Often, however, large companies don’t know where to begin. Adopting simple strategies, especially when it comes to print procurement, can make a huge difference towards going green.
The three R’s (Reuse, Recycle, Recyclable) are the most important factors to focus on when it comes to managing a corporate’s carbon footprint, reducing waste and paper usage. Joe Mothilal, FSU (Free Standing Unit) specialist for POINT says these are the biggest trends to look at when it comes to sustainability. POINT actively tries to educate clients and suppliers about going green, using these focus points. “We, being the key interaction point between clients and suppliers, feel if we set out sustainability goals and reporting standards that all manufacturers adhere to, then the client as well as the supplier benefit.”
POINT has developed a Sustainability Table using the three R’s, providing tips for large corporates. Mothilal outlines the 3 R’s on the Sustainability Table as follows:
- Reuse – We encourage the client to think about the unit after its shelf life is over. They now brief agencies to design units to be collected after promotions and events so they can be reused at a less prominent store.
- Recycle – By using recycled material to produce units, we save the client costs as well as ensure we are doing our bit for the environment.
- Recyclable – The ultimate goal is for all materials that are being used to be recycled after shelf life. Manufacturers are encouraged to continuously increase the % recyclable material they utilise.
“On this Sustainability Table we highlight the different substrates that are being used to create an FSU like metal, plastic or cardboard. The manufacturers complete the table, stating how much of the material being used on the unit is recycled, reused and recyclable. They also give us the weight of each component. From this information we can establish how much of this unit gets recycled and how much of it ends up as landfill. Naturally we are striving for a 100% recyclable unit,” Mothilal comments. He adds that manufacturers and suppliers should already be using recycled cardboard that is totally recyclable and reminds companies that lead based PVC is now banned.
These trends and efforts towards going green are currently reflected in the industry. Mothilal says that parties are working together to create products and product stands that are sustainable. “Retailers are being more responsible and instead of throwing the units out to waste, they are giving them back to the manufacturers to be recycled.”
The costs of going green can be a deterrent but POINT encourages companies to think of the long term gain and go beyond the basics of changing conventional light bulbs to energy savers and LEDs or using aerators for taps. “The use of solar panels and heat pumps are slowly being introduced but energy saving can be a very expensive outlay. However, return on investment in going green continues to improve, and there is already a greater return on investments after five years or so,” Mothilal explains.
Corporates stand to reap huge benefits by adopting simple measures and consulting an outsourcing solutions company like POINT. POINT is currently South Africa’s only independent business focused on the outsourcing of print-related business processes, and the company has been saving its clients up to 35% on their respective printing costs. Their consistent drive towards educating clients, suppliers and manufacturers about sustainable solutions enhances their delivery when it comes to providing the most effective services.
However it’s not always so simple. Mothilal says there can be a fine balance between going green when it is more expensive in the short term, and reaping medium and long term benefits. “Most clients are cutting budgets and sometimes going green can increase the unit cost considerably.” His solution would be for government and the major players in the economy to get involved by creating an incentive scheme for companies that support green initiatives.
It is because of the need to find more cost effective solutions to going green, as well as the current economic climate that POINT assists clients in limiting paper waste and cutting back on paper consumption. POINT has over 200 national suppliers on its books, most of whom use FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) approved stocks, ensuring that clients receive both the best value for money and environmentally friendly print solutions. In terms of green solutions, Mothilal adds, “There is so much more that everyone can do.”
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