This week we have read about wildfires in Brazil, single use plastics and the ecological impact of doing nothing. As our children head back to their schools, these millennials are fully aware of the need to reduce, re-use and re-cycle.
But are we the managers & business owners doing enough to work towards a paperless office?
Cost to the environment: As you read the next paragraph, a forest area the size of 20 GAA pitches will be lost for paper production use alone. In the last year, logging in the South-eastern U.S. resulted in a loss of land about the size of New Jersey (5 million acres). In fact, the area of natural pine forest there, has declined in size from 72 million acres in 1953 to 33 million acres in 1999. This is where most of the trees used to make paper come from (an astonishing 26% of the world’s supply, to be exact) and it’s clearly in critical danger. As if this doesn’t sound doomsday-ish enough, global production in the paper sector is expected to increase by 77% between 1995 and 2020.
Costs to your company: Besides the consequences that paper has on the environment, it also has a significant impact on companies’ finances. Some studies show that an average worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year and others estimate that the average office worker uses a sheet of paper every 12 minutes. While the paper itself may not be expensive, other costs – like printing, signing, copying, archiving and finding the right dossier – are. And they don’t only cost money, they are time-consuming too.
It is estimated that a company with a 100 employees spends from €10.000 up to €25.000 each year only for its internal consumption of paper and the maintenance of equipment.
In total the unnecessary impressions (forgotten, thrown away, lost) would represent a cost of 300 million euro according to an estimate made by the National Union of Image and Information Media.
Solutions: So what can be done?
• Use business analytics software like Veri : Integrate software that automates manual reporting and QA analysis, and electronically distributes reports over the web or on mobile devices. One mid-size company estimates that it saved enough paper to cover 5,519 GAA pitches on a yearly basis simply by moving manual-based financial and operational reporting processes to a business intelligence system.
• Re-align business processes: Automate and streamline business processes among people and systems, reducing paper consumption by eliminating unnecessary papers trails and content storage costs.
• Move business tasks to an electronic format: Encourage non-technical employees to try electronic forms and survey software that does not require an IT department’s resources. Traditionally, compiling forms and surveys required several technical workers weeks, not minutes, at a significant cost in an IT department’s time and salaries.
Despite all the efforts that can and should be made, companies will always end up using paper up to some degree. In this case, the best way to proceed is to make sure these papers end up their life cycle in the most sustainable way. This means making paper’s life cycle circular and recycling it. Therefore, it’s important that the offices are equipped with sorting bins and that the staff is taught on what can or cannot be recycled.
If you are in a training or programme management role why not find out more on how you can contribute to a greener planet and your company’s Corporate Social Responsibility – Contact Veri