A better business environment

Why we all need to be thinking ‘eco-innovation’

A better business environment

In 2016, Epson implemented our own strategy for increased sustainability having put in place our Environmental Vision 2050. In addition, we made a commitment to reduce CO2 emissions by 90% across the lifecycle of all products and services by 2050 and will continue to work towards restoring and protecting biodiversity with local communities. Through the process it is becoming clear to us that businesses can go one step further than just reducing environmental footprint of single technologies and individual processes to better tackle environmental challenges.

Specifically, we are learning throughout the process that eco-innovation must drive our activities, meaning, integrating environmental considerations in all business decisions and strategically transforming an organisation’s model rather than focussing on singular measures. Practically, this means being mindful of how every product, service or activity affects the environment at every stage of their life cycle (known as life cycle thinking).

Fundamental to Epson’s shorter term environmental vision (our SE15 Mid-term Environmental Policy) is the concept of the “reuse and recycling loop” and we continue to leverage our technologies to ensure this ethos remains at the heart of our innovation, benefiting businesses across the board. In addition, we are working towards developing products with a 50% lower impact across their life cycle by making them smaller and lighter, reducing their power requirements and designing products for easy recycling.

Not only beneficial to the environment, eco-innovation provides real value for business looking to maximise the triple bottom line (social, environmental, financial). Increasingly, we are all scrutinising our technologies and identifying how they use natural resource (including materials, energy, water and land) more efficiently – both during use and during the production process - while reducing harmful factors such as waste, pollution and emissions.

Because eco-innovative companies have sustainability at the core of all their business operations, they are also miles ahead of their competitors when it comes to anticipating risk factors, such as price volatility and resource scarcity, new regulatory requirements, and changing industry trends, for example, increasing consumer demand for more environmentally friendly products and services. In today’s world, flexibility to respond to the changing marketplace is an important competitive advantage, attracting investors who are increasingly factoring sustainability into their decision making. This is particularly important for SMEs looking to capitalise on the increasing funding opportunities linked to innovation and sustainability.

In order to leverage the benefits of a being an eco-innovative company, businesses – Epson included - should identify the gradual, progressive changes they can implement within the framework of a long term strategic focus on sustainability. Simply making the switch to an energy efficient IT fleet and encouraging employees to work remotely, for example, could yield greater financial and environmental savings than the eco-efficiency measures already being widely implemented.

However, compared to encouraging paper recycling for example, these types of measures require upfront decision making and investment. Something we have discovered during the process is that successfully implementing eco-innovation depends upon a ‘top-down’ approach with strong commitment from senior executives.  SME’s would also benefit from support and guidance from their partners, for example technology providers, as a lack of time and limited resources are two often cited obstacles in implementing eco-innovation initiatives.

The business case for eco-innovation is undeniable. It equips organisations with the tools to turn environmental, regulatory and market challenges into new business opportunities. More broadly, eco-innovation allows us to better the environment and global economy, which will help ensure a better future for us all.There is no denying that environmental considerations are becoming a priority for many business executives. In fact, recent research by industry analyst firm Quocirca shows that 53% of European business decision-makers say that sustainability is very important to their organisations, with 68% of respondents saying it increased in importance over the last 12 months.1 Measures such as paper recycling, low energy lighting and increasing energy efficiency have become increasingly commonplace.

To learn more about Epson's environmental vision visit: epson.co.uk/about/environment