Green Procurement – Paper Management Programmes

We’re all very well aware of our need to reduce carbon emissions and care for our planet. In Corporate South Africa more and more organisations are asking a key question: How much paper are we consuming for our marketing efforts? Indeed, this is a very good question, however, the usual response from Procurement or Marketing departments is “how must we manage what cannot be measured?” The reality is that very few organisations have an answer to this question, yet they have enormous cabinets full of Corporate and SocialResponsibility briefings, Christian Bell, Sales and Marketing Manager at local Print Management Company POINT tells SmartProcurement.

Planning to use green materials is a significant, however basic, first step. Look for suppliers who subscribe to the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC), insist on recycled paper where possible and, finally, ask suppliers about elemental chlorine free materials, advises Bell.

The recycled content of paper can be up to 50%, which halves the environmental impact of corporates’ marketing efforts.

Responsible Forestry really matters. South Africa has over 1.3-million hectares under FSC certification, the three components of which are:

Environmentally appropriate. Ensures that the harvest of timber and non-timber products maintains the forest’s biodiversity, productivity and ecological processes.
Socially beneficial. Helps both local people and society at large to enjoy long-term benefits and also provides strong incentives to local people to sustain the forest resources and adhere to long-term management plans.
Economically viable. Forest operations are structured and managed so as to be sufficiently profitable, but not at the expense of the forest resource, the ecosystem, or affected communities.

Measurement is by far the hardest piece of the jigsaw puzzle, says Bell. He recommends implementing a Paper Management Process (PMP), with which local print managers offering best in class practices can assist. Local companies such as POINT have already embarked on this journey.

“POINT is receiving more and more requests about green procurement and paper usage data, in fact, our major corporate clients are now insisting on this. We are developing management tools within our print management platform which will deliver accurate and up to the minute consumption data on demand.”

In terms of process improvement, the first step is to be able to measure the consumption. Once this is achieved you can start looking into print on demand (POD) and Stock Management strategies.

How many times do you print a leaflet or brochure which becomes obsolete very quickly? POINT is aware of companies with literally millions of such documents, which must then be destroyed. This is damaging to the environment and bad for your procurement profile and marketing budgets. Paper typically equates to 40% – 60% of the cost of a printed item. Therefore, it is imperative that savings on this element be high on the radar. POINT is saving local companies upwards of 30% of their marketing print costs and POINT’s paper management programme can bolster this further.

If you have a green print strategy or would like to make any comments on this article please contact Christian at

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