The idea of “going paperless” has become incredibly popular over the past several years. If your company can eliminate all forms of paper use and waste, turning instead to all-digital forms of communication and recordkeeping, it can dramatically reduce its environmental impact (and save money on all those paper supplies).
But does your business really have to go paperless if it wants to be considered a “green” company?
Problems With Going Paperless
Unfortunately, there are a few problems with going truly paperless in a business:
· Types of paper use
When you think about submitting your purchase orders or invoices digitally instead of via paper, going paperless doesn’t seem difficult—but you have to remember all the incidental uses of paper you have throughout the office. Think about your notepads, your toilet paper, your paper towels, and even the paper cups your employees might bring from coffee shops.
· Advantages of paper
You should also consider the inherent advantages that paper can have, if implemented properly. Printed brochures, for example, are still a highly inexpensive marketing and advertising strategy.
· Other business interactions
If you deal with other businesses that aren’t paperless, you may encounter difficulties maintaining a relationship with them. For example, if a business insists that you invoice via paper, it could force you to compromise your values or abandon the partnership.
Accordingly, most businesses will find it hard, if not impossible to go completely paperless.
Importance of Baby Steps
Instead of abandoning paper altogether, you can find ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle in your office; cut out the wasteful uses of paper in your office, try to use your paper as efficiently as possible, and recycle whatever paper you can.
Even the smallest baby step can be powerful:
· Improvement over nothing
Anything is better than nothing. A company that reduces its paper consumption by just 10 percent is making a positive difference, and that difference needs to be acknowledged both internally and externally.
· Impact growth over time
Even small changes can have a big impact if applied over time. For example, if you use 10 percent less energy than usual, your impact over the course of a year will be small, but over the course of 30 years, you’ll have saved a total of 3 years’ worth of energy. Companies that intend to remain in operation indefinitely should know that even the smallest environmental improvements they make can add up to become substantial over the course of years and decades.
· Impact growth over scale
It’s also worth noting how powerful these baby steps can be if all or most companies decide to adopt them. One company cutting back on its paper use by 10 percent won’t save much paper over the course of a year, but if every company in the country cuts back their paper use by 10 percent, it could have a monumental impact on our total paper consumption. Accordingly, it’s better to have lots of companies taking small steps than it is to have a handful of companies taking drastic steps.
· Establishing a core mentality
Instituting new policies or making your employees aware of your company’s environmental impact helps to develop a core mentality that favors environmental friendliness. That philosophy can bleed into your employees’ personal lives, and make a greater impact when applied.
· Making way for bigger changes
Starting with a small change also gives you a platform on which you can build toward bigger, bolder changes. For example, after cutting your paper use by 10 percent, you may discover new, easier ways to cut an additional 10 percent the following year.
The “baby step” mentality can and should be applied to any green business strategy, whether it’s cutting back on paper use, converting to high-efficiency appliances, or eliminating pollution. If we treat environmental friendliness as an all-or-nothing endeavor, it’s going to exclude the businesses that want to make an impact, but may not have the time or resources to be a perfect example of “greenness.” It’s far better if we encourage any and all actions a company takes as steps in the right direction.
Article Submitted By Community Writer