Printer manufacturer Ricoh yesterday joined the growing ranks of IT vendors providing schemes to offset the carbon emitted operating their equipment by donating towards a fruit tree planting project in Africa on behalf of its customers.
Chas Moloney, associate director of marketing at Ricoh, said that the company's calculations meant that this meant the emissions generated operating the machine would be offset. "100,000 prints may sound like a lot but we overestimated the emissions in the calculations to ensure that we can say with confidence that the scheme covers the emissions generated," he said.
Customers will then receive green, bronze, silver, gold or platinum e-certificates based on the number of trees planted on their behalf.
The scheme, which is operated by charity Seeds for Africa, also has social and economic benefits according to Ricoh as the fruit trees are planted near schools in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda and form part of a wider programme to educate young people in sustainable agricultural practices.
Moloney said the move marked a step forward in the company's environmental and CSR efforts. "In the past we have donated to tree schemes where the cash has gone towards tending to trees, but this takes it to the next level and ensures trees that wouldn’t be there if we hadn’t put the money in are planted," he claimed.
The scheme is likely to be welcomed by green minded customers, but should receive a more mixed response from environmentalists who will argue that offsetting printing is still significantly less beneficial than avoiding printing in the first place.
However, Moloney insisted Ricoh was committed to limiting customers' environmental impact, arguing that while the paper-less office remained impractical for many firms the company's printers were configured to help reduce paper use. "All our printers have duplex [double sided printing] as their default mode and we have also invested heavily in R&D to limit the environmental impact of our production process and enhance the energy efficiency of our products," he said.
The news came as a new report from the Centre for Economic Business Research (CEBR) claimed that UK organisations waste £1bn a year on printing through a combination of poor print management processes and ill-conceived print outsourcing contracts. The report, which was commissioned by OKI Printing Solutions, argued that millions of pounds, not to mention swathes of trees, could be saved by organisations simply improving the organisation of their printing processes.
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