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O R AN ECO WORRI E R? People turn sustainability into reality or rhetoric

It’s one thing to have a corporate agenda or policy on environmental issues and sustainability but several factors will determine whether it becomes reality or simply rhetoric. A critical factor is people. In any organisation with information

technology and a connection to a photocopier or multifunction printer, you’ll generally find three recognisable types with different atitudes and behaviours.

The Greenfly She’s keen to be green but doesn’t always remember to do the right thing. At the office she might print four slides to a page but forget that mono is good enough for a 12-page report that isn’t going to make any beter reading with the addition of colour. Meanwhile at home, she may have just let that polythene wrapper from the Sunday supplement slip into the recycling bin as she binned the broadsheets.

The Lumberjack Arguably, he’s a less common species these days. However, he is capable of felling vast

expanses of sustainable forestry with his print and copier demands. The pulsing light of the standby buton is rarely seen by The Lumberjack and he definitely doesn’t do double-sided. He’s also the character most likely to make personal use of the office printer. According to a Canadian survey on workplace printer usage, personal colour photos comprise 20% of unauthorised usage. The ‘Canadian Lumberjack’ will also print maps and directions for personal use alongside receipts and bill payments, personal emails and even CVs.

The Eco Worrier He thinks green and technology don’t mix. To save the planet, he will do everything he can to avoid pressing the buton (the one that’s marked copy). In an effort to be virtuous he prefers to keep it virtual; reading and organising as much as possible online or from stored files. However, all that extra processing power may mean his ‘copier credits’ only serve to offset his additional energy usage. These are only characterisations that

illustrate the challenges we face with sustainability around information technology. There’s no shortage of tips to be found

online that help us to reduce not only our environmental impact but also make good cost-saving sense. Some of the more unusual suggestions include fiting more words on a page by changing default margins from 1.25” to 1” and using a more space-efficient font like Times New Roman to achieve an 8% saving in paper usage when printing. It’s easier for people to change their

own behaviour towards environmental responsibility if you give them the tools to make it easy. That’s why Xerox is helping to change buyer behaviour by making it easy to find the ideal technology for educational establishments at an ideal cost. Visit to see how

it can work harder for your green agenda and your budget. Whatever you do to be environmentally

responsible, don’t forget the human factor. Is there a Lumberjack, Greenfly or Eco Worrier somewhere in your organisation right now? ET

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