Prusa Research has issued its first ever sustainability report.
The report, which actually covers the “ESG” topics of environment, social and governance, is the first for the company, and indeed one of the very few in the industry.
What is covered? Prusa Research listed the factors under consideration:
- Environment: Climate change, Pollution mitigation, Water sources, Circular economy, Biodiversity and ecosystems
- Social: Company employees, Workers in the value chain, Communities, Consumers and end users
- Governance: Governance of the company, Risk management, Ethical behavior
ESG reports are an emerging thing for corporations, as they provide a means for the company to demonstrate their focus on ESG aspects and at the same time be transparent. They are challenging to produce, which is why few companies have done so. Stratasys even hired a dedicated person to lead that company’s efforts, and it seems that Prusa Research has done the same, with Vladimír Víšek looking after sustainability at the company.
In the report, CEO Josef Prusa writes:
“By the end of summer 2021, I finally decided that we want to clearly focus on sustainability, throughout the whole company. Why? First and foremost, we have always enjoyed doing things with a positive spin and we care about the environment in which we make business.”
I’m very impressed that Prusa Research has managed to produce this report, and hope that it inspires other companies in the industry to prepare their own ESG reports. However, due to the expense and effort required, it is unlikely all will do so.
The pursuit of ESG nirvana is never-ending; there is always more to do. Because of this, every ESG report shows both success and challenges yet to accomplish, and that’s true in the Prusa Research 2021/2022 Sustainability Report.
There’s much to read in the 66-page report, which details all ESG-related activities undertaken by the company, and I encourage you to go through it all.
One key section is the calculation of the company’s CO2 footprint, a required factor for ESG reporting. While they report 14.42t of direct emissions, plus indirect emissions, the real story will unfold over time as this number is monitored annually. Hopefully, the company will be able to gradually reduce their CO2 contributions.
One of the topics most frequently encountered by the company in their work with stakeholders is recyclability. Every 3D printer operator produces huge amounts of plastic waste because part development tends to be iterative. Prusa Research seems to be spending considerable effort to develop a series of solutions for this growing issue. These include recycling programs, partner programs, increased use of recycled material and even an experimental robotic solution to extrude plastic waste into useful items.
The company is aggressively pursuing a variety of initiatives to increase sustainable practices within their products. These include a redesign of the spools used on their Prusament products, as well as re-thinking their packaging approaches. For example, they now mostly use paper tape instead of plastic tape, which is a more recyclable approach.
There’s a stunning number of initiatives listed in the comprehensive report, and it’s worth a read to go through it all and see how serious Prusa Research is about ESG.
They’ve now set a benchmark that other 3D print companies could aspire to meet, and I hope at least some start their own sustainability initiatives.