Tag Archives: Paper Less

Print, digital media and the environment. Dispelling the myths of print and paper.

Can we have the paperless office?

What’s wrong with print and paper?

I was challenged recently by a customer who suggested that sending information electronically rather than using printed media is more socially responsible and better for the environment.

When I quizzed him on his understanding of how paper is produced, it’s overall contribution to our lives in general and that trying to eliminate paper entirely from an organisation whilst might be considered eco-friendly to the outside world is actually misleading and detrimental to the paper manufacturing and print industry.

There are many myths and misconceptions that print, paper, direct mail, newspapers and just about any other paper based product is having a knock on affect on the environment.

Ask yourself this question –

When was the last time you read a sales email from start to finish before you then hit the delete button?

How many unsolicited emails do you get VS direct mail pieces?

How do you react to receiving a highly personalised direct mail piece, so well targeted you’d almost think it’s been produced especially for you as opposed to an unpersonalised unsolicited email?

Paper and electronic/digital can co-exist in our world and can synchronise very well indeed, thank you! The paper less office has been talked about since I entered the print industry, over twenty years now.

Customers think they want a fully integrated electronic solution that communicates with the customer by eliminating the need for sending anything that is paper.


Because there is the long held belief that electronic communication is more environmentally friendly than print and paper and will save an organisation time and money.

Go paperless, don’t print this email, go green are common strap lines we’ve become accustomed to with organisations, corporations and utility companies perpetuating the myth that by communicating electronically they are saving money and helping the environment.

But organisations who relentlessly support a paperless project or goal do so without understanding all the facts and in my experience without really understanding why they are doing it.

There is no consultation with their customer, no preferences are provided, in other words they ‘tell’ the customer they are phasing out or removing paper bills and migrating to electronic methods of communication without asking the permission of their customer or at least asking them to opt in to the idea, which is better for them – paper or electronic.

  1. Electronic waste is now the fastest growing component of the municipal waste stream
  2. The amount of electronic products discarded globally is 20-50 million tonnes every year
  3. Across Europe, e-waste is increasing at 3-5% per annum, three times faster than the waste stream (Source: Greenpeace – The e-waste problem, 2013)

Print and paper is wood based, a natural and renewable resource with over 70% of print and paper being recycled in europe for reuse.

print, paper and electronci

Paper is a natural and renewable resource. Over 70% of print and paper is recycled in Europe for reuse. It is NOT a wasteful product.

Newspapers, magazines, leaflets, even car show rooms insist they no longer have a hard copy brochure available and are using cost and the environment as the perfect excuse. These messages brand paper as an unsustainable commodity and unnecessary in the every day scheme of things.

Fact – Paper is made from renewable resources, recyclable and produced by and environmentally conscious industry whose future is dependent on planting more trees than it consumes.

Fact – Forestry, paper and packaging are among the most sustainable industries in existence

Fact – Paper is based on wood, as young trees grow they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Paper as a wood product continues to store carbon through its lifetime. A well managed forest, used and re-planted, absorbs more carbon dioxide than a mature forest consisting of older trees.

Fact – The paper industry has certification schemes ensuring the paper you use has come from a sustainable forest source. There are 30 schemes in place, the two most prominent and audit-able certifications are the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) which provides a global standard for forest management including environmental, social and economic well being of the forest communities and ecosystems. The PEFC (Programme for the endorsement of forest certification) is a certified tracking mechanism designed to ensure that from forest to final product the wood and wood fibre can be traced back to certified forests.

Fact – Paper production is not a cause of deforestation world wide

Fact – European forests are 30% larger than in 1950

Fact – The annual increase of forest cover in Europe is equivalent to 1.5 million football pitches

Fact – The european recycling rates for paper reached 72% in 2012, the highest ever recorded

Fact – Between 1990 – 2010, 870 million tonnes of CO2 have been removed by european forests equivalent to 10% of the greenhouse gas emissions (source: MCPFE, state of europe’s forests 2011)

Fact – 90% of deforestation is caused by unsustainable agricultural practices


There you have it a quick synopsis of why paper should not be discounted when considering a move to electronic methods of communication with your customer.

Moreover it is fool hardy to brush aside paper as if it’s no longer an essential commodity?

