Circular economy, sustainability and business opportunities

Canon Camera

The no-compromise circular economy: How changing procurement mindset could save money and help save the planet.

Half of total greenhouse gas emissions and 90% of biodiversity loss result from resource extraction and processing of materials, food and fuel. And yet, the global use of raw materials is set to double by 20601. It’s therefore essential for businesses to adopt practices that minimise waste as much as is possible. A key part of doing so is embracing the circular economy.

According to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, a circular economy is “based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.”

Businesses sit at the heart of the transition from a linear to a circular economy. By embedding principles of circularity into the heart of corporate decision-making, such as through the adoption of sustainable procurement principles, organisations can both save on costs and honour commitments to social responsibility.

Remanufactured: the new ‘new’

Having the best intentions around reuse and recycling is all very well, but accepted workspace best practice can handicap the adoption of the sustainability policies that will underpin genuine behaviour change. At a recent seminar in Sweden about procurement and sustainability, it came to light that products which used recycled parts are often disqualified because they do not meet the ‘factory new’ requirements2.

Such ‘factory new’ rules can lead to procurement teams ignoring the option to upgrade or repair existing devices leading to excess waste and unnecessary costs. These teams often fail to consider how to extend the life of their office hardware or how to dispose of hardware appropriately for the same reasons.

Businesses need to understand that ‘non-new’ does not need to mean ‘compromised’. While it’s important to get the best-fit technology for any business, the best fit is not always the very latest technology. The key is granularity. Having a full understanding of the specific needs of the workforce will give a better idea of the IT devices they require. For some, ultimate speed and versatility will be imperative; for others, a device that gets the job done securely and reliably and that fits seamlessly into their workflow is what’s needed to be productive.

Energy efficiency, continually improved

Understanding remanufactured devices

This is the beauty of remanufactured devices. Unlike refurbished or second-hand products, the process of stripping down, rebuilding with a mix of cleaned old and new parts and rigorous testing means that the devices look and feel brand new. Even the counter is set to zero. Consequently, there’s a considerable cost saving compared to ‘new’ devices, too, both in practical and environmental terms. And most importantly for businesses, there is no compromise between product performance and sustainable credentials.

Canon’s imageRUNNER ADVANCE EQ80 range puts these principles into action by selecting the best-selling models from the recent years and comprehensively rebuilding them, applying long-standing manufacturing expertise to produce affordable, high-quality multifunctional devices.

Every product from the EQ80 range is built using 80% or more of existing components, contributing to the circular economy and reducing the CO2 emissions associated with manufacturing by up to 80%. And, like our entire Canon portfolio of devices, the EQ80 comes with various options and features, from A3 mono to colour printing, fast print speeds of 25 to 75 ppm and a reduction in raw material use of up to 80%.

All of these devices are sold as brand new with a fresh warranty and new serial number. As a result, they don’t have to sit outside a business’ printer network: the latest firmware and standard robust security features mean that they operate as an intrinsic part of a printer fleet, ensuring that any business need can be met in a way that’s both efficient and cost-effective.

Looking at the bigger picture

Our corporate philosophy ‘Kyosei’ (living and working together for the common good) means that the principles of sustainability and responsibility have been etched into our values from day one. Since we began remanufacturing over 20 years ago, we have consistently applied our technical innovation and continuous improvement to our ranges, and are now the only OEM to offer remanufactured devices. This also means that we have stayed ahead of recent legislation for our imageRUNNER ADVANCE EQ80 range: the EU has recently expanded ‘right to repair’ rules to appliances like dishwashers and fridges. From 2021, manufacturers will need to supply spare parts for up to 10 years so that appliances can be fixed, rather than replaced.

Nations across the EU are looking to enshrine the circular economy into law in other ways. When it comes to supplying and purchasing many products, from car parts to consumer technology, facets such as recyclability, the use of recycled materials, remanufacturing and repairability must be considered. Indeed, since 2009, the EU has worked to establish a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related products to improve their environmental performance.3

And there are further benefits to adopting remanufactured devices as part of a more sustainable procurement strategy, as both customers and employees are drawn to businesses with better sustainability credentials.

Ensuring circularity is built into procurement practices is not just a nice to have; it’s essential for future business success, and the future health of the planet. And, when adopted carefully, it means anything but compromise.

Related Products and Solutions

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    1. OECD, Global Material Resources Outlook