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‘Canon aims for a 42% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2050’

Canon driving sustainability in print operations, aiming for net zero emissions by 2050.
  • Canon's sustainability strategy focuses on remanufacturing, renewable energy, and eco-label certifications, Venkatasubramanian (Subbu) Hariharan says
  • The company inspires youth through the Canon Young People Program, empowering them to address sustainability issues with creativity and critical thinking, he adds

Venkatasubramanian (Subbu) Hariharan is the Managing Director of Canon Middle East and Turkey, has played an important role in shaping the trends in imaging and print operations that are steering the industry towards a sustainable future. 

In an exclusive interview with TRENDS, Hariharan highlighted the company’s commitment to the circular economy, renewable energy sources, and eco-label certifications as critical drivers in achieving sustainability goals. “Canon champions re-manufacturing and refurbishment practices, encouraging the reuse of materials to reduce its environmental impact,” he said.

He mentioned Canon’s strategic initiatives in the Middle East, with programs like the Canon Young People Program (YPP) inspiring youth to tackle sustainability issues creatively. “Our YPP aims to inspire, educate, and empower young people to share their stories and tackle the sustainability issues that matter to them,” Hariharan said.

Hariharan also discussed Canon’s innovative solutions, such as the world’s first toner cartridge recycling program and the Climate Project Contribution service, which allows business users to compensate for greenhouse gas emissions. 


What are the key trends in imaging and print operations contributing to a more sustainable tomorrow?

The current trends in imaging and print operations are critical in driving sustainability. Canon recognises the paradigm shift towards a circular economy, where resources are optimised and waste is minimised. Within this context, Canon champions re-manufacturing and refurbishment practices, encouraging the reuse of materials to reduce its environmental impact. The trend towards renewable energy sources and the integration of eco-label certifications are critical drivers in print operations, ensuring the adoption of more sustainable materials and reducing carbon footprints. For example, Canon’s Red Label Zero, the first carbon compensated, technical wide format paper for the Architectural, Engineering, Construction and Manufacturing (AECM) industry, is delivered to customers in a 100% CO2 compensated manner.

How is Canon driving these sustainability-focused trends within the Middle East region?

Canon’s commitment to sustainability within the Middle East is evident through its strategic initiatives. Key to our environmental sustainability strategy is our second focus of making a positive social impact extending to how we can help and support our employees, partners, customers and the communities in which we operate. For example, our Canon Young People Programme (YPP) aims to inspire, educate, and empower young people to share their stories and tackle the sustainability issues that matter to them using creativity and critical thinking. Since 2015, more than 6,750 participants from 34 countries have taken part in YPP. Over 50 charity and NGO partners support local YPP activations in regions across EMEA, including Plan International and Wild Shots Outreach. Canon Ambassadors collaborate with partners to help participants create stories that raise awareness of sustainability issues in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Can you share specific examples or case studies of organisations that have successfully integrated sustainable practices into their print operations with the help of Canon’s solutions?

Several organisations have embraced sustainable print operations with Canon’s support. Our partners have successfully reduced waste by employing Canon’s re-manufacturing technologies, extending the life cycle of materials and minimising environmental impact. Canon’s commitment to eco-label certifications has also enabled organisations to procure and utilise more sustainable materials, significantly reducing their carbon footprint.

Venkatasubramanian (Subbu) Hariharan.

More broadly, we are supporting our customers to achieve their sustainability goals through the workplace of the future. This means helping them work better—however that may be for them. This includes delivering on-demand printing systems that help reduce the environmental impact of commercial and industrial printing by enabling our customers to print the volume they need when they need it. 

What technological advancements or innovations has Canon introduced to facilitate more sustainable printing processes, in the Middle East, a big market for these technologies?

Canon continually introduces cutting-edge innovations to promote sustainability in printing globally and in the Middle East. We have developed new service offerings such as the Climate Project Contribution service, which enables our business users to compensate GHG emissions that arise from the use of our products. For our consumer product customers, we have launched repair centres to reduce waste and make it easier for them to recycle consumables. One of our highlights is the world’s first toner cartridge recycling programme launched in 1990. Since then, we have collected 454,000 tons of cartridges, which equals about 16 times the weight of the statue of liberty. 

In what ways is Canon working towards reducing the environmental footprint associated with print production?

Canon’s commitment to reducing the environmental footprint spans various initiatives and practices. We adhere to global standards and engage in partnerships such as the UN Global Compact, advocating for the SDGs. Newspapers, leaflets, and other printed matter are an integral part of life and work, and that’s why we have put policies in place to encourage sustainable procurement of materials. We support eliminating deforestation, and all of our Canon brand cut sheet A3 and A4 paper is certified as deforestation-free. Canon Group uses materials supplied from forest resources managed exclusively for use as timber products, and work with our partners to ensure the traceability of all of our paper products.  

Could you discuss the benefits and advantages of organisations prioritising sustainability when selecting print suppliers? And how ethical is your own supply chain?

Organisations that prioritise sustainability in selecting print suppliers gain numerous advantages. Beyond enhancing their environmental credentials and regulatory compliance, they also reduce operational costs by employing efficient resource management practices. Furthermore, aligning with more sustainable print suppliers allows businesses to build a positive brand image, fostering consumer trust and loyalty.

At Canon, we regularly check and review our procurement processes and supply chain against several governance measures. We have established our own Canon Green Procurement Standards, which scores suppliers on their environmental approach at a business and material level. Suppliers must adhere to this in order for us to work with them. On top of this, we are a member of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), the world’s largest industry coalition that promotes socially responsible global supply chains, and we work closely with our peers to enhance standard business practices. Our suppliers are required to sign the RBA’s Code of Conduct, and we conduct annual reviews to identify any risks within our supply chain. 

What advice would you give to Middle East businesses looking to transition their print operations towards a more sustainable model?

For Middle East businesses aspiring for more sustainable print operations, a holistic approach is vital. That’s why we start by conducting a comprehensive assessment to identify areas for improvement. Setting clear sustainability goals, leveraging more sustainable solutions, and educating the workforce on sustainable practices are key steps. Additionally, utilising renewable resources and monitoring and reporting progress will ensure a successful transition.

What are some practical steps that Middle East organisations can take to measure and quantify the environmental impact of their print operations?

Organisations can measure their print operations’ environmental impact through comprehensive life cycle assessments. These assessments should encompass tracking energy consumption, waste generation, and calculating carbon footprints. Canon provides guidance, tools, and methodologies to facilitate this measurement process, enabling organisations to gauge and improve their sustainability efforts effectively.

What is Canon’s plan for reaching net zero by 2050? 

We have robust plans in place to become a net zero business by 2050 in alignment with Canon Inc. Since 2008, we have been working toward reaching cumulative 50% improvement in the index of lifecycle CO2 emissions per product unit by 2030, of which we have exceeded our targets year on year. We are continuously looking at ways to limit the environmental impact we have across our design, procurement, operations, processes and distribution. Some of the areas helping drive this is our reuse, refill and remanufacture strategy, and the increasing use of renewable energy in production and on sites. In 2023, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) approved Canon’s CO2 near term reduction targets aimed at achieving a 42% reduction in absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions and a 25% reduction in absolute scope 3 GHG emissions (category 1 and 11) by 2030 from a 2022 base year.