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Eight ways to go green

Changing behavioural patterns at the office can reduce individual carbon footprints.

Read time 3min 40sec

Applying sustainable business practices is not an option any more. Simply stated, the world does not have enough resources to feed current, let alone future, demand.

Future demand needs to factor in the booming growth of India and China. Even if these markets slow down in line with the rest of the world, they will still be growing at more than twice the speed of most other markets.

There are many forces converging to ensure man will soon start running out of critical resources. Some of them include:

* The world's growing population - it stands at 6.7 billion and will reach 9 billion by 2042.
* The increasing longevity of people - in the First World, the average life expectancy has climbed to 77-83 years. The longer people live, the more they consume.
* The amazing rise of China and India - China has grown at an average annual rate of more than 8% over the last three decades, and currently runs at around 10%. It is now the second-largest economy in the world. India is growing at a similar pace, but off a lower base, and it is set to have an even bigger impact on the world. Taken together, these two countries will consume roughly 50% of everything produced in the world.
* The aspirational drive of mankind: today, everyone is seeking a better life - certainly, a better one than their parents had. As they climb up the ladder, they consume more. Consider the prospect of a billion Chinese and a billion Indians consuming natural resources at the same rate as the US has been doing.

More people, consuming more, and doing it for longer: it's a recipe for disaster. We all need to do our bit to transform the way in which we consume raw and completed materials, and in so doing reduce our impact on the world.

And we need to do this without negatively impacting our competitiveness.

More people, consuming more, and doing it for longer: it's a recipe for disaster.

Rob Abraham is MD of Bytes Document Solutions

We spend a third of our lives, or more, at the office. Changing our behaviour patterns can significantly reduce the impact we have on the world, and lessen our individual carbon footprints. Here are some logical and simple steps to take:

1 Wherever possible, print double-sided, or duplex. This is so simple to do, and it can save a company thousands of sheets of paper a month.
2 Recycle the paper used, and use recycled paper in all parts of the business. Nothing could be easier than this step, yet many people and companies still don't do it.
3 Use equipment that has earned the Energy Star label and be sure the Energy Star features are enabled.
4. Replace standalone office equipment with multifunction systems. They take less space, consume less electricity and take less raw material to manufacture.
5 Return print/copy cartridges and supplies for recycling. Literally millions of kilograms of landfill can be prevented with this step.
6 Use office equipment that was designed to be remanufactured or recycled (and do it!). And work with an office equipment supplier that is committed to re-using - and even cannibalising - existing equipment.
7. Work on customer databases to reduce the percentage of postal returns. The industry average is 12% incorrectly addressed postal items, and halving this will save money, get into the SA Post Office's good books, and prevent the printing of vast numbers of postal items.
8 Implement electronic content management end-to-end solutions to scan straight into the electronic content repository and manage all paper-based processes digitally. The benefits are profound: more efficient business, less paper flying around the business, fewer copies, and less storage space required.

Going green rapidly yields return on investment by cutting storage space, energy use, and air express/shipping costs. As such, it is not only good for the environment, it is good for business!

* Rob Abraham is MD of Bytes Document Solutions.

Rob Abraham

MD of Bytes Document Solutions

Rob Abraham is MD of Bytes Document Solutions.

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