How to Lower the Environmental Impact of Business Documents

What does sustainability have to do with corporate documents? By eliminating generic, one-size-fits-all boilerplate items like terms and conditions when you can, documents can be shorter and more relevant to each recipient. Or you may decide to print summaries of lengthy documents, with full text only available online. It’s time to look at the traditional ways companies have communicated in the past and see if environmentally friendly alternatives exist.

From a document management standpoint, an organization can alter their impact on the environment. They can reconstruct what is in a document, how they design it, and how many pages are necessary to accomplish its goal and ensure compliance. More on that later, but here are quick and easy changes an organization can make to improve sustainability.

  1. Use recycled paper or paper made from responsibly sourced wood fiber and bearing the FSC logo.
  2. Print double-sided. It saves paper and ink.
  3. Avoid unnecessary pages. If a page is required for compliance, print it. If not, include a link that refers the recipient to the information on the web or offer it on-demand only.
  4. Use soy-based ink instead of petroleum-based ink. Soy-based ink is more eco-friendly.
  5. Use a document management system. DocOrigin features a complete suite for document design, text optimization, updating, and regulatory compliance.

Text and Space

A plan to reduce the page count of printed documents requires a hard look at the graphical design and verifying what it must include for regulatory and compliance mandates. From a formatting standpoint, Rearranging elements on the page or adjusting the size of graphics can often eliminate a page from every document in a high-volume print job.

To reduce printed pages, you may choose to reduce font size, shrink margins, adjust kerning, and tighten line spacing. There is a fine line between text optimization and making a document impossible to read. If recipients can’t read their bill, customer service calls escalate, and satisfaction declines. DocOrigin Design allows users to design several document versions easily without IT intervention. Distribute proofs to team members and outside design specialists to review, revise, and select the best version.

Boiler Plate Text

A document audit determines what boilerplate text you must print to comply with governmental regulations and what is optional as a hard copy document. Can a link or a QR code direct interested recipients to the boilerplate text on the web where they can read it and print the text if they wish? Can you print a condensed version with links to the legal document online?

Multi-language documents can be big paper-wasters. Does your organization send documents with the same information printed in multiple languages? Sometimes, such an approach is a legal requirement. But when it is not, a language-preference indicator in the customer data can trigger document composition in only the customer’s preferred language. Or you might provide access to foreign language documents like terms and conditions via links to online versions. You can eliminate pages for alternative languages, saving on paper and ink, while reducing the weight and thickness of each envelope. These steps impact the number of trucks necessary to transport the mail and the fuel consumed to distribute mail across the postal network.

Onserts, Not Inserts

Marketers have long inserted advertising content, such as brochures or “buck slips” into invoices and other transactional mailings. Commercial First Class postage for presorted letters is the same for mail up to 3.5 ounces. The typical bill and envelope do not exceed the weight limit, so for years, marketers have felt that added marketing documents could “ride for free.”

If an organization eliminates preprinted paper inserts and still communicates a marketing message, they will take a step toward environmental sustainability. Onserts take the promotional message once printed as a separate bill insert and place it in the existing transactional document. You eliminate the extra printed buck slip, reducing the environmental impact of each bill mailed.

Pre-printed buck slips consume resources such as paper, ink, electricity, packaging, fuel and emissions to transport, and disposal. Your organization can highlight their dedication to environmental sustainability by switching to onserts. While helping the environment, you can simultaneously save money, target the ads, and open the door to new production efficiencies like a white paper production workflow.

Nearly every transactional document has unused white space where marketers can add targeted promotional or informational content. For example, the statement for a consumer who made ten charges with their credit card will have plenty of white space normally reserved for transaction details. DocOrigin allows the user to set business rules to incorporate marketing messages where they are most likely to be seen, hence the term “onserts.” Business rules also determine which promotional message will appear based on the recipient’s demographics. For example, if the recipient lives in Florida, the promotional messages will apply to Florida residents. If a consumer had 50 credit card transactions, the statement would have less real estate for marketing or informational messages. DocOrigin automatically determines the white space available and “onserts” a relevant message designed to fit the space.

DocOrigin and the Environment

Companies can use many strategies to lower the environmental impact of the paper documents they create and distribute. Many of those strategies revolve around changing the documents themselves to lower page counts, eliminate mailings, shorten content, or reduce frequency. DocOrigin from Eclipse Software enables organizations to implement document modifications, including using white space to eliminate pre-printed statement inserts or create dynamic language documents.

DocOrigin is an intuitive application for designing and generating dynamic business documents, forms, and labels. We designed the software for high-volume production of personalized business-critical documents or a single customer letter. With DocOrigin, organizations can leverage data from legacy systems and contemporary CRM applications. Your data, combined with the DocOrigin intelligent document composition application, improves communication, marketing effectiveness, and customer service with no added expense. DocOrigin is the disruptive technology that changes the transactional document paradigm and enables our customers’ environmental aspirations.