Technology and climate change: an alliance of reason

Technology can help companies significantly reduce their carbon footprint.

The latest IPCC report once again sounds the alarm. It is imperative to change our habits very quickly if we want to conserve the planet. But if, on a personal level, it is easy to turn off the light, lower the temperature or turn off a tap, when it comes to businesses, the process can be more complex. As much as it is possible to evolve quickly concerning the footprint of the company itself or its energy consumption, everything that will be “external” (suppliers, supply, etc.) will be more difficult to change. And yet, many solutions are already available allowing organizations to reduce their carbon footprint, both in their internal operations and with their suppliers.

Xerox began its first sustainability initiatives more than 40 years ago, with double-sided printing and the first recycled papers for photocopiers, followed by its first sustainability policies and environmental reports in the 1980s. Since , the company has never ceased to make a commitment to the environment and to encourage its employees to do the same. Both in its operation and in its offerings, sustainable development plays a key role.

Print better and print less

Even though paper can be considered a responsible resource, we have all experienced piles of paper thrown in the trash. However, this is one of the first points that a company can optimize. By organizing the recycling of its printed papers for example, but also by adjusting the print quality and the default duplex. Current equipment and associated services also make it possible to automatically manage the renewal and recycling of consumables, or to switch to recycled paper.

But beyond the constant improvement of the performance of the material, manufacturers like Xerox are committed to the recycling of certain components such as the metal frame of the copiers, making it possible to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing process.

Adapting the company to hybrid working

The big change in recent months has been the implementation of this new hybrid work environment, where employees are no longer systematically on the company’s site but still wish to benefit from the same access to internal services. While teleworking reduces the carbon footprint of home/work travel and the company’s property footprint, it can only be effective with the implementation of cross-functional and perfectly secure document management.

There are secure, cloud-based software platforms today that provide access to tools for automating and digitizing workflows to help teams overcome day-to-day challenges for better productivity, ever since anywhere, anytime and from any device, whether laptop, tablet or multifunction printer. Collaboration can thus be as seamless as in the office even several hundred kilometers away.

Innovate further to reduce the carbon footprint

New developments such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality or 3D printing can also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Xerox’s CareAR service, for example, allows a technician to remotely advise a person on site during a device failure through an augmented reality application. The maintenance teams thus reduce their trips to major incidents only requiring their presence on site. This is as much gained for the emission of greenhouse gases.

3D printing, on the other hand, can make it possible to extend the life of equipment by producing on demand or in small series replacement parts for functional equipment whose spare parts are no longer available. This avoids relaunching a large series, a large part of which will remain unused.

Decarbonization is also a business approach

Xerox made a long-standing commitment to sustainability, but the initiatives are even more important today. The company sees it as having a social responsibility to do what is best not only for itself, but also for individuals, the environment and the community. Key elements of this social responsibility strategy focus on how it can reduce its impact and that of its customers on the environment.

Xerox thus published at the end of last year its agenda towards “Net Zero”. This roadmap focuses on improving processes and energy efficiency, as well as the design of environmentally friendly products and the development of clean technologies. The goal is to achieve “zero emissions” by 2040.

Today, technology is there to allow organizations, whatever their activity, to work to reduce their carbon footprint, both internally and within their ecosystem. This is a goal that all must adopt, because the continuation of commercial activities will depend on the sustainability of our environment.

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