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Clean-up Week: 5 tips to reuse, reduce, recycle

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In support of Clean-up and Recycle SA Week, Epson offers some helpful advice on ways in which to reduce a business’s carbon footprint and improve waste management.

All businesses generate waste and use a considerable amount of electricity for daily operations, with dire consequences for the environment. While eliminating your carbon footprint altogether is an impossible task, there are several simple changes that you can make at work to reduce your impact on the environment.

A recent McKinsey study shows that 43% of business executives are open to aligning sustainability with their strategic business objectives – up from 30% in 2012. Making sustainability part of a company’s core values makes it easier to implement its principles company-wide, and is a great first step towards a greener workplace.

Ahead of Clean-up and Recycle SA Week taking place from 12 to 17 September, Epson shares a few helpful tips to build more environmentally-conscious, productive and ecologically-responsible businesses.

1.       Avoid wasting paper – Encourage attendees at meetings to share a hand-out copy between two people, if it is not absolutely necessary that each person have their own. You can also invest in an interactive projector to complement printouts and turn ordinary meetings into productive, energetic and highly collaborative sessions. Many of the latest interactive projectors also have smart capabilities, allowing you to email and share information, data and notes to everyone in attendance once the meeting is done, to keep everyone on the same page.

2.       Scan rather than print – Sometimes only a printout will do, but there are times when a high-quality scan serves the purpose just as well, presenting a more cost-effective and efficient solution too. With a good, portable scanner, or even a mobile scanner app, you can easily capture and share documents wirelessly via email. With more recent models, you can also use a scanner to capture a document in very high quality, which then allows you to edit text and imagery with user-friendly software like Adobe Acrobat.

3.       Use eco-friendly office equipment and supplies – Many office supply companies are developing more environmentally-friendly and easily recyclable products for green-conscious offices – from recycled pens and pencils made from sustainably sourced materials, to manual paper shredders that eliminate the need for electricity. Epson’s innovative refillable ink tank systems printers are another useful addition to the office, allowing you to reduce the cost and constant disposal of consumables while using minimal energy and reducing the overall environmental impact of the printer.

4.       Check your printer settings – Saving the planet is as easy as reading a printer manual to proactively manage paper usage. Be sure to check that the settings on your printers, scanners, photo copiers and fax machines are programmed to return to a default single-print function after someone has used it. You can also save paper by choosing to print on both sides of the paper, invest in an inkjet printer instead of a laser printer, and by using the draft or ‘quick print’ mode where possible.

5.       Recycle and upcycle where possible – Play your part and protect the environment by ensuring all your business’s old electronics and office equipment are disposed of in the correct way. Purchase products that carry recycling labels on the packaging, or an indication that the company works with a recycling organisation. For instance, Epson has partnered with Partserve to run a recycling programme that not only salvages parts from older machines but also ensures Epson equipment is dealt with responsibly.

Taking steps to reduce your business’s carbon footprint is vital for the conservation of our environment as well as productivity in the workplace. Try these tips and help make this year’s Clean-up and Recycle Week a nationwide success.

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Now for hardware-as-a-service

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Integrated ICT and Infrastructure provider Vox has entered into an exclusive partnership with Go Rentals to introduce a Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) offering, which is aimed at providing local small and medium businesses (SMEs) with quick, affordable, and scalable access to a wide variety of IT infrastructure – as well as the management thereof.

“Despite an increasingly competitive business environment where every rand counts, many business owners are still buying technology-based equipment outright rather than renting it,” says Barry Kemp, Head of Managed IT at Vox. “The problem with this is that the modern device arena has grown in variety and complexity, making it more difficult to manage, and to reduce the overheads of controlling these devices.”

According to Kemp, there is a global trend being observed in businesses moving away from owning and managing IT infrastructure. This started with the move away from servers and toward cloud-based subscription services, and now organisations are looking to do the same with the remaining on-premise hardware – employees’ desktop systems.

The availability of HaaS changes the way in which local businesses consume IT, by allowing them to direct valuable capital expenditure toward the more efficient and competitive operation of their organisation, rather than spending on hardware products. 

“The rental costs are up to 50% lower than if they buy these products through traditional asset financing methods. Furthermore, using HaaS gives businesses the ability to scale up and down depending on their infrastructure requirements. Customers on a 12 month contract can return up to 10% of the devices rented, while those customers on 24 and 36 month contracts can return up to 20% of the devices – at any time during the contract,” adds Kemp.

More than just a rental

HaaS gives business access to repurposed Tier 1 hardware from vendors such as Dell, HP and Lenovo, equipped with the required specifications (processor, memory, and storage), and come installed with the latest Microsoft Windows operating system, unless an older version is specifically requested by the customer.

