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    Thoughts on your office environment for Earth Day 2013

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    Today is Earth Day, and all over the world more than 1 billion people are celebrating by driving green initiatives like cleaning, planting and recycling. On this special day activists, governments, and NGOs try to drive more awareness about the current environmental issues and what we can do to help protect our Earth and preserve our natural resources.

    Though green issues such as climate change have become a major part of our daily life, many people still find it difficult to sustain it in their working environments. Business Printing is one of the areas where you too can make a difference. We can’t give up printing and in fact it is our duty not to, but how we print is what makes all the difference when it comes to our impact on the environment. So today we are going to show you in three simple steps how your business can score double by cutting down its printing cost and carbon foot print at the same time.

    Smarter printing

    At first glance it may be hard to see how moving print from a specialist supplier to in-house could have such a dramatic impact both on costs and on carbon emissions. The explanation, though, is simple: if you print in-house then you print precisely what you want, when you want it and where you want it. You might call this smarter printing.

    Every business requires stationery: letterheads, invoice blanks and so on. Traditionally this stationery is pre-printed in advance, and because of the economies of scale when using an external supplier, items are usually ordered in large quantities. You pay for a large amount of paper, tying up cash. You spend energy moving it from the print shop to your premises and, if you have multiple locations, to probably pay again to move it from the headquarters to these other branches. You have to provide storage for it and if any detail changes – a new address, membership of a new trade body, an update in the corporate identity, maybe the addition of your environmental certification details – then the paper is just scrap to be delivered (more carbon) to a recycling plant.

    So, why outsource when you can do it in house?

    Online information

    The last few years have seen a marked change in the way that brochures and data sheets are used. Gone now are the days when if someone was interested in a product they called the company who put a glossy brochure into an envelope and mailed it. Today the expectation is that all this information will be available on the web, and while brochures still exist they are formatted to be downloaded and printed out remotely.

    Again there is no need to print large quantities of brochures in advance. If you need ten copies to display in a reception area, print out ten copies. If you need 100 copies for an exhibition then print out 100 copies. And if the exhibition is in Las Vegas or Beijing then print them there, rather than shipping them around the world. This provides more benefits than you can shake a stick at. It saves money and it reduces the carbon footprint, but it also means that you can make changes to your document as they happen.

    Managed printing

    These real savings are realised readily, by taking a managed approach to printing. Identify what your requirements are and install the hardware you need to support it accurately. The network design will ensure that staff has access to the right printer at the right time. Multi-page documents should be routed to duplex devices for double-sided printing to halve the paper cost.

    These are simple steps but can deliver cost savings to a business of as much as 30%. By printing what you need exactly when you need it you eliminate waste, and by printing what you need at the exact location you need it you save the cost, and environmental impact, of shipping it.

    While achieving best environmental practices can be challenging for a business, particularly in the current climate, there are areas where going green does not inevitably cost money. Taking a fresh look at printing can be good for your business while fulfilling your Corporate Social Responsibility at the same time.

    How do we create a “Green Product”?

    Five major things we at OKI take into consideration when constructing “Green technology”

    Green design

    At OKI Data Corporation, a holistic approach to green issues is taken when new products are developed. The environmental considerations are automatically integrated into the design, engineering and post-sales care of each product and its consumables.

    RoHS Directive-control of substances

    The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive has been in force since July 2006 and its mission is to provide a measurement infrastructure which supports innovation, facilitates fair competition, promotes international trade and protects consumers, health and the environment. OKI Data Corporation is promoting the control of substances subject to the RoHS Directive for all products in the US, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Japanese markets.

    OKI Data Corporation has also built a Global RoHS database containing the measurement data and supplier certificates for every component of each model and ensures that all its suppliers are RoHS compliant maintained by carrying out ‘spot checks’ for random sampling of components to ensure and maintain ongoing compliance).

    Green packaging

    OKI’s green leaf symbol which can be found on our products and packaging,  is a reminder of the company’s environmental processes. Packaging, in every market, can have a significant environmental impact during its production and disposal. To reduce these environmental impacts, OKI Data Corporation is striving to design eco-friendly packaging and substitute materials for greener alternatives. This includes everything from cardboard boxes for products, to the wooden pallets that are used during transport.

