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Kris Alvarez

The Industry’s Shift Toward a Regulatory Evolution

How Ecolabels and New Policies are Reshaping the Market

Apr 7, 2024 8:00:00 PM



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As Earth Day approaches, our collective focus shifts towards our environmental footprint and the steps we can take to mitigate it. For the digital imaging industry—especially in the consumables sector—a significant transformation is underway that is driven by regulatory evolution and the rising tide of ecolabels. At Keypoint Intelligence, we’re navigating these changes with an eye on sustainability and market dynamics, committed to encouraging and supporting the industry’s journey toward greater environmental stewardship.


Source: Alena Koval



A Blueprint for Sustainability

The European Commission’s (EC) unveiling of the “Imaging Equipment and its Consumables Preparatory Study for Ecodesign” marked a watershed moment for the European digital imaging market. This report, born from extensive industry consultation, stresses the need for mandatory regulatory measures to elevate the industry’s role in facilitating sustainability. It delves into consumable pricing strategies, consumer behavior regarding device replacement, cartridge efficiency, as well as the broader environmental and economic implications of manufacturing practices. 


Ecolabels: The Stars in the Regulatory Night Sky

With the EC preparatory study casting off the port of sustainability, ecolabels are helping steer the ship for the industry. But these labels are not without faults. Ambiguities in certification criteria necessitate that ecolabels evolve alongside regional legislation to prevent unethical products from exploiting loopholes.


The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) stands out in this regard. Managed by the Global Electronics Council (GEC), EPEAT is at the forefront of revamping sustainability standards for electronic products with an extensive criteria update and implementation plan poised for release in 2025. This multi-year project focuses on four key sustainability impact areas: Climate change; circularity and sustainable use of resources; chemicals of concern; as well as corporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. These and other regulatory changes aim to mitigate greenwashing claims, establishing a more transparent and verifiable framework for sustainability claims going forward. EPEAT’s forthcoming criteria update are the stars helping to guide stakeholders through the murky waters of environmental compliance, and other ecolabels may well follow suit soon.


Keypoint Intelligence Opinion

We recognize that this regulatory sea of change is a challenge and an opportunity. Our comprehensive analysis—which spans the office market, supplies, and services—has consistently highlighted the importance of adopting responsible business practices. In fact, our upcoming Responsible Business Impacts study underscores how the increasing emphasis on sustainability and responsible business practices is shaping the criteria for procuring office equipment and supplies. This shift is not just a ripple but a wave, reshaping the landscape of not only corporate policies, but also consumer preferences.


The global scope of ecolabels, with their varying standards and criteria across regions, mirrors the broader efforts by governments and advocacy organizations to reduce the environmental impact of our industry’s products and practices. These labels—including the EU Ecolabel, Blue Angel, and EPEAT, to name a few—are more than just badges of honor or hurdles for stakeholders to overcome; they represent a forward-looking commitment to environmental initiatives, from the promotion of recycled content paper to improved indoor air quality standards and the support for remanufactured cartridges. With innovation, transparency, and a steadfast commitment to the regulation rapidly gaining traction, we can ensure that the digital imaging industry not only survive, but thrive in this new regulatory landscape.


Browse through our Industry Reports Page (latest reports only). Log in to the InfoCenter to view research on industry regulation, the impact of ecolabels, or environmental initiatives through our Workplace CompleteView Advisory Service. If you’re not a subscriber, contact us for more info by clicking here.


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