Need for Earth Day, Sustainability Persists in Pandemic

Christine Dunne
Apr 22, 2020

Business Closures, Recycling Delays Among Current Challenges

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With the coronavirus crisis in full swing, the topic of sustainability may be a bit (or, let’s admit, a lot) less top of mind for organizations. That said, it is Earth Day, and the need to preserve our planet doesn’t just disappear with a health disaster.

Prior to the COVID-19 situation, companies were most preoccupied with recycling materials like paper and cartridges—especially in Western Europe, where regulations like the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive mandate the recycling of materials.

Which Sustainability Priorities Have You Set for the Coming Year?

Source: Keypoint Intelligence’s IT Decision Makers Survey 2019

With the current crisis forcing many companies to close their doors, recycling and sustainability efforts may be on hold. Also, for organizations still operating out of physical locations, some may be temporarily abandoning “green” efforts in favor of maximizing safety and cleanliness. For instance, some companies may not be recycling due to suspension of recycling by their municipalities over fears of virus propagation. In addition, many technology partners (HP is one example) are facing challenges around materials collection.

While it is hard to predict when businesses and recycling programs will be back up and running, sustainability is still important. This week, in celebration of Earth Day, industry participants are attempting to bring this to the forefront, including:

Throughout the year, industry players are developing products and services (as well as updating their various processes) to help lessen the impact on the environment. Last year, Keypoint Intelligence evaluated nine print OEMs in eight areas of sustainability:

  • Company-wide vision
  • Achievements and targets in the office environment
  • Product innovations
  • Product labels
  • Environmental management
  • Marketing
  • Advocacy
  • Other sustainability differentiators

In this analysis, HP stood out for its programs for fostering sustainability while Ricoh USA and Epson Europe proved leaders in the area of office technology. Another finding from this evaluation was that, going forward, it will become more important for manufacturers to disclose the portion of recycled and/or recyclable content in their devices, supplies, and packaging as well as the rates of recycling of these materials.

With that in mind, the office document industry as well as companies across industries are encouraged to continue making strides to reduce their environmental footprint. While these efforts may be somewhat hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for sustainability is just as important as ever.

For access to Keypoint Intelligence’s recent sustainability evaluations, InfoCenter clients can click below:

Market and Vendor Insights: Sustainability (United States)

Market and Vendor Insights: Sustainability (Europe)

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