City Cruises

Paper use decreases in half of all businesses

No need to get buried under paperwork, as paper use has reduced in half of all businesses

Around half of organisations (49%) are decreasing their paper consumption, according to new research, despite just 22% of businesses having an environmental policy to reduce paper use.

While 20% of respondents in the AIIM study ‘Paper-Free Progress: measuring outcomes’ say that consumption of paper is increasing in their organisation, the 2015 net of 29% compares favourably with 23% net when the same research was conducted in 2014 and just 3% net in 2011.

“Slowly but surely, organisations are coming round to the idea that digitising much of the content and information flowing through their business can be beneficial,” says AIIM President John Mancini. “We are never going to eliminate paper completely, but when it becomes clear that going paper-free delivers return-on-investment as well as helping the environment, businesses will be more willing to invest in the technologies that let them go paper-free.”

More than half of survey respondents (57%) say they are committed to digital transformation, but the study did reveal that in many organisations, there is still a lot of progress to be made in achieving that.

35% of respondents say that most of the electronic invoices they receive get printed anyway, while 34% agree that most of the documents they scan are unchanged from printer to scanner. 31% admit that their desk is ‘piled high’ with paper still, worrying given that the average office worker uses up to 45 sheets of paper per day, of which more than half is considered waste.

A lack of management initiatives and staff preferences (both 49%) were the two main reasons given as to why there is still so much paper around, while 39% feel there is a general lack of understanding of paper-free options.

“Recycling paper helps somewhat, but by far the best way to reduce paper-related pollution is to use less of it,” concludes John Mancini. “We all need to use less paper than we are now and despite the evident progress made, this is something we all need to work on and the capture, management and storing of information digitally is a good way to start.”