significantly less waste because, unlike
other makes, the ECOSYS concept does not involve the replacement of the
entire cartridge including photo-conductor drum, developer unit and toner.
We dramatically reduce waste and while an average
competitor's toner cartridge contains 60 separately manufactured
components, a Kyocera toner box contains only four.
Equipment sold should comply with the highest international standards for
low energy usage, no use of hazardous substances (like lead) and should be
manufactured and configured to minimise paper wastage with data storage,
user account management and duplex-printing technologies.
Kyocera has received several awards around the world in recognition of its
ECOlaser printers' environmental credential. This includes the Blue Angel
eco-label which is one the most famous environmental labels in the world.
With the paper itself, we recommend products which are made without the
pollution of chlorine-based paper production. These higher quality
products also lead to less machine downtime, saving far more than the
fractional extra cost of the paper itself.
To sum everything up, what customers need to note is not what a machine
costs to buy or even what it costs to run. The key question is: what does
it cost you when it's not working?
A lot of the technology that minimises environmental impact also results
in less downtime and better ROI – equipment longevity, reduced
maintenance, improved productivity and generally better quality are all
factors in this.
We feel very strongly that no company can operate sustainably in the 21st
century without paying attention to the environment. Many other
international corporations have also adopted this view.
Commitment in becoming carbon-neutral should be a worldwide-driven pledge
from automation companies. We are engaged on an ongoing basis with Food &
Trees for Africa to execute practical initiatives to balance out the
environmental impact of our business.
Green NGOs and businesses have to come together on these issues. It just
makes good sense for business and society in general.
Kyocera Mita's ten basic guidelines which can cut costs and benefit the
environment:
* Print and photocopy documents double sided (duplex) to reduce wastage
and cost.
* Don't overprint documents. Take care to calculate how many copies you
really need to cut down on wastage.
* Use proof and hold to ensure a document is correct before printing a
long print run.
* Ensure your equipment is Energy Star compliant.
* Ensure photocopiers, multifunctional products and printers are switched
off at night.
* Set your printer or copier's sleep mode, so when it is not actually
printing or copying the energy consumption is minimal.
* Recycle your used print cartridges and toner cassettes.
* Ensure proper maintenance of office equipment devices to enable them to
work more efficiently.
* Use non-chlorine bleached environmentally responsible paper or fully
recycled paper for all your printing.
* Identify a paper collection point in the office for recycling bins to
dispose of waste paper.