An arial view of a densely wooded forest.

3 ways to celebrate Earth Day in your office all year round

Every April 22nd millions upon millions of people around the world mobilise to celebrate Earth Day, marking the founding of the global environmental movement and using events and activities to raise awareness of the key issues our planet is facing. From replanting coral in Honduras and litter picking in Madrid, to climate debates in Berlin and recycling projects in Belgrade, there are over 1 billion participants playing their part. But after an exciting 24 hours of action, what else can we put in place in our offices that respects the planet all year round?
1) Don’t (physically) go the extra mile
One thing we’ve learnt from a year in lockdown is that most of our journeys simply weren’t necessary and we quite easily replaced our drives (and even flights!) to meetings with video calls. This is all great news for the environment, but for those businesses that rely on being close to their customers, how can you mitigate the impact?
  • Make electric dreams an electric reality
Electric vehicles are becoming more and more accessible and can be a really straightforward change to build into your future planning. Whether your business leases or owns cars and vans, set the intention in your plan to switch to electric as soon as possible.
  • Be bold, go remote
When problems arise, customers want fast solutions. To keep our customers safe but operational during the pandemic, our Service teams have often been able to use smart diagnostic software to make essential repairs to their machines. Could you do something similar? Perhaps you can offer live chats to your customers? Or invest in new online tech to make it easier for them to connect with your business or buy your products?

A shot of the rear of a white electric car being charged using a charger with a yellow cable. In the background, a blurred long-haired person in a blue skirt and white top walks away, carrying a cream-coloured bag over their shoulder.
Electric Dreams: electric and hybrid vehicles are becoming more and more accessible, perhaps now is the time to set a target to switch?

2) Check for impact
Do you know how much energy your laptop consumes? Or your office shredder? Or even the fridge where you keep your packed lunch? If you don’t, you’re far from alone. So, perhaps now is the time to do a little research and see if your office machines are all as energy efficient as they can be – the less energy they consume, the less carbon they emit. When buying business machines and domestic appliances, make sure you ask your supplier about their ‘TEC’ value (Typical Energy Consumption). Not only is this a key factor in decreasing the impact of the machine on the planet but keeping it low will save your business money.
3) Say farewell, but not goodbye
In Japan, environmentalists exclaim, “Mottainai!”, when something that can be put to use is discarded. It roughly translates as “what a waste!” and is a great word to keep in mind whenever we think about throwing things away, particularly when there may be no good reason for doing so. Do the conference room chairs need to be dumped or can they be cleaned up and reupholstered instead? Can that printer be returned to the manufacturer for refurbishment and re-sale? If not, then make sure you process the unusable items properly, ensuring that the component materials are recycled and/or recovered.
Further food for thought
Keep “Mottainai!” at the front of your mind not only for the things you already own, but as a reminder that you too can give a second life to great pre-owned products. Future resource scarcity is a very real issue and as a result, we need to buy into the circular economy today. For example, when you need new office machines, is it absolutely necessary to buy brand new? As we mentioned above, the Canon EQ80 range of printers are ‘remanufactured’, which basically means that when they have reached the end of a lease, they are returned to the factory for complete disassembly, cleaning, upgrading and testing. Then they are put back on sale with the same warranties and efficiencies as a brand-new machine. Makes absolute sense, doesn’t it? As sustainability goals become more and more of a priority for businesses everywhere, it’s absolutely time to look at things differently. Earth Day shows us the power of a billion people contributing. Let’s be inspired by it and play our part – every day.
Discover more about sustainability at Canon.

Written by Andy Tomkins

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