    OKI Data Corporation is even investigating the use of ‘bare packaging’, where products are covered in polythene during transport, minimizing packaging while giving the same protection from dust and scratching as more heavy-weight materials. Additionally, as an alternative to wooden pallets the company is testing pallets made of corrugated cardboard, which are easier to handle and recycle.

    Air Pollution

    As a corporation and manufacturer, OKI is committed to careful stewardship of environmental resources. Most OKI products are compliant with the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Program.

    OKI printers are designed to cut energy consumption up to 50% when they are idle. This reduces the risk of air pollution resulting from power generation and reduces your operating costs. And our digital LED technology makes the working environment healthier by virtually eliminating ozone production.

    Green Manufacturing

    These products also need to be manufactured in a Green environment and the whole process has to be considered as an end to end system which is why Oki has a Green Procurement Standard as part of the Vendor Assessment process.

    Within the manufacturing process, a major Green IT challenge that has existed for many years is the need to remove pollutants, reduce carbon emissions, reduce energy consumption and still produce viable commercial products.

    What is “Green IT”? Oki’s John Ross Defines the topic taking over the industry

    By John Ross

    I tend to find that trying to define the subject under discussion is critical to understanding the movement toward Green that is shifting the tech industry. “Green IT” can mean a lot of different things to different people, companies and regulators. So, what exactly is “Green IT”?

    As this is aimed at an IT literate community, the first place most people go to for a definition is the Internet. If you Google “Green IT” the following Wikipedia entry will appear:

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Green computing, green IT or ICT Sustainability, refers to environmentally sustainable computing or IT. In the article Harnessing Green IT: Principles and Practices, San Murugesan defines the field of green computing as “the study and practice of designing, manufacturing, using, and disposing of computers, servers, and associated subsystems—such as monitors, printers, storage devices, and networking and communications systems — efficiently and effectively with minimal or no impact on the environment.”[1] The goals of green computing are similar to green chemistry; reduce the use of hazardous materials, maximize energy efficiency during the product’s lifetime, and promote the recyclability or biodegradability of defunct products and factory waste. Research continues into key areas such as making the use of computers as energy-efficient as possible, and designing algorithms and systems for efficiency-related computer technologies.

     

    Therefore, Green IT is not an add on, nor is it an afterthought or marketing spin. It is a total approach to design, manufacture, use and disposal of IT products efficiently and effectively with as little environmental impact as possible.  There are, of course, a number of legal compliance considerations to be taken into account both locally and globally regarding carbon emissions, disposal of hazardous waste, recycling of plastics, the use of hazardous substances and many more. But how much of what IT companies do is self generated? How much of it is very recent? And, how much of it is ingrained in their company philosophy?

    Let’s take Oki as an example. Within Oki there is, and has been for decades, a vision and policy to drive down the environmental impact of IT products by smart design, continuous improvement, provision of software within the box to allow the end user customers to manage and control their print output as well as an understanding of the legal compliances that are required.

    However, Oki has always strived to go further than that in developing Digital LED printing technology when others were happy using laser technology, the inclusion of automatic duplex printing, and latterly automatic duplex scanning in MFP units, as standard to save on paper while at the same time reducing waste, carbon emissions and increasing manufacturing efficiencies.

    Thus, we must look at Green IT not only as a matter of technology, but as a matter of company ideology. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting about relevant issues pertaining to Green IT in a bid to increase general awareness on the topic, so make sure you check back regularly!

    5 simple tips to getting the most out of your printer and printed documents

    1.)    Do your research before buying a printer: You might think that choosing a printer is easy, but its important to do your research beforehand not only to save money, but also to pick the best printer for the types of documents you plan to produce. An office printer that is capable of mass producing different types of documents in a short period of time for instance, might not be suitable for someone who only prints a few pages on A4 paper a day. Read up on various models and make note of how often you print and on what types of media.  A simple tip for those who do a lot of document printing is to go with a toner based printer rather than an inkjet printer. While toner based printers might cost more, each document page printed on a toner based printer will cost a fraction of the price of each document printed on an inkjet.

