Paper, water and waste

As explained above, we expanded the scope of our emissions accounting in 2014 to include copy paper, water consumption and waste disposal, and have committed ourselves to offsetting the emissions from these additional three sources until 2020.

The overview of all our emissions sources (see table in “The Greenhouse Neutral Programme”) shows that paper, water and waste are of much less relevance in our business than other environmental impacts. Furthermore, water use and waste generation are difficult to influence at locations where we rent office space. Having said this, in the office buildings we own ourselves we require appliances to meet high standards of water efficiency.

Paper use, on the other hand, is much more responsive to managerial action. Although we have not set any quantitative targets, we have taken a number of measures to reduce the average amount of paper used by our employees in recent years. These include our Group Document Induction Process, which offers a coordinated scanning service wherever it is requested, and encouraging our employees to use double-sided printing by setting it as the default option on our computers. As a result, we managed to reduce our paper use by more than 60% per employee between 2003 and 2013.

In 2014, we achieved another substantial decrease in paper use per employee, mainly through the My Productivity Initiative: Using a gamification approach, we encouraged our employees to compete as teams against each other to see who could achieve the biggest cut in paper consumption. As a result, the total amount of printouts in the Group fell by 27%, leading to a decrease in paper consumption of 22.5% and cost savings of approximately USD 350 000.

We also have guidelines in place to ensure that we use copy paper of a high ecological quality. Through our Group Sourcing Policy and our “minimum standard for copy paper”, we set clear environmental requirements for the type of paper we purchase (see section “Group sourcing policy and minimum standards”). In 2014, the share of recycled paper remained stable at 70%, while that of FSC-labelled paper fell slightly, from 96% to 94%.

Water consumption and waste generation increased somewhat in 2014, after a fall in the previous year. It needs to be stressed, though, that data quality is moderate at best for both, so we do not consider the rise to be significant.