Quocirca’s inaugural Sustainability Leaders 2022 Study analyses vision, strategy and performance on issues such as net-zero, circularity, remanufacturing, customer and partner sustainability initiatives.
Quocirca has published the first Sustainability Leaders Study for the print industry. It includes a Sustainability Vendor Landscape positioning key vendors based on their sustainability strategy, vision and completeness of offering. The study is the first independent and comprehensive analysis of sustainability strategies and offerings in the print industry. In its analysis, Quocirca has evaluated each vendor’s vision, its strategic approach to reducing its own environmental impact and how it is enabling its customers to address their own environmental targets through the provision of sustainability-centric services.
The print sustainability agenda
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. As such managed print services (MPS) providers will increasingly be required to help their customers reduce their environmental impact; half of respondents say this will be expected by 2025. Offering sustainability assessments as part of managed print audits, assisting customers in developing and implementing eco-print policies, and expanding capabilities around digital workflows are ways suppliers can engage with this demand. The provision of analytics is also essential to demonstrate improvement over time and help customers show they are moving towards their targets.
Quocirca’s Sustainability Leaders Study finds that while sustainability is strongly embedded in the operations of print manufacturers’ operations (in terms of product design, manufacturing, distribution and end-of-life), customer and channel enablement is less mature.
- A clear commitment to net-zero: all companies have net-zero targets that fall due by 2051 at the latest, with one manufacturer targeting carbon negative status by this point. Several have brought forward their net-zero target in relation to their supplies business to 2030 and one vendor plans to reach net-zero across its entire business by 2035.
- Circular approaches are well-established and apply to product design and manufacturing processes, with mature takeback, recycling, and waste management schemes in place for hardware and consumables. The industry is also making the shift from product- to service-based models (such as Managed Print Services) and providing intelligent hardware and software that supports the transition to the ‘less-paper’ workplace.
- Remanufactured hardware product portfolios are emerging as differentiators to support device circularity strategies. Buyers should consider evaluating high quality remanufactured devices to reduce the lifetime impact of the products they use and minimise resource consumption.
- Sustainability-led customer services are gaining momentum. Environmental and carbon footprint assessments and analytics are offered by some suppliers as part of managed print services (MPS) engagements. There is an opportunity for vendors to pursue stronger alignment of MPS with sustainability, including advocating workflow digitisation tools to meet paper reduction targets, helping customers identify third party software tools to deliver efficiency benefits, and providing analytics to inform continuous improvement against sustainability targets.
- Sustainability-focused channel programmes are needed to drive all-important channel engagement. While there is encouragement for the channel from most vendors to incorporate sustainability into customer messaging, only one vendor currently has a dedicated channel sustainability programme. This represents an advantage for its partners, who are better placed to capitalise on growing market demand.
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. 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.
Sustainability – both in terms of the vendor’s own performance and the services it offers – is becoming an important competitive battleground. Quocirca expects 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.
Quocirca’s Sustainability Leaders 2022 report includes full profiles for Brother, Canon, Epson, HP Inc., Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Lexmark, Ricoh and Xerox.
The full report is available for purchase at Quocirca Sustainability Leaders 2022 and a complimentary Executive Summary is also available to download.
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