During 2017, the UK broke 13 renewable energy records in what was described as the country’s ‘greenest’ year ever. And then in April 2018, Britain went three days without using coal to generate electricity – the longest streak since the 1880’s.
The UK’s desire to turn green is a result of the Government’s increasing stance to phase out using fossil fuels to create power by 2025, as well as UK citizens becoming more environmentally aware.
People are now recycling more, are driving more fuel-efficient vehicles and are installing smart technologies into their homes in order to make them use energy more efficiently.
However, people aren’t just becoming more socially responsible in their personal lives – they are now placing pressure on their employers to act more responsibly and to decrease the amount of waste that is generated.
Paper waste, in particular, is one area that companies are being encouraged to reduce, as it accounts for 50% of all waste produced from businesses.
Lowering how much paper is used in the workplace does makes business sense. Our ‘Death of the paper trail’ report highlighted that over-using paper is creating a costly bill for companies. In fact, we found that two-thirds of businesses are wasting up to £2,000 per employee each year. Putting this into context, if a company has 100 employees or more, then they could be looking at a yearly paper bill of around £200,000.
But aside from just saving money, businesses also need to be thinking about saving the environment. Each year, seven million hectares of forest are lost – almost two times the size of Switzerland – to the production of commodities such as paper. And, due to the intense manufacturing process, paper mills require a lot of electricity to run, with many factories often having their own coal-fired power plants on site that are spewing pollutants into the air. This has played a role in seeing global temperatures rise by almost a degree since the mid-20th century.
Ultimately, this highlights that the planet is paying the biggest price for the manufacturing and use of paper, and the onus is on businesses to reduce their dependency and become more sustainable.
With today’s employees wanting employers to modernise their working practices, the answer could lie in technology. Almost half (44%) of workers want to see cloud computing solutions adopted, which would prevent the need for paper documents to be printed off and stored. 32% also want to see further investment in mobile devices that will enable them to capture and access data remotely.
Thankfully, there are solutions available now that can improve a business’ efficiencies, decrease overhead costs and reduce the amount of waste they produce.
Our WorkMobile solution, for example, makes paper completely redundant, as it converts paper documents into digital versions. Importantly, these can then be stored in the cloud, alleviating the need for employees to print off and store paper documents. And, the digital versions can be accessed anywhere and at any time, allowing workers to operate remotely.
We only have one planet and it is important that we take care of it. But, with rising emission levels and forests continually being cut down, more needs to be done to safeguard the Earth’s future. Businesses have a key role to play in protecting the environment, and this needs to begin with reducing the amount of paper they rely on. Adopting data capture and cloud-based technologies is just one easy way to ditch paper for good.