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Solutions for Keeping it Green

13 Jul, 2011 By: Sand Sinclair, imageSource imageSource

Solutions for Keeping it Green

A decade ago, the ecological term “green” evoked reactions ranging from “a fad” to “higher costs for minimally improved products” to the more recent shift in perception (along with an awakening of social consciousness), the realization that a “green strategy” that is good for the world can also be good for your bottom line.

Let’s face it. Green is a reality today, so a “green business strategy” is no longer an option for most forward-thinking organizations; their future depends on it. Owners, managers and professionals need to stay competitive in a fast-moving “green, getting greener” world. For all businesses, including the office trade, consumers are seeking more conscientious programs and products to add or replace existing ones. This demand is growing yearly so professionals need to know how this affects their business, and what to do about it. 

Becoming proactively green has its challenges. Sometimes the cost is higher for products yet, thankfully, lower in “footprint.” The consumer “gets this” and will pay for it. And like most advances over time, costs will reduce and profits will rise. As customers continue to demand products and services that take eco-friendly offerings seriously, they will invest in them.

Organizations, manufacturers and suppliers of office equipment and supplies, technology and solutions such as those from Panasonic,
Xerox, Ricoh, and dealerships such as FlexPrint, EO Johnson, and a growing list of others, are taking sustainability and the environment seriously today.

Organizations take part in this green movement by making a commitment to their customers on how to conserve energy, product usage and supplies, and convert workflow methods to increase efficiency and performance.

Products with improved environmental performance are commonly referred to as “Green Products.”  According to a Panasonic whitepaper, products that lead the industry in environmental performance are classified as “Superior Green Products,” and those products that represent a pioneering momentum-shift in environmental performance or which represent revolutionary technologies to advance towards sustainability, are designated as “Super Green Products.”  

Green Document Management
Your company and your customers’ can take a greater stride toward a greener and more sustainable business by implementing a proactive document management solution. An electronic document management solution vs. paper-based documents allows you and your clients to engage in the green movement by significantly reducing the amount of paper waste produced by your company. EDM reduces paper waste output, while making digital information more easily accessible. It minimizes overall energy consumption, basically eliminating the need for paper hardcopies, is optimally efficient and yes, saves trees, continuing the practice of sustainability.

Greener Managed Print Services
InfoTrends, a leading worldwide market research and strategic consulting firm for the digital imaging and document solutions industry, recently conducted a study that found the use of managed print services (MPS) in the United States “will reduce the consumption of paper in the United States by $2.6 billion in 2014.”

Reduction of usage will lower production in the paper industry and drive up the cost of supplies to compensate for decreasing sales. This could mean astronomical budget allocations for office supplies and lost money for many businesses.

Managed print services can reduce supply budgets by assessing a customer’s document management solutions and identifying their printing needs, enabling them to use their budget in the areas needed most rather than in the wasting of office supplies.

According to ASI Business Solutions, MPS typically reduces the amount of paper utilized as well as the need to purchase ink cartridges.

By reducing waste, an organization creates a positive environmental impact. Just having printers capable of utilizing both sides of the paper (duplex printing) could improve your company’s carbon footprint. MPS providers typically handle monitoring and managing of customers’ print devices, which generally includes:

• Conducting regular print audits
• Providing you with reports on print resource utilization
• Updating print drivers
• Fixing print devices
• Sourcing related hardware and software

Most organizations have no idea on how much they utilize print devices or what they utilize them for, says ASI. The only data they track is paper and ink purchases. With MPS, a department’s print output can be tracked and managed. Individuals can be given print codes so managers can monitor who is printing and deal with unauthorized personal use.

Greenest Positioning
When prospecting for new customers today, it is necessary to ask questions to see if the organization has a green sustainability program or is interested in new equipment and supplies that address this initiative. Dealers should ask the following questions: Do you currently have any green initiatives or a focus on an environmental program? Do you know how much paper you’re currently using? Are you interested in reducing your paper usage? Are you interested in reducing your toner and energy consumption? And so forth.

Many organizations will answer yes to these questions. This is a lead in to perform a workflow analysis in order to spot energy and environmental wastefulness as well as cost inefficiencies, among other issues. Currently, many dealers are conducting rapid assessments using scanning software on USB drives, however, one can benefit more from performing a comprehensive assessment with a client-based print management tool.

Rapid assessment is useful for capturing instant snapshots of a print environment and this capability is valuable for opening doors. But it only scratches the surface when it comes to uncovering equipment sales opportunities. According to Print Audit, rapid assessment tools can’t track printing from local devices, or gather workflow information, making them less than ideal for this type of an assessment. Local devices are generally the most costly and inefficient to run.

There are analysis tools available, such as from Print Audit, that are designed specifically to allow office equipment dealers to perform a more detailed, time-limited silent print analysis. A comprehensive analysis tool will gather valuable workflow information to help answer questions such as: Who is printing the most? Where are they printing to? What applications are they being printed from? What size and types of jobs are they printing? Ultimately, you’ll get to the bottom of usage, wastefulness, over-consumption, the variable inefficiencies that drive up costs and lower profits, and what then you can do about it to change the status quo for the better.

Feds Keeping It Green
With all the talk of green in almost every sector imaginable, and more and more businesses are influenced to become “green offices,” the “Feds” put into place compliance and regulatory standards, along with Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, that helps save money and protects the environment through energy efficient products and practices. This is becoming more important to your customers today, and who can view device information at Energy Star’s website www.energystar.gov - so be as informed on products as they are!

Evaluate customer needs carefully to avoid overcompensating of device-types needed. Provide what’s adequate to get the job done while using less power but that is still high in efficiency. Green friendly office equipment will help save cost, time and energy to improve many businesses today - as well as our planet.

Statistics to Imprint

  • The average office employee consumes up to 10,000 sheets of paper each year.

  • AIt is estimated that one tree produces 8,333 pieces of paper.

  • An office with 100 employees spends about $6,400 on paper each year—consuming about 400 trees worth of paper!

  • It takes one 15-year-old tree to produce half a box of paper.

  • Did you know that every 5 minutes 15 million pages are printed of which contains 90% virgin tree fiber (not recycled) and this paper accounts for 30 to 40% of landfill waste?

  • Most organizations have no idea on how much they utilize print devices or what they utilize them for.


  • Every day in the U.S., we produce enough trash to equal the weight of the Empire State Building.

  • Americans throw out about 130,000 computers every day & over 100 million cell phones annually.Average temperatures will increase as much as 12 degrees

  • Fahrenheit by the end of the 21st century if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at current pace.

  • 1% of Australia’s untapped geothermal power potential could provide enough energy to last 26,000 years.

  • If you’re American, your carbon footprint is still double the per-capita average of most of the world.

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