     

    2.)    Know your technology: Understanding the technology behind printing is essential to getting the most out of your colour printer. Things like LED vs Laser technology and the type of toner used can make major differences in the final outcome of your printed document. At OKI, the combination of LED technology and toner technology are carefully constructed for precision placement of toner on the documents to create enhanced images that can be printed on a variety of mediums.  LED printers are also more reliable than laser printers and produce higher resolutions and better colour definition.

    3.)    Understand the role that colour psychology plays in business communication: Contrary to popular belief, colour goes far beyond cosmetic appearance. Doing some research into colour psychology in business will give you insight into how colour can be used to influence specific responses from customers or clients. For instance, did you know that invoices printed in red get payed 70% faster?

    4.)    Adjust your settings: Know that changing print settings on your computer can actually help you get the most out of your colour cartridges and save energy and money. Make sure you optimize the energy saving settings on your printer in order to consume less energy when the printer is idle. Many people who use printers also don’t know that adjusting the dots per inch ratio on your computer will help you use less ink and get the most from your cartridge. Printing using “Draft” mode on toner printers will also help you save money in the long run.

    5.)    Take a little time to evaluate the software that came with your printer: Oki printers ship with hundreds of dollars’ worth of free software to help you manage your printer, optimise performance and simply do more with it – getting more ‘bang for your buck’. Software such as Template Managerr, which helps you quickly and effortlessly print labels, letterheads, business cards, CD labels, fridge magnets and others for a huge range of other useful applications.

    Going Green: Celebrating Earth Day by Fulfilling our Duty toward our Planet

    ImageWe live in a time where global warming and climate change are critical issue facing the world and generations to come. As the international community continues the discussion on what can be done to confront and solve these issues for the sake of our planet, organizations are also beginning to realize that they too play a role in contributing to a low carbon society. The question is, are ENOUGH organizations taking issues like energy consumption, environmental saving, and environmental protection into consideration?  Our research has shown that UAE businesses are wasting millions of dirhams per year on avoidable energy costs.

    Energy efficiency should be a collective effort by organizations and individuals alike to work toward greener communities and a greener society at large. In order to encourage individuals and families to adopt greener habits in their personal life, organizations should increase emphasis on educating employees on what they can do to contribute to a better environment. Taking the environment into consideration should be a critical component of your organization’s value system as a whole. At OKI Group, we consider the mitigation of climate change and the realization of a low carbon society as two critical issues on our agenda. We’ve been active in an ongoing campaign to promote “Green IT.” After all, IT is what we do best.

    Our world today is highly advanced technologically. From sending a simple text message to transporting ourselves from home to work, we depend on IT in many aspects of our lives. While it is a challenge, we believe that adopting a green approach to developing IT devices can have a significant impact on energy consumption across the world. Since 1998, OKI Group has made a deliberate effort in conducting environmental assessments in the design phase of product development, comparing each product to its predecessors. We call this “Green of IT.”

    On the other hand, the efficient use of IT is also critical to the reduction of CO2 emissions. As a carbon-neutral company, we’ve developed technologies such as CoolClover and Web Sensing which allow users to manage energy as well as track and collect environmental information. In a sense, we use technology to further enhance technology with the aim of being friendlier to the environment, hence why we call it “Green By IT.

    Here are some simple tips to consider when going green:

    • Calculate your emissions in order to plan where you should start when it comes to reducing your footprint. You can calculate your business’s CO2 emissions at: http://www.climatecare.org/business/business-co2-calculator/
    • You’d be surprised to know that many office appliances continue to consume energy even when they are idle. Invest in green office technology or optimize your energy settings to save money and reduce energy consumption in the long run.
    • Don’t print unnecessarily. Of course, there are cases when hard copies of documents are required, but one of the benefits of living in the digital age is that it has actually become more convenient to store and share documents electronically. Ask yourself, “do I NEED to print?”
    • Keep a recycling bin next to the printer to collect scrap paper. Much of what we print we dispose of, so rather than wasting paper, recycle your unneeded paper documents.

    Happy Earth Day to everyone around the world =)

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