The green agenda
World Environment Day 2019 comes with an aim to address the increasingly painstaking air pollution issue. World leaders in both public and private sectors are challenging themselves to find a better solution to this mega problem globally.
The effects of global warming cannot be ignored. From the poles, where ice-caps are melting, to the warmest winter on record in Taiwan and historically low temperatures in Bangkok, Hong Kong and South Korea, the weather is no longer predictable. Many climate scientists believe that our planet is close to a tipping point, with the frightening prospect that global warming may become irreversible. This apocalyptic prospect could lead to a sense of futility among ordinary people and businesses.
To take such a fatalistic view at this stage would be wrong.
Encouraging Government Intervention across ASEAN
Governments around the region have recognised the challenge, and over the years ASEAN member states have taken action to address climate change through various environmental, economic and social activities.
Malaysia is one of the countries making important progress – the country has achieved about 33% reduction of carbon emission intensity per unit of GDP by considering the LULUCF (land use, land-use change and forestry) approach in terms of both emissions and removals. Major mitigation actions include implementing renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts, green technologies, sustainable forest management and sustainable waste management through recycling and effluent treatment.1
Others are doing the same. Singapore is pushing for a more sustainable and greener nation, with the announcement in its 2017 Budget of plans to implement a carbon tax from 2019. Thailand, too, has begun implementing interesting strategies to adapt to climate change, to mitigate some of the effects that are already felt across sectors, and to protect farmland, coasts and cities.
Every component of the global economy can and must contribute to protecting our environment – not only governments, but private sectors enterprises too have a crucial role to play.
Making a real difference from bottom up
What can businesses do to mitigate climate change? Is the challenge so great, and the hour so late, that green initiatives by private sector companies would be a waste of time?
Epson, a leader in the field of document printing and production, made this commitment to protect the environment back in the 1990s. It is the company’s stated intention to achieve a 90 percent reduction on the CO2 emissions of its products by 2050.
Epson also has global collection and recycling systems in place, working with customers, communities, and others in the industry to collect and recycle end-of-life products in countries around the world.
Importantly, Epson recognizes that these goals cannot be reached within a day and in order not to get lost in the mightiness of the task, it is important to set intermediate steps.
So what can businesses do, right now?
It might be surprising to learn that even something as routine as office printing can be a factor in going green. According to a study by the International Energy Authority, Southeast Asia’s energy demand will grow by 80% from today to just under 1100 Million Tonnes of Oil (MTOE) in 2040. To meet the increase in demand, 400 GW of power generation capacity – roughly equal to the combined installed capacity of Japan and Korea today – needs to be added across the region by 2040.
The question then is how can organizations manage their printing needs, yet remain green? Here, the choice of printing technology can make an important difference.
Inkjet vs Laser – The choice makes a difference
As Epson’s inkjet printers do not use heat in the printing process, they consume far less power than laser printers. Epson’s inkjet printers consume up to 85% less energy than a similar-speed laser printer, which means that for a typical office that requires frequent printing, this can amount to distinct savings in their annual energy bills2.
Inkjet printers also produce up to 85% less carbon dioxide than those of comparable laser printers3. This means that for every 6 cedar trees required to absorb the amount of carbon dioxide as a result of using a laser printer, an Epson inkjet printer requires only 1 cedar tree.
In terms of waste generation, Epson’s inkjet printers come with fewer components that need replacing, making them more convenient to operate as they require only changing of the ink and waste ink box as compared to the toner, drum, developer, fusers and more components for laser models. This is not a tiny detail as with up to 59% less replacement parts compared to laser printers4, using inkjet printers would result in a significantly reduced impact on the environment over the lifetime of a printer.
In summary, inkjets printers are clearly more environmentally friendly than traditional printing. Choosing inkjet printers is a small move that will really make a difference – to the bottom line and to our environment. Quite apart from the question of moral responsibility, enterprises can, in fact, take actions that will, when aggregated, make a real difference.