Epsonow Magazine

Page 2 - Closing the Loop

On the 25th of May 2001, Epson Australia - Epsonow Magazine Volume 1 assumed yet one more position of leadership. This time, rather than technological, it was environmental with the gaining of ISO 14001 accreditation.

According to Mr. Garry Pearce, Epson Australia - Epsonow Magazine Volume 1's Manager of Human Resources and Administration, credit for the accreditation goes to all Epson Australia - Epsonow Magazine Volume 1 staff. "When we started working toward ISO 14001 around 12 months ago, everyone throughout the company really came on board," he said. "People started coming up with ideas and began taking greater care in turning off lights and equipment when not needed."

True to the intent of an ISO 14001 Environment Management System (EMS), Epson set out to develop a systematic management approach to the company's environmental concerns. The first stage was the formation of an Environmental Steering Committee which draws its members from Epson's administration, logistics, customer service and repair centre operations.

Rather than approach the environment with a "shotgun" approach, which would do little more than deliver band-aid solutions to a broad range of problems, the Committee set out to address three key areas - power consumption, paper product recycling and green purchasing. Once these had been dealt with, the Committee could then focus on additional areas such as printer and cartridge recycling, and reclamation.

Energy Reduction

On the issue of power consumption, the Steering Committee established a March 2002 deadline for reducing Epson Australia - Epsonow Magazine Volume 1's energy consumption by 20 per cent. Making this goal all the more difficult to achieve is the increase in energy demand brought about by the company's continual growth. As more staff are brought on, more equipment is used and lighting demands increase.

Despite these increased energy demands, as at May 2001, a reduction of 15 per cent had been made across the company. This figure represents a saving of 40,000 kilowatt hours per year, which equates to an immediate reduction of 40 tonnes of greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere.

One of the ways in which the reduction has been brought about is the investment in energy saving measures for the two Chatswood complexes. Special apparatus that drops energy output to fluorescent lights after the tubes are charged, a reduction in artificial lighting fixtures in areas where natural light is particularly strong, and regular energy audits all contribute to the major reduction in energy use.

Epson's commitment to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions was recognised in October, 2001, when the company was awarded a prestigious Bronze Energy Smart Green Globe Award by the NSW Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA). The award was presented to recognise Epson's saving of over 62 tonnes or harmful greenhouse gases.

While not a contributing factor to Epson's 20 per cent energy reduction, the company is already recognised as a leading supporter of energy reduction.

Created by the US Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in 1992, this international standard for energy-efficient electrical equipment is being addressed by (SEDA).

Green Purchasing

Another "green" alternative set to be rolled out is Epson's Green Purchasing policy.

Mr Pearce explained: "We're already talking to our suppliers about the policy, which will see preference given to those companies that demonstrate strong environmental responsibility. In many cases, companies we deal with already have or are at least working towards ISO 14001 accreditation.

"Our hope is that by introducing the policy we will provide a business incentive for these companies to adopt a stronger environmental stance."

To address waste paper concerns, two 40-litre paper recycling bins were brought on site. According to Mr Pearce, within a week of introduction, the number of bins grew to four. "We simply underestimated the diligence of staff," he commented. "Everyone throughout the company is ensuring paper and cardboard doesn't end up as landfill."

Landfill, as mentioned by Mr Pearce, is a concern for the entire company. In fact, aside from the March 2002 deadline for a 20 per cent power reduction, the date represents a self-imposed deadline to reduce Epson's contribution to landfill by approximately 30 per cent, with paper products and wooden pallets being the main targets.

"With pallets, even though there are still a few going to landfill, recycling is more difficult to deal with than paper and cardboard," explained Mr Pearce. "Wherever possible we give them back to our carrier for redistribution to other companies who might have a need for them.

"Other than that, our main focus is on Epson Japan's goal of introducing cardboard pallets. With these in place, all the shipments we receive will be on pallets that can be recycled by means of our existing paper product recycling methods."

When asked to comment on Epson Australia - Epsonow Magazine Volume 1's environmental activities, Mr Hiroki Yamamoto, Managing Director, said: "The belief within Epson globally is that sustainable growth depends on three factors. The first of these is to be financially strong. Next, be aware of the community and its needs, and third, be environmentally responsible.

"If we were to sit back and do nothing about the environment, then we'd be neglecting all three levels. Businesses need to recognise the role they play in the community and the importance that environmental responsibility has in meeting that role."

To help you locate additional information on the environmental issues discussed in this article, we have included the following web links: