CSRD is coming: Four ways to make your organisation more sustainable

Sustainable business practice is no longer optional.

a man looking at his phone

Get ready for CSRD

Sustainable business practice is no longer optional. The public are demanding direct and immediate action to curb climate change, while investors are increasingly seeking credible markets for sustainable investments.

Moreover, in October 2022 the European Commission (EC) intends to adopt the first set of standards of Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).1 This will require more organisations than ever before to submit annual reports according to EU sustainability reporting standards, detailing their impact on their own organisation, on people and on the environment.

The EC says existing reporting is not good enough – reports are swayed by what investors and stakeholders think is important and it’s difficult to make comparisons between two or more companies – and the new CSRD intends to change that.

Hybrid working: an opportunity

In addition, organisations who had hit pause on sustainability efforts during the height of the pandemic now have an opportunity to press play on a different tune.2 Hybrid and flexible working – embraced by the majority of European businesses34 – offers a rare chance to make changes. And with the great resignation underway,5 seizing that chance could prove critical in more ways than one as employees increasingly look to move to more progressive organisations with a stronger – and more transparent – stance on sustainability.6

Owners and office managers across the EU, and beyond, will be taking a fresh look at what constitutes sustainable business practices and proactive ways to make improvements on a day-to-day basis. Here are some ways to take action at your organisation.

1. Join the renewable energy movement

You could take a significant slice off your carbon footprint by switching to a renewable energy contract or tariff. In Great Britain and the EU, electricity suppliers must publish their fuel mix annually, so customers can see if they are using 100 per cent renewable energy or a combination of renewable and fossil fuels – useful data for calculating your carbon impact.78

Renewables are growing fast, and are even on track to overtake fossil fuels as the world’s largest source of energy in the next five years,9 so it’s now easier than ever for you to join the movement.

Some organisations may want to consider joining the third of UK businesses already generating their own renewable energy on-site.10 Depending on the size of the site, location and available investment, there is a range of technology options including solar, wind, geothermal and ground source heat pumps, hydro-electric, anaerobic digestion, and combined heat and power. This should be planned in tandem with insulation and energy efficiency measures for maximum impact.

If EU-based corporations committed to sourcing renewable electricity to meet just 30 per cent of their total electricity demand by 2030, the EU renewable energy sector would generate more than €750bn in gross added value.11

Hybrid working is also an important factor in making, and calculating, sustainability progress. Laptops, printers, lights, heating – they all have a footprint whether they are used in the company office, at employees’ homes, or elsewhere. Be wary of simply shifting responsibility onto your staff and losing track of valuable data.

2. Apply the waste hierarchy

Consider the five Rs of the waste hierarchy: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recover. Where could you make sustainability savings across the wider lifecycle of all products, whether they are sold or purchased?

In terms of office technology like multifunction devices, this can cover everything from choosing more energy-efficient devices, to calculating the carbon impact of digital transformation, to extending the fleet investment cycle to replace printers less often.

Indeed, keeping office devices in good working order for longer can significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions arising from their manufacture, logistics and end-of-life disposal. Utilising Canon’s EQ80 remanufactured multifunction printers (MFP), for instance, can push down these emissions from raw material extraction and CO2 even further – by as much as 80 per cent in comparison to a new product.

Purchasing remanufactured equipment offers organisations a direct route into the circular economy, a system that keeps resources in use for as long as possible. Such devices are also more affordable and, in the case of Canon’s EQ80 range, have excellent levels of quality and reliability backed by the same guarantees as every newly manufactured product.

a woman working on a laptop

3. Clean up your supply chain

The EC notes that the growth of the sustainability economy will affect organisations big and small, regardless of reporting requirements; sharing sustainability reports will simply be an expectation within a supply chain.

In a company workplace, contractors such as office cleaning companies, caterers, decorators, coffee suppliers and many more are often ignored when considering overall environmental impact. Toner and ink cartridge recycling is an established practice, and has been a crucial part of Canon’s ‘no waste to landfill’ policy for over 30 years. To meet sustainability goals, the same logic can be applied in other areas.

As an example, Europe is the largest global consumer of coffee – and the value of coffee consumption in European offices is around €3.1bn.12 When old coffee grounds are disposed of in ‘the usual way’, they end up decomposing in a landfill site where they emit methane, a greenhouse gas.13 When recycled, however, grounds can become ‘coffee logs’ and used as a sustainable biofuel.

With this in mind, it’s worth exploring the supply chain and lifecycle of other office consumables, such as cleaning products, paper and catering for client meetings. It may seem like a minor consideration, but when all data – and all actions – count, it’s worth seeking out improvements.

4. Find greener ways to travel

Low-emission vehicles are on the rise in Europe: sales of electric cars surpassed those of diesel for the first time in December 2021.14 Businesses across the region are considering replacing older fleets with electric vehicles to lower their environmental impact and help improve air quality, as well as reduce fuel, maintenance and tax costs.15

But embracing public transport and active travel, such as cycling and walking, can yield more savings. In the UK, the car is the most common form of transport for journeys of one to five miles;16 could some of these journeys be replaced with other means of transport at your organisation?

Or, indeed, not taken at all? Technology is enabling remote and on-the-go work, meaning people can be productive wherever they are. Car travel represents a substantial proportion of ‘urban trips’ (under 100km) across the EU, many of which are for commuting or business.17 Standardising hybrid and flexible, or entirely remote, work could render many of these journeys unnecessary.

Small steps, big impact

Sustainability is a major business consideration – as it should be in our changing planet. Taking time consider actions both big and small could significantly improve both your CSRD reporting and your contribution to a greener world.

Find out more about how Canon’s EQ80 devices re-use parts to create a device that’s as good – and reliable – as new in our picture book, EQ80 – A Life In Pictures.

Discover how Canon applies sustainable practices right across the lifecycle of our products in our infographic.

“The public are demanding direct and immediate action to curb climate change.”

Andy Tomkins, EMEA Sustainability Engagement Manager, Canon Europe


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