Many businesses are unaware that, if done smartly, the way they use print and paper can contribute to their corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy.
Companies have become increasingly aware of CSR issues and maintaining ethical, social and environmental standards, as well as a need to continually improve their environmental credentials. Yet the role of print and paper in this strategy continues to be misunderstood, with many businesses believing that excessive use of paper and printing does more harm for the environment than good.
Paper, however, is one of very few sustainable products and the paper industry has a number of respected certification schemes ensuring it only comes from a sustainable forest source. Between 2007 and 2013, the potential supply of certified forest products increased by around 30%.
Print and paper is as an essential communication medium
In the multimedia world, print and paper as a communications vehicle continues to be highly effective and through its myriad of uses, from learning and creativity to commercial applications, it continues to be an essential medium of choice.
There are many myths around printing and recycling paper but it is possible for businesses to adopt a holistic approach to print management, while encouraging the workforce to recycle and monitor their own printing behaviour and encouraging the buying department to purchase printer paper from certified sources.
Paper is one of the most easily recyclable business by-products and we shouldn’t be afraid to use it, especially in an office environment where it is often necessary to print important documents. The key is to buy wisely and sustainably and have a managed print solution in place to control unnecessary printing and copying, particularly colour work.
What is a Managed Print Solution?
A managed print solution (MPS) is a software solution designed to manage the use of printers and monitor the actions of various users within an organisation to ensure it is fulfilling its print activity in the most cost-effective way. If managed correctly, it will reduce printing levels and, in turn, paper consumption.
When simple MPS procedures have been implemented, a managed print solution will demonstrate to an organisation and its employees the environmental impact of better printing practices in three ways:
• The number of trees saved that would have otherwise been destroyed in making paper.
• The amount of CO2 production avoided that would otherwise have been released during the paper production process.
• The amount of energy saved, expressed as the hours required to run a 60W incandescent light bulb.
Information such as this can form the basis of a company’s corporate social responsibility strategy and fits with a corporate drive to reduce costs – a win-win in anyone’s books.
Why should you recycle?
A myth surrounding the issue of print and paper is that electronic communication is more environmentally friendly than paper-based communication. However, electronic communication is not impact-free and the messages we see such as; ‘go green’, ‘go paperless’ and ‘save trees’ at the bottom of email footers can be misleading.
If a business needs to keep a permanent copy of emails it shouldn’t feel guilty about printing them, but instead, ensure it has a robust recycling strategy in place when such documents are no longer needed.
Adopt a holistic approach to print management
Alongside a managed print solution, buying paper from environmentally-focused sources and recycling makes good business sense because it’s easy to set up and run, it is customer and staff friendly, it saves space, reduces clutter, is cost-effective and helps the environment.
Businesses that recycle, source sympathetically and implement a managed print solution are already one step ahead and can be confident that they are acting in a socially responsible way while improving the bottom line.
To find out more about how a managed print solution can impact on your CSR strategy then contact us for more information.
UNECE, 2015. Forests in the ECE Region
Two Sides www.twosides.info
Two sides and Toluna, 2015