Putting paper reliance out with the rubbish

Planet Ark co-founders Jon Dee and Pat Cash have today launched a new not-for-profit campaign aimed at targeting paper waste in the enterprise.

Environmental lobby group Do Something has teamed up with celebrity green thumb Jamie Dury and a host of technology companies, including Adobe and Toshiba, to launch the Paper-Less Alliance.

The campaign aims to help companies become more efficient and productive by reducing their reliance on paper-based processes.

Paper-Less alliance co-founder Jon Dee says the organisation is calling on businesses to make a bigger effort in switching their customers and suppliers to electronic billing.

“We haven’t seen the massive uptake of email translate fully into people using email for everything in their day-to-day lives,” Dee said. “There is no reason why paperless policies shouldn’t be imposed in financial departments.”

“So far we’ve seen many companies adapt and start to change the way they use paper. For many companies they really have woken up to the fact that paper is a very old technology that imposes inefficiencies on business.”

According to the Alliance, each year government employees use an average of 9,300 sheets of paper and Australia as a whole uses 1.7 million tonnes of printing and writing paper.

Dee says the ultimate goal of the Paper-Less Alliance is to reduce Australia’s paper use by 20 percent within the next five years, and by doing so he believes companies around the country will save hundreds of millions of dollars in their day-to-day business operations.

“Businesses are putting a vast amount of money into the bottom line of Australia Post, when through the use of electronic documents they could be putting that money on their own bottom line instead,” Dee said.

Helping push the Paper-Less cause will be the campaign’s in-depth Web site, which carries an array of case studies from companies which have moved to the paper-less model, including the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) which boasts that doing its digital file storage is saving it $1.3 million per year.

The Alliance Web site also includes world-first free access to an Adobe Air widget, called Paper-Less Pro, which calculates the environmental impact of a person's individual paper use, and allows users to monitor and log their paper use.

“The process of turning trees into paper uses vast amounts of water and energy,” Dee said. “Paper production from ‘tree to tip’ also generates millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases.”

Dee says the Web site will steer companies towards software that generates productivity and efficiency, and that gives them an idea of the real cost of paper reliance.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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