It used to be said that a paperless office was about as achievable as a paperless bathroom – but at least in Japan, where the technology was born, the latter has become commonplace.
What’s driven the change? Quite apart from the, ahem, personal hygiene dimension, the use of toilet tissue is starting to run counter to the zero carbon goals the world needs to get behind in the war on climate change.
The ‘zero carbon’ mantra is all very well for high-powered international conferences like COP26, bringing with them the rants by social media keyboard warriors about the use of private jets, but conversion of our carbon footprint from builders’ boots to ballet shoes is going to need more than vision and powerful rhetoric.
As usual, the devil is in the detail, and in this instance the detail is in the hands of SMEs and micro-businesses, the companies that make up 99% of the economy. Like ants, alone they are arguably insignificant; together they demand to be noticed.
Without the commitment of small firms, COP26 will turn out to be COP-OUT26.
It’s about you
No small business owner should be under the illusion that driving towards the ‘zero carbon’ goal is someone else’s responsibility; the world of business is increasingly becoming one of involvement, far more than simply supply of goods and services, but the way they’re supplied and the ethics of the firm doing the supplying. Think of a ‘supply chain’ failing at its weakest links; of that weak link is your company’s environmental performance you’ll soon find customers and suppliers looking elsewhere.
So how does that translate into the revolution in ESG – Environmental, Social and Governance?
There are so many ways in which carbon footprints can be reduced. From solar panels on the roof to heat pumps in the ground, benefits are to be achieved, but all require a change in mindset.
But don’t make it complicated. Start simply. Turn to technology, and harness the digital revolution. It really isn’t difficult.
That’s where the notion of a paperless office comes in. Take a visit to the dentist. All sorts of detail will be recorded about you, but just about the only piece of paper you’ll see is the card with your next appointment written on it, and those are increasingly coming through on email instead.
Business technology in the digital revolution is becoming more powerful all the time. At ExpenseOnDemand we’ve been providing a slick and streamlined way to manager expenses online for almost 20 years. The benefit of that – quite apart from the removal of paper from the process – has been to deliver a powerful business tool for the lowest possible cost, saving arguably an even more precious resource; that of time.
Which is what it comes down to, really. Time. We don’t have time to leave the reduction of our carbon footprint for another day; we need to act now.
But if, as a small business owner, you still think reduction of the world’s carbon footprint is for someone else to worry about, consider the financial implications for your own business. Managing expenses with our expense management app will give you more time and cost you less money than old school methods. Applying technology to other business functions will have the same result: more money for you; less time required to get the job done, and you’ll be helping the planet in the background, with less paper to file or lose, or hurl into the mass already gathering on the van dashboard, where you’ll probably never look at it again... What’s not to like?
And after all that, how about buying less stuff. Conserve resources. Keep the works van a year longer, and do you really need another shirt already? Or another coat? Or green beans flown in from Kenya with your Christmas dinner?
Small firms must make a big impact to save the planet. And it all starts with you…
Picture: Robert Paul Van Beets | Dreamstime