UK lags behind Europe on sustainable IT practices

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Research released by Epson has found the UK is falling behind the rest of Europe on sustainability in office IT and printing, with only 28 percent of UK businesses feeling sustainability is a necessary expenditure in IT procurement.

The survey of 500 senior IT managers and procurement leaders in Britain, France, Spain, Italy and Germany conducted by European research and analysis company Quocirca, found that environmental sustainability does not feature highly in purchasing decisions in the UK, despite rising costs and sustainability pressures.

Even though 62 percent of UK businesses say that environmental decisions are becoming more important to their organisations, only 28 percent see sustainability as a necessary expenditure in IT procurement if it costs more. Only 46 percent of UK respondents felt environmental issues are highly important, compared with a European average of 53 percent.

The research also found that the UK is behind on environmentally-friendly office practices compared with other European countries. Only 68 percent said they regularly recycle paper, (compared with 72 percent for the rest of Europe). Just over half of UK respondents (51 percent) said they were increasing energy efficiency and only 23 percent are actively implementing energy efficient IT.

Germany is leading the way in terms of sustainable IT procurement and office practices, with 70 percent suggesting they want to increase energy efficiency. Half of respondents in Germany saw sustainability as a necessary expenditure in IT procurement, even if it was more expensive – this figure 16 percent higher than the European average of 34 percent.

Rob Clark, Managing Director, Epson UK and Ireland said: "UK businesses are really missing an opportunity to capitalise on more energy efficient IT. It's a common misconception that investing in more sustainable technology means an additional cost, but that's not always the case. Inkjet printers can be more cost effective for businesses, providing savings of up to 50 percent per page printed, as well as reduced downtime and IT support, and increased productivity through reduce waiting time for prints."

"The environmental case for making the switch from laser to inkjet printers, is very strong. It can help companies achieve energy savings of up to 96 percent, CO2 emission reductions of 92 percent and waste reductions of 95 percent. In fact, if every business in the UK made the switch to business inkjet printers, it would save enough power to run over 60,000 houses."

It was also revealed that UK businesses are more reliant on energy-consuming laser printer fleets, with 62 percent reporting their printer fleet was predominantly laser based, compared with 49 percent in Italy, 43 percent in France and Germany and just 33 percent in Spain. Brits are also less aware about the environmental advantages of inkjet printers – 34 percent responded that lasers are more efficient in terms of energy usage, compared with 21 percent for the rest of Europe. Independent tests conducted by Buyers Laboratory LLC demonstrating that inkjet technology results in up to 82% in energy savings compared with laser.[1]

Louella Fernandes, Associate Director, Quocirca, highlights that: "Those with a higher focus on sustainability will continue to reap the benefits. Just 24% of SMEs are willing to accept additional costs related to improving eco-efficiency but there are simple, flexible and cost effective products and services available."

Rob concludes: "There are options for SMEs in Europe today that can help them transition to more eco-friendly equipment without resource or investment burdens. One example is a Managed Print Service (MPS), such as Epson's Print 365, which acts as a full service lease, helping organisations to control and optimise their printing, and to align to the organisation's environmental goals."

[1] Buyers Lab LLC (BLI), the imaging industry's leading independent authority and provider of competitive intelligence, testing and reviews, carried out the tests over six months to July 2015.

BLI carried out standalone tests with the following models:
WorkForce Pro WF-5620 DWF
WorkForce Pro WF-5690 DWF
WorkForce Pro WF-R5690 DTWF
WorkForce Pro WF-8590 DWF
WorkForce Pro WF-R8590 DTWF

BLI also carried out the following comparative tests:
A4 head-to head (WF-56xx Series incl. RIPS) versus 5 laser competitors
A3 head-to-head (WF-R8590 DTWF) versus 5 rival A3 colour copiers

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