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SA not paperless yet, but moving towards more sustainable printing practices

Jaco Möller, Business Development Manager: Workspace at Canon South Africa.
Jaco Möller, Business Development Manager: Workspace at Canon South Africa.

South African businesses may not be ready to go paperless yet, however, they can move to use paper less and make their printing environment far more environmentally friendly, says Jaco Möller, Business Develop Manager: Workspace at Canon EMEA.

Möller says while environmental sustainability is a top priority in developed nations, many South African businesses and their customers still depend heavily on printed documents. “South Africa is expected to be a hybrid digital-paper environment for years to come. But despite this, leaders and forward-thinking companies are looking at how they can make their printing environments greener and more sustainable,” he says.

He believes the COVID-19 pandemic catalysed change and fast-tracked local moves to use less paper and become more environmentally friendly.

“When companies had to move to remote working, solutions such as Canon Therefore document management software and Canon Scan2x, an intelligent document capture solution, came into play. Not only did these solutions enable remote workers to collaborate and remain productive, they also improved security and compliance, with the added benefit of reducing the number of multifunctional devices and the amount of printing needed,” Möller says.

Möller believes environmentally friendly practices will become a business imperative in years to come, and sees leading enterprises starting to focus on environmental gains. “Some organisations only look at speeds and feeds, whereas the forward-thinking ones are starting to ask about energy efficiency, sustainable manufacturing practices and overall environmental impact of the printing devices they use.”

He notes that Canon’s corporate philosophy of kyosei, or harmonious co-existence, has put the company at the forefront of initiatives to protect the environment. Since 1990, the company has worked to reduce the life cycle CO2 emissions of Canon products at every stage from R&D, design, procurement and production to logistics, sales, servicing and post-use collection and recycling. Since 2008, it has worked to achieve an annual average improvement of 3% in life cycle CO2 emissions per product and aims to cut its CO2 emissions across product life cycles to net zero by 2050. Its focus includes designing more energy efficient products, which are more compact and lightweight, stepping up recycling and remanufacturing and reducing harmful chemicals in manufacturing.

Canon printers are also packaged in recyclable packaging, with even the ink developed to be environmentally friendly. Canon also reduces the amount of e-waste in the system by ensuring longevity of devices and parts, and that at least 80% of their parts can be recycled within industry standard recycling processes.

Möller believes Canon devices’ lower energy consumption is of particular interest to local businesses. “Our new range has between 3% and 13% lower energy consumption, which can be a significant saving in an organisation printing a lot of documents, or where you’re running on generators or solar power,” he says. “If you can’t reduce the amount of paper you print, you can at least improve the energy efficiency of the devices you use and ensure that they are manufactured and packaged in an environmentally friendly way.”

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