Picture the paperless toilet!

paperless toilet

Mum where’s the loo paper gone?

Paper and electronic means of communicating can co-habit but rather than asking which is better, paper or electronic, users need to be re-educated into thinking what mode of communication best serves the customers interests and how can the two work together to deliver the right result?

As for my customer, he scratched his head and said “perhaps we need to think through our so called paper reduction strategy some more?”.

What do you think? Has paper had it’s day?

Are you still using paper in your offices?

Do you operate a paperless office but realistically still have paper on your desk?

Please do share your thoughts with us.

If you have achieved your ideal of going paperless or paper is still a very important part of your business let us know and we will write you up as a case study.

If you want more information about dispelling the myths of paper and print head over to www.twosides.info


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E-Billing. A 10 point checklist to help you implement e-billing in your organisation!

This is the third article in our series that discusses how to reduce the paper flow through your office and speed up the Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable function!

With escalating postage and mailing costs any company that sends out bulk mail such as customer letters, invoices and statements requires the flexibility to adopt a combination of either electronic and paper or solely electronic mailings.

How do you implement e-billing?

Firstly it helps to understand what the definition of e-billing is.

e-billing, e-invoicing. Which is it?

e-billing, e-invoicing. Which is it?

E-billing is often referred  to as e-invoicing and customers often say “we are sending out invoices” so what is the difference?

The use of the two terms depends on your perspective as a buyer or a seller.

If you are buying in services managing incoming invoices within the accounts payable department the electronic invoicing process is part of the order to pay process and is e-invoicing.

E-invoicing is a buyer centric model where the buyer actively encourages its suppliers to send them electronic invoices.

If you are selling services and you are sending bills out to your customers via the accounts receivable department the electronic invoicing process is part of the order to cash process and is called e-billing.

E-billing is a supplier centric model where the supplier encourages its customers to receive electronic invoices instead of paper based ones and is less complex to implement than e-invoicing.

In both cases, invoices are processed but the difference is that those invoices that are inbound are referred to as e-invoices and those invoices that are outbound are e-bills. In each case invoices are processed but whether you are a seller or buyer determines whether the process is B2B e-invoicing or B2B e-billing.

Many companies and organisations alike will operate a combination of both the above processes but the functions may not be electronic or automated and likely to be manually intensive.

How do I get my customers to accept e-billing?

How do you adopt paperless billing?

How do you adopt paperless billing?

One of the first challenges presented by the customer is: ” it just won’t work our customers like paper too much!” to which my response “have you asked them?

If you want to achieve significant customer adoption then you don’t ask you have a strategic, planned, well thought out campaign to turn off paper and get your customers accepting e-bills.

For more information call us now

Here are 10 top tips to achieving ebilling uptake!

  1. Have a clearly defined idea and strategy as to how you intend to implement e-billing
  2. Do not think that by having a customer portal on your website where customers login and download their bill will drive your customers in droves to click and register so they can collect their bill. It wont work! Its a bit like asking your customers to drive to your reception and collect their invoices. In reality, they’ll do nothing because a customer portal requires registration, password and a download
  3. Think PDF, not a PDF attachment to an email but a PDF that is emailed to your customer, think engaging, personalised and interactive information that incorporates facts, figures andpersonalised marketing messages, are secure and has embedded data which can be extracted out of the PDF
  4. Have a clear strategy for collecting email addresses
  5. Use your website to drive paperless billing and to advise customers how easy it will be for them to switch off paper
  6. Use messages on all your printed invoices, statements, remittances and envelopes to turn off paper
  7. Have a sign up process on your website, on your paper invoices and statements
  8. Use an email pre-registration campaign for opt in and opt out to encourage the take up of paperless bills
  9. Use any marketing collateral sent out to advise customers you are moving to paperless billing to drive the message home
  10. Use the process to demonstrate your company’s on-going commitment to being green
When all is said and done you can’t hold a gun to your customers head and make them adopt e-bills there will always be customers that, for whatever reason want/need a paper bill or, who simply don’t want to change.
You can educate them as to how the process can streamline the billing process to ensure they see also reap the benefits of going paperless.
If you want to reduce the paper flow call us for an independent and impartial chat.
Have you adopted a paperless strategy?

