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Six sustainable practices to
look for in your print provider

You want to partner with a company that shares your organization’s environmental goals and is committed to doing good for the planet. Here’s what to look for when choosing a sustainable printer.

Consider all of the things you look for when choosing a printer: service, location, professionalism, and efficiency. What about sustainability? As more and more consumers and businesses commit to being green in their own lives and operations—whether it’s the products they buy or create— they want to know that their suppliers are making a similar commitment to sustainability.

It’s a concern that’s both deep and growing. According to a recent Nielsen survey, 73% of global consumers say they would change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment,¹ making it essential for businesses to meet new sustainability standards both in their operations and in their alliances.

What should your business look for in a sustainable printer? It starts with a foundational commitment to tackling global issues such as climate crises and deforestation. Day-to-day operations matter, too, from recycling paper waste to using energy-efficient lights. Here are six sustainable practices to look for when considering a printer.

1. They share your values

This may seem like a no-brainer, but not all printers are on equal footing when it comes to sustainability. Are they striving to reduce their carbon footprint—and actively putting programs in place to do so? Many businesses put their environmental plans in writing, stating explicitly where they want to be in terms of sustainability and how they are going to get there.

According to Certus Insights, 70% of people want to know what the businesses they support are doing to tackle environmental issues.² Having shared values is important for any industry, and printing is no different. Look for a provider with a long-standing commitment to the environment and that consistently partners with other organizations that are dedicated to responsible and sustainable operations.

2. They’re committed to energy efficiency

One of the most consistent and reliable paths to sustainability is through energy conservation and management. Your provider should have energy-saving measures in place and be actively working to reduce carbon emissions. For example, energy management systems³ maximize energy efficiency and reduce waste through innovations such as temperature controls that adjust for occupied and vacant building times and centralized monitoring of HVAC equipment. Look for other energy-saving efforts as well, such as using LED lights instead of incandescent ones.

3. They know where their paper comes from and how it’s produced

Printers run on paper, and the best ones know everything about the paper they stock. Look for a provider whose paper comes from third-party-certified, sustainable forests. In addition to helping fight climate change—the world’s forests absorb 7.6 billion tons of CO2 every year4—sustainable forests help reduce deforestation and ensure that future generations will continue to reap the benefits that only forests provide.

While some paper comes from wood, a truly renewable and sustainable resource, your provider should also offer a range of other options, including recycled or tree-free papers.

4. They’re staying ahead of the sustainability curve with new technologies

The world’s environmental issues call for innovative ideas and new technologies. The printer of the future will take advantage of the latest carbon-neutral options. The future of sustainable technology is knocking, and your provider should be rising to the challenge.

5. They’re reducing waste in innovative ways

Waste reduction goes far beyond the nearest recycling bin. Sustainable printers depend on automation and standardization throughout their network to ensure quality control and reduce waste.

Take color printing. Company branding needs to be consistent, down to the color of a company’s signage and logos. The level of color consistency required by today’s companies is built on automation and standardization—key components of efficient production that also reduce waste because paper will not need to be thrown away due to color inconsistency. Reducing the amount of color adjustments and reprinting equates to reduced waste.

6. They help you stay sustainable—even when you’re nowhere near their store

One way your printer can help your organization reduce its carbon footprint is by keeping you out of your car in the first place. Taking care of your printing needs online, in the comfort of your own home or office, is an easy way to save time, energy, and fossil fuels by helping your car stay off the road.

Online printing tools allow businesses to create and customize projects from their home or office, then upload and print documents when and where they need them. Editing tools that allow you to preview and proof your document online also keep businesses from having to make costly and wasteful reprints. When thinking about sustainable options, look for a printer with a full suite of online print tools.

True sustainability means working with providers who share your organization’s commitment to the environment. At FedEx Office, we have a strong and ongoing commitment to sustainably sourcing paper, reducing waste and making our operations more energy-efficient. We are here to help your company reach its sustainability goals, too, by providing sustainable paper and signage options and offering online solutions to reduce emissions, whether you’re in our stores, working from home, or using one of our helpful online tools.


Sources

1. Nielsen (Oct. 1, 2019). “A ‘Natural’ Rise in Sustainability Around the World.”

2. Copeland, Natalie. (Oct. 2, 2019). “Consumers Expect the Brands They Support to Be Socially Responsible.”

3. FedEx Office (Jan. 18, 2021). “Save energy and improve performance.”

4. Gibbs, David and Harris, Nancy (Jan. 21, 2021). “Forests Absorb Twice as Much Carbon as They Emit Each Year.”