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Becoming paperless

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Reducing paper consumption is a core component of Morneau Shepell’s environmental program. Our Board of Directors has been leading the way in working in a paperless environment. Since April 2013, materials provided to the Board have been distributed digitally and reviewed in an online environment to keep paper use at a minimum. Driven by a strategic business initiative to drive efficiency, we set out to better understand our overall paper consumption, including end use and the role of printers. The results revealed annual paper consumption of approximately 4 million sheets of paper from our corporate office, representing some 1,600 pine trees, and about 40 million litres of water used. In parallel, approximately 80 per cent of the paper being printed was shredded. Armed with this information, we are implementing a strategy to immediately reduce paper and energy consumption and to drive change in employee behaviours relating to paper use and printing. Priority initiatives include:

  • Corporate office paper reduction
    Keeping high-use, high-quality printers and more energy efficient printers, while decommissioning the number of low volume printers and shredders with a goal of reducing energy consumption and paper consumption
  • Using only FSC-certified papers with >50 per cent recycled content, including post-consumer, and eliminating all higher-end papers
  • Printing the latest version of documents when legally required, refraining from printing drafts
  • Changing our attitude about printing by moving away from a “printing mindset”, and encouraging employees to “think twice” before printing
  • Raising consciousness pertaining to the environmental impacts of paper consumption and modelling sustainable behaviours
  • Advocating for paperless meetings, using laptops and driving digital document review as the new “norm”

While there is more work to be done, our shift to a more mindful approach to printing is already making a positive impact. From 2017 to 2018, we achieved a 42 per cent reduction in paper consumption, and a 45 per cent reduction since 2016. While formal targets have not yet been set, we are on track to achieve a 25 per cent reduction in the volume of paper used by 2021. With an initial focus on printer use at our Greater Toronto Area offices, we expect to be expanding the program across all of our sites by 2021.

“Reducing the amount of paper we print goes beyond eliminating printers, it requires each and every employee to adjust their own behaviours and daily work practices to support a corporate-wide cultural shift away from paper to working effectively in a digital world.”

Nancy Purdy, Manager Office Services, Morneau Shepell