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World Paper Free Day 2015 - 6 November

Recycling paper helps somewhat, but by far the best way to reduce paper-related pollution is to use less of it

Although just 22% of businesses have an environmental policy to reduce paper use, so there remains significant room for improvement

Silver Spring, Md., November 06, 2015 – Around half of organisations (49%) are decreasing their paper consumption, according to new research released today, despite just 22% of businesses having an environmental policy to reduce paper use.

While 20% of respondents in the new 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,” said 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.”

‘Paper-Free Progress: measuring outcomes’ was launched today (6 November 2015) as part of World Paper Free Day 2015, an AIIM initiative that aims to challenge us to take solid steps on the path to using less paper, eliminating the waste and confusion that piles of office paper can create.

Organisations from all over the world have taken the paper-free pledge, including Fujitsu, Iron Mountain, and IBM. For each registration, AIIM will make a donation to One Laptop per Child, the non-profit organisation offering laptops for children in developing countries.

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,” concluded 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.”

The research for ‘Paper-Free Progress: measuring outcomes’ was underwritten in part by EMC, IBML, IBM, Iron Mountain, Kofax, Laserfiche, Opex, Papersoft and Swiss Post. The full report is free to download here http://info.aiim.org/paper-free-progress-measuring-outcomes

The survey was taken using a web-based tool by 430 individual members of the AIIM community between Aug 14, and Sept 02, 2015.

About AIIM
AIIM has been an advocate and supporter of information professionals for 70 years. The association’s mission is to ensure that information professionals understand the current and future challenges of managing information assets in an era of social, mobile, cloud and big data. Founded in 1943, AIIM builds on a strong heritage of research and member service. Today, AIIM is a global, non-profit organisation that provides independent research, education and certification programs to information professionals. AIIM represents the entire information management community, with programs and content for practitioners, technology suppliers, integrators and consultants.

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