Story image

The sustainability equation

01 Apr 10



Paper is always an easy target for businesses looking to improve their green status, and the first initiative is usually a move toward a paperless office.

But despite all the attempts made in the past decade, the truly ‘paperless’ office has never materialised; it’s simply not practical or effective to remove paper from our day-to-day work. In fact, it can be detrimental; studies have shown that workers actually retain more information using paper documents rather than working from a screen.

So initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of printing need to be undertaken with intelligent insight and strategy. Let’s start by addressing the way people work.

Walk over and look at your office photocopier. Right now, there is probably a stack of uncollected documents sitting on it or dangling from the output tray. I’ll also wager that the very same documents will still be there at the end of the day. Unused documents are not only a waste of paper; they’re a waste of ink and electricity too. Consider using a multifunction device (MFD) or printer software that requires a release authorisation before printing. This way, documents are produced only when a user is at the machine to collect them, reducing the likelihood they’ll be forgotten about or unused. Most programs will automatically delete print jobs that sit in the queue after a set period of time, so there’s no need for user intervention.

That same MFD will also have a setting to allow two-sided or ‘duplex’ printing by default. Using this feature will automatically reduce your paper consumption, and it’s easy to set up across the organisation.

A third behaviour change that helps enable green printing is the use of document management software to foster better collaboration when documents are still in the electronic stage. Research has shown that 40% of documents are only used once before being thrown away. Really, there is little need to print out a document when a colleague can edit it and include comments in real time. Software solutions like this that facilitate the development of documents are often preferable, as they leave only the final version to actually be printed.

Some documents will always need to be printed, so there are also strategies to reduce the impact on the environment there too. Start by evaluating the energy consumption of the device itself. There have been tremendous advances in energy efficiency in recent years; in fact, today’s MFDs consume less than a third of the energy of those made 10 years ago. Look for devices that have achieved the international Energy Star certification for energy efficiency – they meet stringent criteria and will lower the electricity consumption used to create your documents. Document-related activities in the office account for approximately 70% of total IT power consumption, so this is a great place to get started.

Consumables should be a second focus. Using recycled paper is an easy start, but for higher-quality print jobs when the output is important, look for paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Paper from these sources is made from forests certified as being sustainably grown and harvested, and is generally more earth-friendly.

While years ago ‘green’ thinking was deemed a fad, it’s now apparent that the philosophy has taken hold in business as an important part of a company’s culture. For resellers and vendors alike, there will continue to be a growing demand for products that demonstrate consideration of and responsibility for their impact on the planet. We can all do our part; the important thing is to get started now.

InternetNZ welcomes Govt's 99.8% broadband coverage plan
The additional coverage will roll out over the next four years as part of the Rural Broadband Initiative phase two/Mobile Black Spots Fund (RBI2/MBSF) programme expansion.
Dr Ryan Ko steps down as head of Cybersecurity Researchers of Waikato
Dr Ko is off to Australia to become the University of Queensland’s UQ Cyber Security chair and director.
Radware joins Chillisoft’s expanding portfolio
The cloud DDoS prevention, app delivery controller, and web app firewall expert is another step toward a total enterprise security portfolio.
Commerce Commission report shows fibre is hot on the heels of copper
The report shows that as of 30 September 2018 there were 668,850 households and businesses connected to fibre, an increase of 45% from 2017.
Wearables market flourishing - fuelled by smartwatches
A market that has stuttered in the past now has a bright forecast as adoption of wearable technology continues to thrive.
The tech that helped the first woman to sail around Australia
Lisa Blair used devices from supplied by Pivotel to aid her in becoming the first woman to circumnavigate Australia non-stop.
Why there will be a battle for the cloud in 2019
Cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, and Google will likely find themselves in a mad scramble to gain additional enterprise customers.
WLAN market picks up thanks to high-end products
Dell’Oro Group have released a report showing that the WLAN market picked up in 2Q18 as 802.11ax saw its first shipments.