The green agenda
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?
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.
Within the Southeast Asian region, ASEAN is addressing climate change through the framework of ASEAN Community Building, with strategies and actions rooted in the various development and sectorial areas.
In addition to more frequent natural hazards like earthquakes and tsunamis, the region faces common environmental concerns such as air and water pollution. Waste disposal is another serious environmental challenge for Asia-Pacific societies. According to the Asia Development Bank, most Asian towns and cities use open dumps and only about 10% of solid waste ends up in properly engineered and managed landfill sites.
The notorious Smokey Mountain landfill in Manila once held over two million metric tons of waste. When the authorities closed it down, the scavenger community that made it their home simply moved to another dump at Payatas. Fatal fires and landslips are common at such sites.
The challenge is undeniably extremely serious. 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.
Governments around the region have recognized the challenge, and over the years ASEAN member states have taken action to address climate change through various environmental, economic and social activities.
For example, 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. These include a slow shift to organic agriculture, a tsunami warning system along the Andaman Sea, the construction of a flood prevention wall around Bangkok, and an Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles and energy use.
Malaysia is also 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.
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.
Quite apart from the question of moral responsibility, enterprises can in fact take actions that will, when aggregated, make a real difference.
Businesses can make the change
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?
What small steps can they take to help fight climate change?
It might be surprising to learn that even something as routine as office printing can be a factor in going green. Why is this so? It is a simple recognition that printers consume electricity, and demand for electricity in Southeast Asia’s rapidly growing economies is set to almost triple by 2040, with a continuing shift towards environmentally harmful coal as the primary fuel for power stations.
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) in2040. 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
Because inkjet printers use minimal heat in the printing process, they consume far less power than laser printers. In fact, Epson’s business inkjet printer model WorkForce Pro WF-C869R series consumes a staggering 80% less power than an equivalent laser printer, according to lab tests conducted by Buyers Laboratory LLC. The power consumption for Epson’s business inkjet printer is 18.7kwh, compared to consumption of 98.8kwh with typical laser printer technology.
Multiply this by the number of printers installed in Singapore’s offices, and you can see that what may look like an insignificant decision can make a huge difference!
Inkjet printers offer substantial additional environmental benefits too. For example, with high-capacity ink packs, the replacement frequency of consumables is drastically reduced, leading to savings in maintenance costs and minimizing waste – Printing of 86,000 pages requires 60 toner cartridges for a laser printer, compared to 4 ink packs for an Epson inkjet printer.
And when we evaluate the entire product life cycle from manufacture to transportation, use, scrapping, and recycling, the total CO2 emissions of Epson’s business inkjets are approximately 93% lower than those of lasers.
Decisions on printer systems are not made purely on environmental grounds, of course. Companies need to consider factors such as speed of printing, maintenance cost, output quality and so on.
From these perspectives, Epson’s inkjet printers deliver great productivity. Their ink pack replacement systems let users print or copy up to 86,000 black and 84,000 colour pages without needing to change the ink packs. No need for warm-up time means rapid printing right from the first sheet. And with the flexibility to print on a diverse range of paper types, business inkjet printers can support a wide variety of business needs.
Based on the above, business inkjet printers are clearly more environmentally friendly than traditional printing, choosing inkjet begins to look like a small move that will really make a difference – to the bottom line and to our environment.
 Quoted yields are extrapolated based on Epson original methodology from the print simulation of test patterns provided in ISO /IEC 24712.