For More Efficient Documents Don't Forget to Sweat the Small Stuff

With document production consuming 3% of revenue and office machines consuming 15% of energy, what seems like a minor aspect of business operations can play havoc with both budgets and environmental targets. The good news is that with a little attention to detail, both cost and carbon emissions can be drastically reduced. Read on for tips that can improve energy efficiency, reduce waste of resources and cut costs – all without any reduction in productivity.

Efficiency begins at home

The high profile energy-hungry systems such as datacentres have already come under scrutiny, and a range of options presented ranging from virtualisation to offshoring, but some of the easy wins could be much closer to home. Gartner estimates that on average organisations spend 3% of their revenue on document production, and The Carbon Trust calculates that 15% of commercial energy is consumed by business machines. So it logically follows that optimising an organisation’s printing and copying fleet can help reduce both energy costs and carbon emissions. Yet many organisations pay little attention to the potential gains to be made here when considering their sustainability strategy. For most organisations, consideration of the environmental impact of printing is confined to email footers asking staff to consider whether printing is really necessary, and the liberal distribution of recycling bins around the office. The more enlightened install devices capable of printing double-sided, and use this as the default setting. It may be argued that this is better than nothing, but research indicates that the effectiveness of such steps is limited, and could even be counter-productive. Recent research by KYOCERA Document Solutions discovered a significant backlash against “print green” messages, with 58% of people responding negatively to such entreaties, branding them “ineffective” at best, and “pointless and patronising” at worst.

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