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Printer friendly: Net Zero and the print industry

If you work in an office you will probably have been doing your bit for the environment by reducing paper use (printing less), using recycled paper and switching to digital alternatives whenever possible. That’s most people’s closest connection to the printing and graphic arts industry, a major economic contributor in Australia, with around 6,500 businesses and 27,000 people employed in related industries1.

As the drive towards Net Zero emissions in line with the Paris Accords continues, Australian businesses – from agriculture to education, resources to meat processing – are at various stages of their sustainable journey. Commercial print, which has always understood the benefits of innovation, is a long way along the road. And it needs to be, given that it is an energy intensive industry, and that: “Companies are being pressured by customers, investors, regulators, and employees to take responsibility for the environmental impact of their activities across the value chain2.”

84% of IT decision makers prioritise suppliers
offering sustainable products and solutions2

Big names lead the way

The printing industry has much to be proud with its environmental record. As Walter Kuhn, president of employers’ association PVCA, says: “Its paper supply is now virtually all accredited. In addition, recycling of used consumables is a part of most print businesses, processless plates are becoming the norm, bio-degradable chemistry, vegetable inks, LED lights are all available, and the equipment itself is becoming recyclable3.”

According to the Printer Industry Trends Australia 2021-20222 report, some of the world’s most renowned printing brands are at the forefront of the sustainability drive.

Epson, for example, was number one in Forbes Japan’s list of sustainable companies and has announced that all its worldwide group sites will source their electricity from 100% renewables by 2023.

HP aims to be carbon neutral by 2025 and to reduce its Scope 1, 2, and 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 50% (compared to 2019) on an absolute basis by 2030. It has also bankrolled a $5 billion, five year revolving credit facility as a sustainability-linked loan (SLL).

Canon too, has developed a Net Zero pathway. In Oceania, it has achieved a 13% average reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions per annum since 2009 while Canon New Zealand has reduced its overall emissions by 52% since 2018. 

100% of Epson global sites’ electricity
sourced from renewables by 2023

Why Net Zero makes commercial sense

1. Net Zero targets influence print supplier choice: In fact, according to the QuoCirca Sustainability Trends 2022 report2, 9 out of 10 respondents said a company’s Net Zero target impacts their choice of vendors to a “Great or moderate extent”.

2. Eco credentials will become part of the tender matrix: According to the Printer Industry TrendsAustralia 2021- 20224  blog, it already is for many jobs, particularly from government and corporate print buyers.

3. Green certification provides a competitive advantage: Developing sustainable practices is one thing; being able to promote green credentials to an ever more eco-savvy public through certification can make all the difference to winning business.

4. The next generation demands sustainability: The QuoCirca Sustainability Trends 2022 report2 found that respondents under the age of 35 were more likely to say Net Zero influences their choice of supplier. It’s a generation that is destined to gain more decision-making in the workplace in future.

5. Significant savings: Whether it’s reducing energy costs or installing solar to become less dependent on the grid, there’s no doubt that commercial printers can make significant savings lowering their carbon footprint.

“Many printers have all or some of their power coming from solar, and power is what COP26 was mainly about. I would imagine there are no other industries that use as much solar power as print.”

Walter Kuhn, president of employers’ association PVCA

$700k energy cost saving

Multi-Colour Corporation (MCC) is an energy intensive enterprise printing an infinite variety of labels for world-famous brands across five sites in Australia and New Zealand. Through pro-active energy procurement and management services provided by Energy Action, it has saved in the region of $700,000 on its energy bills since 2017.

“The global effort to limit climate change must be seen as an opportunity for the print industry”, says the QuoCirca Sustainability Trends 2022 report2. “It is an industry with considerable resources in terms of innovation, R&D, and highly developed expertise, which it can place at the disposal of its customers to assist them on their journey to net neutrality.”

Act now to make an impact tomorrow

Energy Action has helped thousands of businesses across multiple industries make the transition to sustainability and Net Zero. (We achieved Net Zero ourselves this year.) Energy Action’s services include:

Solar auctions: Through our solar auction platform you can quickly and easily get the right solar solution, at the best possible price, and select the right purchasing method for you. Installing solar will save your business considerable sums while lowering your emissions and reducing dependency on the grid.

Net Zero transition: Energy Action has a proven five step process to help your business make the transition to Net Zero:

STEP 1: Measure your usage and emissions: you can’t improve what you don’t measure.

STEP 2: Lower your costs: use the measured data to establish areas for improvement.

STEP 3: Consider your emission reduction options: match your appetite for renewables to your budget and timeline.

STEP 4: Procure at least-cost: let energy retailers, renewable energy producers and/or installers compete to win your business.

STEP 5: Manage: from contract fulfilment to certification management.

For more information on how we can help your metal foundry business reach its Net Zero goals, contact us today.

Sources:

1. Australian Industry and Skills Committee: Printing and Graphic Arts

2. The Print Sustainability Imperative: QuoCirca Sustainability Trends 2022 report, Louella Fernandes, 31 March, 2022.

3. Print 21 blog: Print industry pioneering green transition, but more to be done, Wayne Robinson, 19 November, 2021.

4. InkStation blog: Printer Industry Trends Australia 2021-2022.

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