The top ten office environmental pet peeves and why Xerox went green

16 07 2008

A Green Printer dispatch.

According to Patricia Calkins, Xerox vice-president for Environment, Health and Safety, being smarter about paper use is a win for the environment and for the bottom line, so it is no surprise businesses would zero in on improving their performance in that area.

While long an “evangelist” for greener operations, Xerox is, at its core, a global document management company, which manufactures and sells a range of color and black-and-white printers, multifunction systems, digital production printing presses, and related consulting services and supplies.

And so, the question that Jeff McIntire-Strasburg asked in April still hovers: “can a company that manufactures copy machines, and sells more paper than any other single brand, really walk the talk on sustainable business practices?”In other words, is Xerox simply pulling the (public relations) wool over our eyes?

As McIntire-Strasburg points out, the company has been the target of Greenpeace, the Rainforest Action Network and weak CSA certifications.

So, what was the “aha!” moment for a company like Xerox to integrate concern for the environment into their daily business operations?

Perhaps a survey of the top ten environmental pet peeves among over 1,569 adult U.S. and Canadian office workers by Harris Interactive re-affirmed tensions, nation wide, toward unneccessary office waste, among them:

1. Mindless printing resulting in increased waste (40%)
2. Leaving lights on (37%)
3. Lack of recycling bins (33%)
4. Excessive air conditioning in summer and heat in winter (29%)
5. Excessive use of paper products, like cups, plates, etc. (27%)
6. Coworkers not recycling (27%)
7. Coworkers not printing double-sided when they can (24%)
8. Too many cover sheets when faxing or printing (24%)
9. Having to store paper copies of existing, electronic files (24%)
10. Leaving computer on and not powering down when going home (23%)

More than likely, however, it was simple realisation that “walking the talk” is based on winning consumer loyalty as much as it is about saving and making green – as pragmatically as possible. In fact, sixty-five percent of IT pros in over 700 companies say that their main motivation for going green was to save money on energy bills (Forrester Research).

Further, in a survey by Hansa|GCR of 600 decision makers representing a wide range of U.S. companies (including Xerox, one of the sponsors) more than half (58 percent) large and mid-size companies are trying to reduce printer-related waste. In fact, three in four respondents agreed that “wasteful or unnecessary printing is a serious business issue.”

But what about investing corporate resources where their mouth is?

A recent GREEN TECHPulse ’08 survey found that:

• Nearly two thirds (64%) believed that being perceived as “green” is good for business and their image. And 52% believe that their supply chain’s environmental impact is part of their own impact.
• Nearly half (49%) said their organization has made minimizing environmental impact a formal priority and have set specific performance goals.
• The No. 1 and No. 2 investment priorities for improving the environmental profile of IT operations are greener printers/multifunction devices/office equipment and data centers/server rooms.

Which brings us to another question: in the “big picture” of social, economic and technological “trend adoption” when it comes to sustainability in business, how far close (or past) the majority adoption phase are we?

Pretty close. While Joe M. Bohlen and George M. Beal’s “Technology Adoption Lifecycle (TAL)”, best know for its visual description of “the adoption or acceptance of a new product or innovation“, it remains a sociolgical model that can help us map out where we are and who (i.e. what corporation or industry) may adopt sustainable business models and invest in green technology next.

Based on the TAL, corporate America’s early majority are passing the “hump” and speeding ahead to convince the majority adopters to think of sustainability not just as a cost of doing business but as a way of doing business.

Green Printer’s eco-calculator, with sources from the Environmental Defense Fund, helps customers like Best-Western, ReMax, Lush and Aveda go – and stay – green. Green Printer carries attractive, eco-friendly and affordable recycled paper.



One response to “The top ten office environmental pet peeves and why Xerox went green”

22 07 2008
Peter Apatto (10:50:35) :

Another great post!

This is a sustainability issue that doesn’t get anywhere as much press as it merits. It can be argued that we need to kick the paper habit as much as we need to end our addiction to oil and find renewable sources of energy.

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