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Presentation of the 2020/2021 Epson Europe Sustainability Report

Some years ago, a company sought to maximise its profits for the benefit of its shareholders and customers and have a healthy profit and loss account. Nowadays, a company’s commitment to society and improving its environment is also increasing in importance. Joan Escoté is the Director of Corporate Sustainability at Epson Ibérica; he’s been with the company for 32 years and he’s witnessed the evolution of CSR within the company. At Graphispag he presented some of the findings of the 2020/2021 Epson Europe Sustainability Report. Some of his most important reflections are outlined below.

BlackRock is an investment management firm and it’s regarded as the world’s largest asset manager. Its portfolio was valued at more than ten billion dollars at the beginning of the year. Its CEO, Larry Fink, declared some time ago that investments would have to be revamped to take into account the effects of climate change. In one of the annual letters that he sends to his shareholders he stated: “Stakeholder capitalism isn’t about politics, it’s capitalism driven by mutually beneficial relationships between you and the employees, customers, suppliers and communities that your business depends on to thrive”.

I’ve mentioned the BlackRock CEO’s reflection as an example of a view that’s shared by organisations such as the UN when it enacted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, the Paris Agreement and the EU’s directives and protocols, with the Next Generation funds, green bonds and so on. To sum up, everything is geared towards making companies more and more sustainable.

Being a more responsible company attracts investment. If a company becomes more sustainable and reduces, for example, its energy consumption or emissions, this will lead to financial profit. We as consumers should also make this reflection and ask ourselves whether the company we buy a product or service from has a good environmental and social performance, and therefore it will also defend the heritage of everyone, namely the environment and social peace. This is why the sustainability report shouldn’t only be of interest to legislators and investors.

As a company listed on the Japanese stock exchange, Epson has drawn up several sustainability reports. In Europe we aren’t obliged to produce these financial reports, but we’ve been publishing them for a number of years as an exercise in transparency.

What we mention in the latest sustainability report

Epson has made significant commitments in the sustainability report:

  • The company undertakes to reduce its overall emissions in line with the 1.5ºC scenario by 2030.
  • To become a company with a negative carbon footprint that’s free of underground resources (non-renewable resources such as oils and metals) by 2050.
  • To reduce direct emissions (scopes 1 and 2) by 19% and indirect emissions (scope 3) by 44% by late 2025.
  • To secure 100% renewable electricity across the Epson Group by 2023.
  • We reiterate our commitment to achieving the SDGs. The challenge is how to create specific objectives and achievable actions aligned with each of the goals. Recent analysis suggests that, even now, only 0.2% of companies are firmly aligned with the UN’s SDGs. At Epson we examine which SDGs we can influence and analyse which of the 17 we can act on and improve.
  • All our European offices, our Telford factory and our European Central Distribution Centre in Bedburg (Germany) are powered by electricity that comes from renewable energy sources. We’ve reduced the use of trucks for transport from the port of Rotterdam to our Central Distribution Centre. Transport currently relies on rail (70%), boat (28%) and trucks (2%).

Epson and people

As for actions carried out with its employees, the company has also made a number of commitments:

  • The last two years have seen the publication of the 30% club commitment, which seeks to ensure that 30% of leadership positions are covered by women. For a Japanese company, given the kind of culture we historically have, it’s a difficult goal to achieve, but we’ve set it as a challenge.
  • Introduction of a new hybrid policy that allows flexible work involving working from home and at the office.
  • Wellness programmes to support employees’ physical, mental, social and financial well-being.
  • Training: training for all employees has increased by 67% year-on-year since the start of the pandemic. One significant part has focused on awareness raising and another on technical training.

Awards and accreditations

Awards are particularly important for us because they’re based on accreditations and reports drawn up by third parties.

  • Epson has been included for the first time on the prestigious corporate sustainability A List of the non-profit organisation known as CDP for its leadership in combating climate change and preserving water security.
  • Epson has received the EcoVadis Platinum Award for the second year in a row (placing it in the top 1% of companies in the sector).
  • Epson’s manufacturing plants have obtained a platinum rating in the RBA’s socially responsible manufacturing audits.
  • Epson has joined RE100 and confirmed its commitment to 100% renewable electricity.

Sustainable technologies

All Epson’s products are focused on sustainability and we’re committed to investing 770 million euros in furthering our innovation geared towards sustainability. Moreover, Epson doesn’t outsource any manufacturing, which means that the entire process is controlled and the same standards are implemented in all the countries.

  • Epson’s heatless technology means no heat is required in the inkjet process.
  • We’ve ceased to use approximately 1.6 million tonnes of plastic consumables through the sale of more than 60 million
  • EcoTank cartridge-free inkjet home printers around the world in the last two years. There’s no better waste than waste that isn’t created.
  • Our digital textile printers reduce water usage by up to 90% and energy usage by as much as 30%.

Cristina Benavides, Graphispag contributor