Kemp says: “Where HaaS is different from simply renting IT hardware is that businesses get full asset lifecycle management, such as having all company software pre-installed, flexible refresh cycles and upgrades, support and warranty management and transparent and predictable per user monthly fees.”

The ability to upgrade during the contract period means that businesses can keep pace with the latest in technology without needing to invest on depreciating equipment, while ensuring maximum productivity and efficiency for employees. Returned devices are put through a decommissioning process that ensures anonymity, certified data protection, and environmental compliance. 

Businesses further stand to benefit from Vox Care, which incorporates asset management and logistical services for customers. This includes initial delivery and setup in major centres, asset tagging of all rented items, creation, and the repair and/or replacement of faulty machines within three business days – again in the main metropolitan areas. 

Vox Care also assists in the design, testing and deployment of custom images, whereby HaaS clients can have the additional programmes they need (security, productivity tools, business software, etc) easily pre-installed along with the Windows operating system, on all their machines.

Kemp says HaaS customers can get further peace of mind by outsourcing the day to day management of their desktop environment to Vox Managed Services, as well as leverage the company’s knowledge and expertise to manage and host workstation backups to ensure business continuity.

Says Kemp: “Hardware-as-a-Service allows businesses to reduce the total cost of ownership of their hardware and ensure they only pay for what they use. Making the switch to a service model helps them take advantage of the global move in this direction, and to turn their business into a highly functional, flexible, low cost, change your mind whenever you want workplace.”

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Seedstars seeks tech to reverse land degradation in Africa

A new partnership is offering prizes to young entrepreneurs for coming up with innovations that tackle the loss of arable land in Africa.

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The DOEN Foundation has joined forces with Seedstars, an emerging market startup community, to launch the DOEN Land Restoration Prize, which showcases solutions to environmental, social and financial challenges that focus on land restoration activities in Africa. Stichting DOEN is a Dutch fund that supports green, socially-inclusive and creative initiatives that contribute to a better and cleaner world.

While land degradation and deforestation date back millennia, industrialization and a rising population have dramatically accelerated the process. Today we are seeing unprecedented land degradation, and the loss of arable land at 30 to 35 times the historical rate.

Currently, nearly two-thirds of Africa’s land is degraded, which hinders sustainable economic development and resilience to climate change. As a result, Africa has the largest restoration opportunity of any continent: more than 700 million hectares (1.7 billion acres) of degraded forest landscapes that can be restored. The potential benefits include improved food and water security, biodiversity protection, climate change resilience, and economic growth. Recognizing this opportunity, the African Union set an ambitious target to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.

Land restoration is an urgent response to the poor management of land. Forest and landscape restoration is the process of reversing the degradation of soils, agricultural areas, forests, and watersheds thereby regaining their ecological functionality. According to the World Resources Institute, for every $1 invested in land restoration it can yield $7-$30 in benefits, and now is the time to prove it.

The winner of the challenge will be awarded 9 months access to the Seedstars Investment Readiness Program, the hybrid program challenging traditional acceleration models by creating a unique mix to improve startup performance and get them ready to secure investment. They will also access a 10K USD grant.

“Our current economic system does not meet the growing need to improve our society ecologically and socially,” says Saskia Werther, Program Manager at the DOEN Foundation. “The problems arising from this can be tackled only if a different economic system is considered. DOEN sees opportunities to contribute to this necessary change. After all, the world is changing rapidly and the outlines of a new economy are becoming increasingly clear. This new economy is circular and regenerative. Landscape restoration is a vital part of this regenerative economy and social entrepreneurs play an important role to establish innovative business models to counter land degradation and deforestation. Through this challenge, DOEN wants to highlight the work of early-stage restoration enterprises and inspire other frontrunners to follow suit.”

Applications are open now and will be accepted until October 15th. Startups can apply here: http://seedsta.rs/doen

To enter the competition, startups should meet the following criteria:

  • Existing startups/young companies with less than 4 years of existence
  • Startups that can adapt their current solution to the land restoration space
  • The startup must have a demonstrable product or service (Minimum Viable Product, MVP)
  • The startup needs to be scalable or have the potential to reach scalability in low resource areas.
  • The startup can show clear environmental impact (either by reducing a negative impact or creating a positive one)
  • The startup can show a clear social impact
  • Technology startups, tech-enabled startups and/or businesses that can show a clear innovation component (e.g. in their business model)

Also, a specific emphasis is laid, but not limited to: Finance the restoration of degraded land for production and/or conservation purposes; big data and technology to reverse land degradation; resource efficiency optimization technologies, ecosystems impacts reduction and lower carbon emissions; water-saving soil technologies; technologies focused on improving livelihoods and communities ; planning, management and education tools for land restoration; agriculture (with a focus on precision conservation) and agroforestry; clean Energy solutions that aid in the combat of land degradation; and responsible ecotourism that aids in the support of land restoration.

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