Covid-19, an opportunity to build a sustainable global economy through a green recovery

Posted by Celine Coleman, Marketing Director, Clover Imaging Group EMEA on Jun 16, 2020 10:30:47 AM
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2020- the year everything changed as we knew it.  The Covid-19 pandemic has taken an appalling toll on humanity, forever changing the lives of those caught within its menacing grasp. As the days spent in our homes became indistinguishable, outside huge shifts in human consciousness were taking place. The dexterity of humans to change their social behaviour became apparent. On news networks every day we saw pictures of deserted city centres around the world, images that would have been inconceivable just a few months ago.  The after-effects of the pandemic on human life was catastrophic, the economic effects staggering.  Our natural environment thrived.

Is Waste Winning Over Nature?

Every person within the EU generates 5 tonnes of waste annually.  Almost 46% of that waste is landfilled and just 37.8% is recycled. By 2050, the world will be consuming as if there were three planets instead of one. This generation of excess waste cannot be dealt with in a sustainable way. Waste that is not biodegradable and cannot be properly recycled is filling our oceans and landfills.
The detrimental effect of plastic to our environment has been well documented. In 2018 the global production of plastic was 360 million tonnes (based on: Plastics – the Facts 2019, Plastics Europe).  Of that total figure, China was responsible for 30% of the worlds overall production  – 108 million tonnes of plastic (based on: Plastics – the Facts 2019, Plastics Europe).

EU Environmental Action Plan Set in Place

Recycling, reuse, recovery of materials, and the circular economy in general will play a prominent role on the EU post-pandemic stage – legislatively and politically. The need for change has been recognised by the entire European Union and recently this has been translated into a new Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) presented to EU legislators 11th March 2020. One of the main objectives of CEAP is to promote longer product lifetimes through reuse and repair as well as the upgrading of components and software to avoid premature end of life.  The remanufacturing of printer supplies fully supports this measure – Clover remanufactured toner cartridges for example use 79% less materials compared to the OEM.

Trust and support are key – your local green plan

Globalisation unarguably has many benefits but also some drawbacks, many of which have been highlighted as a result of Covid-19.  The global economy has seen a profound pace of change in the past decade.  In 2003 China accounted for 4% of the worlds output, today that figure is 16%.  Why is that important?  It means that what happens in China in terms of its wealth and health has a direct and profound impact on the rest of the world.  We saw how supply chains were interrupted due to an over dependence on China and the effect that had worldwide on accessing critical products.  In the printer supplies industry, we see everyday the dominance of Chinese newbuild toner cartridges in the EMEA market and the inequality that brings to a competitive landscape and the legal risks they represent to both the seller and buyer, not to mention the environmental disaster they create.   

Can we dare to imagine that Covid-19 will encourage us to create a new, more equitable normal?  A normality that incorporates sustainability into our daily and corporate lives, that creates smarter, stronger and more diverse supply chains, that generates a transformative behavioural change that makes us value ourselves and our society more? Let’s dare to hope!

Author: Celine Coleman, Marketing Director, Clover Imaging Group

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