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How to make your Customer Green Report Automated and Actionable

5 Aug, 2014 By: Jordan Darragh

Over the last decade Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has grown from a ‘good idea’ into a requirement, especially in large enterprise.  Internally, companies are responding to public pressure, employee and investor demand, and data which represents an overall decline in the health of the global environment.  Externally, companies are competing for CSR leadership positions in their respective industries.  In response to these demands, emphasis on a well-managed CSR strategy has emerged and incorporates many variables with primary focus on people, the environment and all that impacts the overall health of both.  Printing is part of this equation and therefore often part of a customer’s CSR strategy, specifically:  customers are interested in printing less.  This means greater cost savings while, in a CSR context, a lower impact on the environment.

Embrace Automation

As CSR has evolved, the challenge of managing and reporting results with clarity, integrity, and transparency has compounded in growth.  The task of reporting with transparency and integrity can often mean requesting and sorting through a mountain of data leading CSR managers to seek out tools and resources to support these efforts.  As a result, a number of new software products have been introduced to the market; many of them focused on capturing and automating energy and transportation data into centralized portals to better calculate a company’s overall carbon footprint and environmental impact.  This still leaves a gap of data to capture within the larger CSR reporting effort – including print - which is largely considered a negative environmental practice since it consumes trees (paper), significant power (indirectly emitting carbon), and requires oil (for plastic and toner cartridge manufacturing).  Obviously, positive efforts have been made to ‘reduce’ a customer’s impact through lean manufacturing, recycled materials, paper recycling, and the use of remanufactured toner products when possible.  Yet, the net result and impact of printing remains as a negative deficit to the environment so customers remain focused on first reducing what is possible. 

Take Action

The focus on printing less, or reduction, has led to the emergence of ‘green reports’ often embedded in managed print services monitoring applications that may report paper consumed, trees saved, energy consumed, and carbon emissions saved.  This is a positive step toward raising awareness for customers by establishing firm baselines for performance measurement.  On the path toward reduction, the challenge remains:  what can customers do about their shrinking, yet remaining negative deficit to the environment?  What action can they take to neutralize their impact, if not achieve a net positive position?  Therein lies opportunity to shift the paradigm and evolve the current model.  In other words, to evolve and improve CSR, we need to make it simple and easy for customers to make the ‘green report’ actionable. 

This process has already evolved in carbon measurement with primary focus on energy consumption connected to automated methods to reduce and offset the negative impact of greenhouse gas emissions.  It’s continually evolving as more efficient and renewable generation sources such as solar and wind commercially develop and scale while, in parallel, customers aim to reduce.  The same trend is beginning to emerge in the realm of print. 

Many software products that measure and baseline paper/print consumption at the account and user level have gained significant traction in the marketplace.  As with renewable generation development, sustainable sourcing is emerging as well.  Recycled content is not only found in paper, but also in the content of raw materials used for manufacturing print devices.  Toner manufactured from purely natural biomaterial in place of oil and chemicals is blossoming.  Meanwhile, sustainable certification programs and standards such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) are expanding in awareness and adoption in paper sourcing, i.e., certification that paper comes from sustainably managed forests.  Yet there remains significant work to be done because only about 10 percent of the world’s forests are currently certified by an existing standard and deforestation continues to trend upward on a global scale.  To bridge this gap, the PrintReleaf system was introduced as an offering to MPS providers and their customers earlier this year to meet demand and interest from customers that want to implement printing practices which reduce their consumption yet, along the path toward a smaller footprint, also offset their impact.  PrintReleaf accomplishes this by accelerating reforestation and – at a minimum - neutralizing deforestation since every sheet of paper they track is certifiably reforested.  To simplify and streamline adoption, PrintReleaf has made it easy to track paper consumption by integrating with most of the leading MPS software monitoring applications in the industry.  The service creates a turn-key and automated sustainability solution for MPS providers to implement with their customers and help them meet their CSR goals.  The entire service provides automatic reforestation of all customer paper consumption, transparent reporting, and long term verification to uphold the integrity of the offering and the value proposition.  Never has it been this easy for customers to not only measure CSR, but also take action to offset and or neutralize their negative impact. 

Leading providers in the MPS space have recognized the value for their business, moreover their customers, and have been first to adopt and market the service.  In just over two months, PrintReleaf has authorized 24 Channel Partners.  These early adopters also realize the opportunity to meet their customer’s growing demand and interest for CSR.  In turn, they are creating competitive separation and improving their success in MPS through increased sales and revenue by making their customer’s CSR green report automated and actionable.

Jordan Darragh is the founder and CEO of PrintReleaf, provider of The PrintReleaf Exchange [PRX], a cloud-based program that converts paper consumption into trees. Reach him at jdarragh@printreleaf.com or 303-419-4463.

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