Every year the UK alone consumes over 11 million tonnes of paper and card; the majority of this is through business use and a large proportion is wasted or used needlessly. In this age of digital technology the need for paper should be on the decline with many alternatives to printed media and letters.
Through the use of the internet and computers we are able to communicate instantly across the entire world. Emails and file sharing should eliminate any real need in having to send physical letters, which not only waste paper but gain a large amount of carbon footprint the further they travel.
Many well established businesses struggle to get to grips with paperless business idea and still prefer to do business communication in a traditional manner, often seeing it as more official. The idea that you must send a letter is a perception that needs to be changed; it causes a needless waste of recourses and leads to environmental damage. Many large banks such as NatWest and HSBC offer paperless banking for customers; this is a great solution for helping to reduce wastage both in business and in your personal life.
Paperless business not only extends to external communications but the internal running of the business. Every years thousands of tonnes of paper is wasted printing out documents to pass around the office which are often thrown away, this can include training slides, newsletters, etc. In most offices every member of staff will have a computer and an email account; this should mean there is no need for physical copies of many documents. Although it can feel like a large change for a business to adapt to paperless, it not only helps save the environment by saving paper, it also helps saves the business money.
Sometimes there is no choice but to use paper; maybe some clients require paper confirmations or an accountant wants physical invoices, however there are alternatives to standard paper. Recycled paper helps not only by reducing the number of trees that need to be cut down but also reduces the carbon footprint involved in the paper production. These days all manner of products are made out of recycled paper from everyday essentials such as food packaging and newspapers to offices supplies such as printer paper and business cards.
Not only is it a great idea to buy recycled paper to help reduce your business’s environmental impact, it is also a good idea to recycle any paper you actually do use. This is especially relevant in a business that receives a lot of external mail or goes through a lot of paper naturally. Recycling is a great way to give back to the environment and once the infrastructure is in place it is a free system which also helps to reduce general business waste.
The current rate that we are cutting down trees for paper and wood is not sustainable. Every year valuable natural forests are destroyed damaging ecosystems and endangering many species of animal to the edge of extinction. Although many projects are undertaken to try and create artificial logging forests these aren’t enough to cope with the massive demand we are putting on our planet. Deforestation not only damages the natural world but also puts our future at risk. Fewer trees mean less carbon dioxide being absorbed before it reaches the atmosphere which contributes to global warming.
There are many business advantages to going green aside from the savings in not using paper. The major advantage is the great public images it shows to the rest of the world. Many customers and business want to deal with ethical, environmentally friendly companies. Being eco-friendly can help boost your business and attract new markets.
Going into business doesn’t mean you can disregard the needs of the environment. A business of any size can adapt to become greener through simply not wasting paper and trying to recycle where possible. Going green shouldn’t be a chore; it can be an integral part of your business that helps to streamline your costs and communication strategies.