Despite environmental issues falling way down some companies’ lists of priorities, there are suppliers to the large-format sector that are taking it increasingly seriously. Canon Europe is one such – it even has a director of sustainability, Stuart Poore. We asked him to outline the company’s vision and how that might impact PSPs within this sector.
Who knew that Canon Europe had a director of sustainability and government affairs? Well it has, and Stuart Poore is the man. As he points out, Canon operates according to the philosophy of Kyosei, a Japanese word that means ‘living and working together for the common good’. This philosophy shapes everything the company does and underpins its EMEA sustainability vision to ‘grow the positive power of imaging technology and services’. But what does that actually entail? Poore explains…
We passionately believe in the benefits Canon’s people, products and services can bring to customers and the wider society. Ensuring we continue to deliver this benefit is critical to our development as a sustainable business, so we want to explain our commitment to sustainability in a simple and compelling way. We spoke to our employees, customers and other people externally to find the best approach and from this we established three key elements of our sustainability story:
- Sustainable imaging technology and services relates to our intention to minimise environmental impact through our operations and customers;
- Imaging for empowerment refers to how we want to equip people and businesses with the skills and confidence to spark positive social change;
- Imaginative solutions explains our appetite to work collaboratively to pioneer transformational approaches to the biggest social and environmental challenges we face.
This story provides a way of showing the positive power of our imaging technology and services. For our business customers, it will help them realise the full range of benefits derived from sustainability, such as meeting the needs of their customers, attracting and retaining talented employees, managing reputational and regulatory risk, reducing inefficiencies, and anticipating new entrants to the market. The benefits also apply to consumers - for example, ‘imaging for empowerment’ captures the exciting ways in which consumers can ‘live for the story’ and use imaging to create positive change in their lives and others.
Within our Sustainability story is a vast array of different social and environmental issues to consider. It is important that we focus on our most significant areas of impact. To identify these, we undertook a consultation with key stakeholders both inside and outside of our business, including our customers.
This helped us understand our key risks and opportunities. We recognised a range of issues that all stakeholders will expect us to be acting responsibly to manage - what we call our ‘brilliant basics’. This includes maintaining an environmental management system and ensuring socially and environmentally responsible supply chains.
Building on these foundations, there are some areas of impact where we want to be more progressive with our engagement. This includes environmental challenges such as taking action on climate change and social opportunities associated with contributing to the development of smart cities, workplaces and public services.
We have identified two issues where we aim to differentiate ourselves and lead in our sector. Firstly, we want to make a meaningful contribution to the development of a circular economy, building on the progress we’ve already made in remanufacturing and refurbishing devices, and recycling printer cartridges. Secondly, we want to empower young people to tell visual stories about the need for change using the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework.
As with all our customers, companies that use print services for profit, as a critical part of their business, or use our technology to enable critical production processes, expect us to be managing our basic responsibilities in ways that enables them to show they are sourcing responsibly. But there are also some more specific ways in which we can help these companies positively improve their impact and sustainability performance.
As part of our emphasis on ‘sustainable imaging technology and services’,Canon is committed to providing solutions that help reduce consumption of energy and other natural resources.
Canon has consistently delivered against its global target to reduce the lifecycle emissions from our products by over three percent every year since 2008, with a 34% reduction in emissions between 2008 and 2016. In addition, many of Canon’s wide-format devices are Energy Star certified, demonstrating our commitment to energy efficiency even in production printers. Key production engines such as the imagePrograf, ColorWave, imagePress 850/70/650, varioPrint 140 Series and the imageRunner ADV 8200 series, have outstanding energy credentials. The varioPrint 140 series in particular, deserves a special mention for being one of the few production printers with almost no ozone emissions.
There exist myriad ways in which we help customers reduce consumption of materials such as ink and paper. For industrial printing, automated workflows in combination with job editors, drivers and operating panels support accurate previews and ensure ‘right first time’ prints. Automated nesting functions on Arizona flatbed and borderless printing on imagePrograf printers also help minimise media waste.
In the creative and advertising space, we provide print technologies such as CrystalPoint to ensure vibrant print quality even on recycled and uncoated media. CrystalPoint, and other printers that use Canon UVGel technology, have been awarded the Greenguard Gold certification for their low chemical emissions. This is particularly important in health-sensitive environments such as hospitals and schools, where this technology is likely to be used.
We also operate a ‘spare parts’ return and refurbishment programme. A number of ‘used’ parts - eg. field replaceable units (FRUs) and PC boards - are sent by our national sales offices around Europe to manufacturing sites in Giessen and Océ in Venlo and Poing for refurbishment and then reused in the field with customers.
Look too to Canon’s Young People Programme, which aims to inspire creativity, raise awareness of the importance of meeting the UN’s SDGs and encourage people to take action by helping young people to use visual storytelling to express their views on the need for change.
Running across several events throughout Europe this year, this activity is a key priority for Canon’s sustainability programme. Interactive workshops will explore and demonstrate how through visual storytelling we can deliver positive impact, at scale, in the long term. We are particularly keen to bring our customers and partners with us on this programme and explore what they can do to create additional value.
Canon is also working with the children´s book publisher Goloseo and Tecnau in support of ‘Room to Read’, an initiative designed to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Goloseo translated three of their German picture book titles into English and two African languages, Sepedi and Xitsonga for use by Room to Read. Canon and Tecnau used the translated files to print and finish over 3000 of these picture books during Drupa. Once printed and finished these books were sent to Room to Read libraries in South Africa to be distributed to 176 schools.
Graphic art is another sector in which Canon is keen to show our social value and deliver imaginative solutions. Through Canon technologies, cultural heritage and art can be captured, in every detail, and reproduced for future generations to enjoy.
The true value of a focus on sustainability for Canon is in anticipating future social and environmental challenges and converting this into opportunity for our business and wider society. We realise that this will require transformational change in the way we operate and engage in the future. To get there we want to inspire and mobilise our employees around our priorities and, through our commitment to Kyosei, collaborate with our customers to find the best solutions.