Building Circular Economy
Interview with Dr Sassan Dieter Khatib-Shahidi, CEO, German Imaging Technologies (GIT)
Q: As the world is getting more conscious and we are in the era of digitization, we would expect that paper consumption would reduce over time, but the trends are different. Does a paperless future exist?
A paperless future might be a reality, but it is not going to be an overnight transition. The first study on paperless office was published around the same time as the first commercial HP LaserJet printer was launched back in 1984. Even if an organisation decides to go paperless, digitizing the existing documents is a time-consuming process. Further, it is going to be extremely difficult for sectors such as education and health care to go completely paperless. Even in the most progressive European countries, paper consumption per capita has not moved meaningfully down, as the need remains prevalent.
It is also to be noted that using paper or printing is not the area of concern when it comes to sustainability or waste reduction but rather it is using paper responsibly. Once people understand this concept and use paper in a judicious manner it will no longer be a threat to sustainability.Dr Sassan Dieter Khatib-Shahidi, CEO, German Imaging Technologies (GIT)
Q: GIT follows a circular operational model, which is certainly unique in the Middle East. How did everything start?
Well, at inception, back in 1999 the plan was to produce re-manufactured toner cartridges for a German factory purely as an outsourcing model. Back in Germany the concept was already established. When we landed here in Dubai, we realized that no one really was aware of this circular opportunity and a product category that not only is environmentally friendly, but also can help save substantial amounts of money. The perception was that green products are always more expensive. We did not see that as an impediment, but rather as an opportunity and realigned quickly our focus and vision for GIT to become the No 1 alternative provider of document printing solutions in the Middle East and Africa, helping thousands of clients to save money and print responsibly.
Subsequently we established our trademarked brands, ECOPLAN, which stands for economical and planet, as well as Lion, which servers our partners across the region. Till date we have not deviated from our goal, 0 waste to landfill, 100% reused or recycled. This is part of our core purpose, our deepest believe system.
Q: You manufacture and supply materials locally offsetting the carbon footprint caused by transportation. You also use 100% recycled materials instead of raw materials, by repairing the old cartridges, which is also a huge positive impact on the environment. How do you compare with your competitors when it comes to prices?
Our clients who move from OEM to us, save on average a guaranteed 30% on their workspace document printing. This is in fact our Brand Guarantee to them. There are though also low quality Asian or refilled alternatives in the market, extremely low priced at times. We at GIT do not compete on prices but rather on quality and service. When a customer approaches GIT we provide them a whole package by understanding their needs and priorities. We focus on our brand promises of Quality, Complaint resolution and delivery on time.
It is also critical to understand that we are doing re-engineering of cartridges and not just refilling. So yes, we would be at a higher price compared to re-fillers in the market, but they are not our competition.
Q: How do your potential clients react to your sustainability approach? Is this a game changer in their decision-making to work with you?
Definitely yes. Don’t get us wrong, a product still has to be of superior quality and the commercial model viable delivering value to the client. The environmental aspect however, is the emotional component and the binding glue for responsible organizations. There are more and more companies in the region who promote sustainability and want to make a positive impact on the environment. All of our clients have joined hands with us for our service, environmental achievements and goals. It is no longer a corporate social responsibility for them but something they are really invested in.