- Printing on recycled paper or environmentally friendly paper (see previous post on paper made from all-sorts-of-animal-excrement).
- Printing a short summary with the bulk of the report online(see Nexxar for best CSR online reporting).
- Printing a small number of copies for those who really want or should read the report.
The but is that what really REALLY annoys me is unconsidered wasteful ways of sending CSR reports through the mail. I have mentioned this before in a different previous post, and now i will mention it again. (consistency is a virtue)
The following picture is of 9 one-side-printed separate pieces of paper that accompanied the delivery of the 2009 CR Report from .. and this time i will name names ... Deutsche Telekom. Delivered by DHL which is a Deutche Post Company.
Here's that consistency thing again: 9 separate one-side-printed pieces of paper. Why would you need 9 pieces of paper to go with the delivery of one slim report?
Deutsche Telekom's 2009 CSR report is online and a 68 page PDF download. It is a well written report at GRI-checked A+ reporting level. This is what DT have to say about saving paper:
(page 41) "Thanks to innovations such as “Paper, Pen & Phone,” customers can significantly reduce their own paper consumption and the resulting environmental pollution. The special pen developed by T-Systems records all the special characteristics of a signature via an integrated camera, thereby enabling digital identification and processing of documents signed by hand. Compared to the former archiving process, paper consumption is thus reduced by up to 50 percent, and costs are reduced by as much as around 70 percent. In order to exploit this savings potential in our own Group as well, we have launched “Paper, Pen & Phone” in around 800 Telekom Shops in Germany since February 2009."
And more (page46 ) "We succeeded in winning over almost one third of T-Home customers for our online billing. This helps us and our customers in contributing to environment protection by reducing paper consumption by over 1,500 tons".
But what about shipping CSR reports? What super innovations have been developed to ensure that paper consumption is reduced in this process?
Which brings me to another point: INDIRECT REPONSIBILITY .
It is possible that Deutche Telekom have no idea that DHL uses 9 separate one-side-printed pieces of paper for each report they deliver. Maybe this is standard DHL procedure. The kind of standard procedure that no-one ever thinks to question because that's just the way its done. But doesn't Deutsche Telekom have an indirect reponsibility for the actions of their suppliers engaged in providing products or services on their behalf?
Actually, in the DHL (Deutche Post AG) 2009 self-declared B+ report I couldn't find anything relating to paper consumption reduction, only references to sustainable paper sourcing. I couldn't find a figure for how many tons of paper consumption DHL or Deutsche Post have reduced in the reporting period. Maybe that's because they havent. However, a target area for Deutsche Post is " Mobilizing our employees: Raising awareness of climate protection and broader environmental issues, and enabling our employees to minimize our company’s environmental impact through their everyday actions." Like shipping CSR reports.
So who should we take issue with here ?
(1) DHL for using 9 pieces of paper
(2) Deutsche Telekom for letting them
(3) Me, for wanting to read the printed report in the first place ? (hint: dont pick this option)
But the point of this post is that : i would expect that people in a company where CSR is truly embedded at all levels of the organization would pick this up. I believe that employees at all levels should recognize environmental waste in the system, assuming they had been made aware of its importance to the Company.
These day-to-day almost-unnoticed actions can be very important. They can also point to the degree to which each employee in any business takes personal responsibility for all aspects of the Company's CSR behaviour.
elaine cohen is the joint CEO of BeyondBusiness, a leading reporting and social-environmental consulting firm . Visit our website at: www.b-yond.biz/en