According to a new white paper by analyst firm IDC sponsored by OKI Europe, energy use is a major concern amongst 46% of small to medium businesses (SMBs).
The report, SMB Buying Considerations for Smarter Business Printing, highlights the findings of IDC’s latest SMB Hardcopy Survey, which revealed that energy consumption topped the list of environmental issues for smaller businesses.
Other concerns which feature strongly include the demand for recycling programmes for hardware and consumables, the use of recycled paper and the need to reduce packaging.
"Even though cost considerations remain strong in a tough economic environment, there is no doubt that SMBs are pushing hard to print greener as they look to improve their corporate environmental performance as well as reducing costs," says Terry Laidlaw, managing director, OKI Europe. This pressure will increase further in January 2013, as the European Union Energy-using Products (EuP) Directive will require all print devices sold after this date to include an ‘auto off’ mode, designed to shut down the device when it has not been in use for a certain period of time.
"Lower energy usage also has positive financial implications for the business," Laidlaw adds. "OKI, like many manufacturers has been working hard to reduce the environmental impact of printing and IDC in-depth interviews among IT decision makers confirm that newer products typically use 30 per cent less energy and consume 20 per cent less toner than legacy devices. The result is that investing in new equipment can pay for itself longer-term as it cuts the cost of printing."
Space constraints in many SMB offices can also impact on the purchasing decision, OKI reckons. "In responding to this problem, well-designed A3 devices, such as the models developed by OKI, have only a marginally larger footprint than their A4 counterparts, with the result that products offering broader A3 functionality can offer a realistic upgrade path, even in environments where space is at a premium," advises Laidlaw.
Meanwhile a 2012 IDC study of European businesses found that data protection ranked highest in a list of 10 IT-related initiatives on their agenda for the coming 12 months.
Find the full IDC whitepaper here.