How Epson is adopting green manufacturing
The impact of green manufacturing on sustainability
In this blog, we will look at Epson’s green manufacturing processes and how we’re making improvements in this area.
Established commitments and forward planning
Green manufacturing requires planning. Epson’s average product development cycle takes five years, and involves product design, material sourcing, prototype development and testing before it gets to the mass manufacturing stage.
We’ve all heard and used the adage ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’ but it is particularly appropriate to green manufacturing. Epson has worked hard to instill recognition of the need to incrementally improve the environmental performance of our manufacturing process through careful planning.
The latest phase of this effort began in 2008 when Epson established its Environmental Vision 2050 – a long-term initiative that aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 90% across the life cycle of all products and services by the year 2050. It recognises that the Earth's carrying capacity is limited, and states our belief that everyone must share responsibility for reducing environmental impacts.
Last year the Epson 25 Corporate Vision – a document that establishes our product innovation goals between now and 2025 – was launched. The plan highlights four key product areas in which we are targeting growth (printing, visual communications, wearables and robotics).
It’s great to see, almost a decade later, the extent to which the principles established in Environmental Vision 2050 have informed our product development goals, even before the design has started.
Celebrating the success of ‘green manufacturing’
While we plan to go much further, Epson’s environmentally conscious manufacturing processes are already creating compelling sustainability benefits.
We consistently reinforce to our customers and team the importance of efforts to improve business sustainability.
For example, ‘green manufacturing’ is highlighted in our sustainability report, as well as examples of specific products that offer radically improved environmental performance. The Expression Premium XP-630 printer has been redesigned to be as compact as possible, using fewer materials and making it more efficient to ship without compromising on quality. And our WorkForce Pro inkjet printers now use up to 96% less energy, produce up to 94% less waste and emit up to 92% less CO2 than comparable laser printers6.
Epson customers and employees know we design products that are smaller and lighter with reduced energy requirements. They know our products have an extended service life – and are easy recyclable when the time comes.
Constantly reinforcing this message and marketplace helps to build a genuine culture of engagement towards our green manufacturing commitments.
Accepting that it’s not all enticing
Throughout its history, Epson has created incredibly innovative new products that have helped change the world, but to help stave off climate change, companies need to take a detailed look at their own internal process.
A commitment to green manufacturing requires action to be taken across all areas of the manufacturing cycle. Here are three snapshots from the sustainability report that demonstrate exactly the kind of incremental, but vital improvements that we’ve made this year:
- Labelling: We’re taking steps to comply with the labelling requirements in major countries around the world.
Our type II environmental labelling program is used to ensure our environmental information is both transparent and reliable in accordance with the ISO 14021 standard. Eco labels are displayed on communication tools such as brochures, product catalogues and individual product boxes. The environmental attributes of Epson’s products are now also published in the form of an “ecology profile” for full transparency.
- Management of chemical substances in products: We give preference to lower-impact alternatives when selecting the components and raw materials with which we make our products.
We closely control the type and quantity of materials we use, and we systematically control the substances we buy, manufacture, and ship to ensure we meet our green product standards. These standards are applied not only to materials that go into our products, but also the office equipment and supplies used by Epson employees.
- Production: Our environmental focus is on preventing global warming, the elimination of emissions, and the control of chemicals.
Epson initiatives to prevent global warming revolve around reducing CO2 emissions by conserving energy, and reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases other than CO2. In fiscal year 2015, we set out to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 35% compared with fiscal year 2006, and we achieved our worldwide target. Meanwhile our zero emissions program began with an effort to recycle 100% of our waste products, and in 2003 all group companies in Japan and overseas production sites met their material recycling targets.
Making a commitment to green manufacturing requires dedication, patience, team work and a commitment of time and resources. None of this happens without leadership from senior management. However, as a mentor told me at the start of my career, “when you’re presented with an elephant to eat, all you can do is take the first bite”.
I genuinely believe that we must all take responsibility for reducing the environmental impact of human activity on the earth, both as private individuals and corporate citizens. I also believe that most consumers, businesses and investors now agree.
Green manufacturing can have an enormously positive impact on global sustainability, but also the ability of businesses to sustain profitability in the decades to come.
To read the full report, or download the highlights, visit: