When Cantec Ireland responded to a tender from one of the world’s ‘greenest’ universities, MD Greg Tuohy never anticipated how much he would learn.
Sustainability is an area where actions very much speak louder than words and one institution talking the talk and walking the walk is University College Cork in Ireland. Considered to be one of the most sustainable universities in the world, they view the entirety of the university through an impact perspective and have scrutinised every element of campus activity to create ‘green’ policies that are both realistic, ambitious and – most importantly – widely actionable.
UCC'S SUSTAINABILITY GOALS
- To engage our student body, staff and wider community in becoming active citizens for sustainability
- To minimise the local, regional and global environmental impacts of our educational, research, operations and infrastructural development
- To promote and engage in the sustainable use and management of the landscape and natural resources of the University, in all its campus areas, with respect to ecosystem services, natural and cultural heritage
- To be an overall positive force in the journey towards creating a sustainable world for all
About The Project
“When we refer to sustainability, we refer to those social, environmental and economic principles which allow us to create and live in a society which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs; that lead us towards a thriving, equitable and ecological healthy world for all.”
The devil is in the detail. When the contract to manage the print of the university was put out to tender, the challenge was not in simply providing a better service than they currently have and at a competitive price. It was to know and understand the deeper purpose of UCC’s sustainability commitments and share a similar, holistic approach to social and environmental responsibility. Greg’s first-hand experience of the university played an important part in the way he approached the challenge. He knew that UCC were forward-thinking and open to the kinds of change that other institutions might find unusual. For example, when tendering for print, most organisations look for the very newest and efficient machines, with up to the minute technology in order to gain the very maximum long-term value from the installation. UCC’s priorities in efficiency and maximum value were the same, but Greg also understood that they were taking a very big and complex step in the decommissioning of their existing fleet, and this needed to be offset by machines that represented the very minimum impact possible – from the minute of installation.
“I was able to make the argument that 80% of the carbon footprint produced by your average MFP (multi-function printer) is in the manufacturing and the mining of the raw materials,” says Greg. “The actual running of the machines is only 20% – representing a smaller percentage of the carbon footprint. So why not run them for as long as you possibly could?” By starting at the source of consumption, Greg introduced the concept of ‘remanufactured’ to the team at UCC.
Not to be confused with ‘refurbished’ or ‘second hand’, truly remanufactured devices are a very different beast. Essentially, they are bestselling machines that have reached the end of their contract with a customer (typically three to five years). They are then taken to Canon’s factory in Giessen, Germany and disassembled to the frame level then thoroughly cleaned and fully tested as they would be in a normal standardised factory process – this includes full erasure of the hard disk, using a methodology approved by US Ministry of Defence, and updates to the latest firmware. The rebuild of the finished product is a combination of approved existing parts and new, and it undergoes a quality control process that is identical to that of a new machine. The completed ‘EQ80’ machine is then resupplied into the market with the same warranties as a brand new machine.
In promoting remanufactured, we’ve proved that sustainability matters and seen that those who compete with us for government tenders are nowhere near our level. We always score top marks in tenders for sustainability. I have huge amounts of collateral and the brochure on the remanufacturing process of the EQ80s at Giessen is very good. Plus, I’ve had many conversations with senior figures at Canon and struck up really useful relationships, sharing my opinions and providing feedback on machines and configurations. The European team in particular have been very supportive in providing really good information to help us win business.”
- The installation of a 300+ strong mixed fleet of managed Canon EQ80 remanufactured machines under a minimum five-year contract.
- A reduction in energy consumption and significantly lower cost of print for UCC, based on pay for click only.
- A place for Cantec on UCC’s sustainable print steering group.
A Greener Future
For UCC, such devices, installed in the kind of quantities required by an institution of such a size, represented an immediate sustainability win, both in terms of the circular economy and reduced environmental impact in manufacturing. Particularly when you consider that the machines would be installed with a new print management system that naturally creates efficiency and consolidates consumables. The subsequent creation of a sustainable print policy took this one step further and embedded even deeper cultural change around the use of print at UCC. But what happens to the hundreds of existing machines? “There was a plan,” explains Greg. “Any machine over four years old could be taken home by staff members, machines under four years and any available cartridges were to be donated to charity. And really old and battered machines would be recycled.”
Working with the ‘green’ requirements of his alma mater has been a truly eye-opening experience for Greg, and he freely admits that it has changed the way he lives – and the way he runs Cantec. A family business, founded in 1994, Greg took over the running of Cantec from his father in 2011 and has already quadrupled its size. He now has his sights set on sustainability. Cantec has formed an environmental team within the company to change their internal policies and are in the process of changing all their vehicles to electric, with a target of 100% electric by 2023. They also offer discounted office space to fledgling local companies and work with the community on returning to work schemes. It all forms part of a bigger picture, the ability to offer a balance of products and services that sit comfortably with their current and future aspirations as a responsible corporate citizen. And in bringing new, more sustainable options to the table it’s been possible for Cantec and UCC, to teach each other a more sustainable way of operating.
“Every day is a learning day,” says Greg. “But the biggest influence on me has been the Energy & Utilities Manager at UCC. I was semi-environmentally conscious until I met him, and he’s basically changed my life as a businessperson. He’s so prepared to come up with practical solutions and talk to people who are on the journey. People just like me.”
We do more than Managed Print Services
As part of the Cantec Group, Docutec are the leading printer suppliers Ireland has that sell products such as business printers, A3 multifunction printers, office photocopier printers, large format printers, office printers, document scanners and high volume printers. Some of our other services include document management systems, printer lease, secure print and office automation tools. Docutec has the goal to help businesses with document workflow automation.