Peter Silcock, market development manager, Epson UK, highlights that IT decision makers do want greener workplaces but costs remain the overriding motivation for implementing change

Determining the reality behind small business’ decisions to invest in green technologies is something that we at Epson are committed to understanding. We wanted to uncover the attitudes and motivations of those making decisions about IT and technology and determine what their desires and key drivers were for environmental change. To do this, we surveyed 1,000 IT decision makers from small businesses across a variety of industry sectors in the UK - including those in manufacturing, financial services, retail and hospitality.

Our research shows that the intention to be more environmentally friendly exists - 84 per cent said they would like their business to be greener; however limitations such as cost, stated by over half the respondents (54 per cent), and lack of understanding, stated by a third (30 per cent), has held small businesses back from making the move to become greener.

What’s holding us back?

Despite government and business commitments to environmental initiatives increasing in recent times, there has been understandable concern that today’s tough climate could make the environment a casualty of the economic downturn.

Although the desire to become greener exists, when faced with the reality, other factors come into play. Over half (52 per cent) of those we surveyed admitted that cost implications have held them back from making green decisions for their businesses in the past, although lack of knowledge comes a close second with almost a third (30 per cent) admitting that they had put off investing in green because they were not sure how to become greener. Surprisingly, 27 per cent of respondents said that making ‘green decisions’ had not entered the business decision-making process in the past and almost a quarter (24 per cent) said that they had ‘not got round to it’ indicating that the environment isn’t at the top of many decision makers priority lists.

When it comes to implementing new technology, cost is still clearly the main motivator within small businesses, with 70 percent saying this was their main decision making factor. However, almost a quarter (24 per cent) said the environment was their main motivator - a unexpectedly high percentage given the current climate.

During the recession, roll-out of greener products inevitably slowed as the replacement of older products was deferred to try and reduce outgoings. However, small businesses are now realising the importance of improving their green credentials — to help save the environment, reduce their outgoings and improve their corporate image. An initial outlay on greener products, such as printers and projectors, will prove more cost-effective in the long run as they offer money and energy saving features that older products simply do not have.

Top tips from Epson on how small businesses can go greener include:

• Set printers to duplex — Epson’s Stylus Office BX625FWD and new AcuLaser M2300D series both include automatic double-sided printing as standard

• Look for printers with an environmental accreditation such as the Energy Saving Trust approved logo or ENERGY STAR qualification.

• Turn projectors off at the end of the day, rather than keeping them on standby — Epson offers businesses the option of using its Easy-MP Monitoring Software, an energy efficient projector monitoring software designed to be environmentally friendly as well as cost efficient. This system allows remote monitoring and control, so projectors can be programmed to switch off each evening, helping to reduce running costs

Epson is a global imaging and innovation leader dedicated to exceeding the vision of customers worldwide with quality, functional and energy efficient products. With a product line up ranging from printers and 3LCD projectors for business and the home, to electronic and crystal devices, Epson offers the perfect imaging solution - www.epson.co.uk

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