Nitro Blog

Document Management and Sustainability in the Workplace


The concept of sustainability, or “going green,” is not a new one. Though we now live in a world where battery-powered cars and solar-paneled homes are becoming the norm, this transformation has not happened overnight-and it’s taking even longer to catch on in the world of business.

Ultimately, renewable energy comes in several forms. Each one gives homeowners and business owners the option to use environmentally sustainable sources for their electricity that cut CO2 and can even help to combat climate change.

Furthermore, solar energy and wind energy are great options in areas where lots of renewable energy is produced. This energy is collected from solar and wind farms and is then sent to the grid. The energy runs through power lines to your home or business, so that you do not need to invest in expensive solar panels.

You can find renewable energy rates that are often lower than fossil-sourced rates online by researching energy suppliers such as TriEagle Energy.

Above all, more and more organizations are definitely paying attention to sustainability. In fact, corporate sustainability has emerged as an integral part of 21st-century business strategy.

Furthermore, in a competitive global marketplace, having a strong reputation for sustainability can be a key distinguishing factor-especially among millennials, a group that’s growing quickly in buying power and influence.

According to a 2014 study by McKinsey & Company, 49% of CEOs see sustainability as a top 3 priority for their organizations, with 13% citing it as their number one initiative.

The reasons why companies are addressing sustainability has changed in the past few years, with cost cutting being a primary factor in 2012, however now there is the desire to fully integrate sustainability with company’s goals and values.

From a business perspective, the broader topic of sustainability is commonly driven by two core initiatives: reducing energy use and reducing waste created, both of which are directly impacted by the way an organization’s document management processes.

Why are documents at the center of the issue?

Plain and simple, employees are still turning digital copies of documents into physical paper by sending them to the printer-and it’s happening frequently. In fact, 33% of knowledge workers use a printer, scanner, or copier 10 or more times each day.

For some perspective on what this means in terms of waste generated and energy spent, here are a few startling tidbits:

  • It takes 24 trees, 2.2K lbs of solid waste and 19K gallons of water to make 1 ton of paper
  • 45% of the paper printed in offices ends up in the trash, every day
  • Employees generate 1.5 lbs of paper waste EACH every day (it’s 2 lbs in financial companies)
  • Copiers and printers are the top energy-consuming office equipment and continue to burn energy when on standby and in sleep mode

Worst of all, 30% of print jobs are never even picked up by the user.

How can you fix it?

Eliminate paper-or at least create a strategy to significantly reduce it. A daunting task, no doubt, but it must be undertaken if your organization is serious about sustainability.

Make it a part of the culture. Get the HR and CSR teams involved. Create competition between departments to track who is generating the least paper, or who can devise the best strategy for reducing usage. Making it fun, and sharing the impact of any efforts, will help ensure success.

Enable employees to break their habits. Employees often resort to printing documents because they don’t have the right tools to work with them digitally. In fact, in organizations with 100+ employees, 74% of workers don’t have access to a PDF editor, and then in turn often default to printing because they’re limited in how they can work with the document on their machine.

Equipping employees with digital tools that enable document creation, editing, and collaboration on a computer or mobile device can effectively replace paper in their document workflows, and is an essential step in the effort to eliminate paper altogether.

Worried about the cost of such a solution? Let’s make a quick comparison:

Daily cost of printing per employee per day:


On the other hand, Nitro Pro (which has all the tools you’d need to replace paper in your document workflows) starts at $159 per license. It’s clear to see the advantages of going paperless and adopting a smart, effective document productivity solution. Doing so will kick start your company’s sustainability initiatives, with the bonus of creating cost efficiencies.

Learn more about the advantages of Nitro, and check out what some of our 600,000 business customers have to say about us.

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