How successful was it?

Can e-billing work for the SME or is it the sole preserve of the bigger corporations and Utility companies?

You can find Digital Print Management on twitter, facebook, pinterest and linkedin or connect with us at google+


Can We Really Have a Paperless Office?

desk full of paper

Look at your desk and what do you see?

You’ve likely got a pile of papers waiting to be filed, responded to, to be actioned and irrespective of how organised you are and what technology you use to streamline your document flow your organisation will be managing a steady stream of paper.

Twenty years ago when I began in the print industry selling”electronic printing services” or print and mailing services, my Manager said to me ‘of course we might only have ten possibly fifteen years of using paper or a need for our services‘, in other words, paper will be dead, defunct no longer needed!

Paper less offices would be a reality.

There is a misconception that by removing paper from the office will make for a more sustainable and productive office!

There is a misconception that by removing paper from the office will make for a more sustainable and productive office!

I shuddered at the thought and I can recall that conversation well because what actually went through my mind at that given moment was ” yikes, a loo without paper, how will that work then, meaning what medium could possibly replace paper let alone toilet paper?”

I am relieved to say that paper is still being used in vast quantities daily although the volume has declined unquestionably over the last decade. Paper is used in some shape or form everyday and has a profound impact on our lives it’s a commodity I suspect that we take for granted.

I know some of you will be screaming what about the damage it’s having on the environment and the trees that are being cut down…daily; I should like to proffer the following facts:

  • 94.4% of paper comes from Europe
  • Since 1950 forests in western europe have increased by 30%
  • In Europe the forest area is increasing in size at a rate of 1.5million football pitches per year

(Courtesy of www.twosides.info)

Back in October 2005, Bill Gates Head of Microsoft said we are on the verge of a paperless office with increasing electronic communication and the convenience of web based cloud solutions and an increasing awareness of the environment has led many companies to print less and e-mail more!

But has it?

I am confronted on my visits to customers offices with mountains of paper on desks! Often with the polite excuse “sorry, I’ll just make some space for you”. Why is it there is still an inextricable paper trail?

Don’t get me wrong part of our services is print and mailing that is the cornerstone of our business and we are proud of the way we have provided excellent value for money paper based solutions for many companies over the years.

I don’t wish to see paper go in any shape or form we must support our printing industry in the UK and I am very definitely in the camp that believes paper and electronic can co-exist.

e-billing...Electronic communication and the energy that drives our ever increasing network of servers necessary to hold our data is having a significant impact on the UK’s overall carbon footprint.

Whilst electronic storage of documents and e-communications are universally viewed as being efficient, effective and manageable, it is not necessarily sustainable. In the UK it has been suggested that within the next 10 years PC’s and servers could well consume 50% of the UK’s energy requirements which is quite a staggering thought given the costs associated with importing our energy needs.

The big companies are perpetuating paperless billing citing its “environmentally friendly” because less paper means less recycling. Recently Martyn Eustace, Director at two sides wrote a compelling letter to the CEO at Google Inc. stating the organisation’s concern regarding google’s campaign to ‘go paperless in 2013’ its compelling reading particularly in light of how hard the industry has and is continuing to work to eradicate the myths associated with the print industry which include the destruction of rain forests, making paper is bad for the environment and my favourite, that print and paper is a wasteful product.

In reality, approximately 60% of consumers leave a PC on in the home and will be printing off information electronically sent for reading and filing so although a company may have succeeded in moving the consumer to a paperless process in actual fact the cost has been removed from the organisation and has been placed squarely on the shoulders of the likes of you and me.

I would counter that the cost per head for printing at home probably far outweighs the printing and mailing of a document produced centrally!

Paper is renewable, sustainable and is vital for the well being of the print and paper industry, a world without paper, shudder at the thought.

Whilst for some the utopian ideal is a paper free office let me leave you with this thought, a digital image of your son or daughter holding the award or cup they won is but a fleeting moment but a photo captures the essence of that moment, it can evoke a feeling of sheer joy and emotion because it lives on forever in your memory!

What do you think? Are you in favour of a paperless office or do you believe that paper still has a very important part to  play in our offices? Leave a comment and let us know what you think.

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