Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR)

Reflections on Earth Month: Sustainability as a Business Imperative

No longer just a buzzword, sustainability is now a business imperative for long-term success.


TAGS: Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR)

Being a responsible global corporate citizen has long been one of Lexmark’s core values, and it carries even greater weight today.

Sustainability has risen to the top of major concerns for customers, employees and other stakeholders alike. Consumers are increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of the products they use and expect businesses to take responsibility for their actions. Investors also are increasing pressure on companies to incorporate, report on, and meet environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria with ever-changing regulatory requirements. It’s also showing up in recruitment – IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV) study found a growing interest in employees wanting to apply and accept jobs from environmentally sustainable companies, with 67% of the respondents reporting that they are more willing to apply for, and 68% more willing to accept positions from such companies.

While 90% of executives believe sustainability is important, only 60% of organisations have sustainability strategies. What actions can businesses take to move the needle on combatting the effects of a warming planet – all while providing business value? To start, limit the natural resources needed to make new products while finding resourceful ways to dispose of used ones. At Lexmark, our devices contribute to the circular economy ensuring that sustainability is a key focus in product development, from start to finish.

Global cross-functional teams from more than 20 business areas incorporate circular design into our products and maximise their lifecycle by offering robust take-back and remanufacturing programs. Reclaimed post-consumer plastics make up 39% of materials used in our laser devices, and our goal is to reach 50% by 2025.

However, sustainable products alone are not enough, and consumers are getting smarter at identifying so-called “greenwashing” – calling out companies who are spending more time and money on marketing themselves as “green” with no real action or data to back it up. They are also paying attention to how organisations approach sustainability within their own operations, supply chain, and transportation. Studies show that 82% of consumers prefer to support a brand that aligns with their values.

Sustainability needs to interlace into operations to match the growing requirement for ESG initiatives from consumers and other stakeholders. One of our key initiatives is to reduce our carbon footprint. Our goal is to achieve carbon neutrality across all our operations by 2035. We’ve invested in energy-efficient technologies and renewable energy sources, including a solar energy project at our headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky.

In addition to reducing our carbon footprint, we have focused on conserving water and reducing waste. For example, we have implemented water conservation measures, such as using rainwater for landscape irrigation and upgrading our cooling systems to reduce water usage – in addition to a waste reduction program to increase our recycling rates. 

For several years now, Lexmark has been consistently recognised as an industry leader in sustainability, earning state, national and global awards for our corporate social responsibility results. This recognition reflects our unwavering commitment to prioritising sustainability—in our own operations and helping our customers achieve their own sustainability goals.

Earth Month is a good reminder that we all share a responsibility to implement sustainable practices and reduce our environmental footprint.