The Trust is an organisation with a paper archive which documents its work and the story of Rochester Bridge over more than 600 years. The intention is to maintain the integrity of the archives and make sure there are physical documents for our successors and future historians to consult, so the Trust is not planning to become a “paperless” organisation.
That said, the charity has embraced digital technology within the archives and records management area in the interests of reducing the handling of precious documents and adding facilities such as searches, sharing and easy publication. Not every document needs to be preserved for the physical archives and we have focussed on ways to reduce the use of office paper produced in the course of the everyday business of the Trust.
In the baseline year of 2018, the Trust used around 165 reams of office paper. A tree can produce enough virgin pulp to manufacture around 17 reams, so our previous use was the equivalent of 9.7 trees each year (although in practice, much of the paper had a proportion of recycled material so that is the worst case scenario). The staff team is committed to reducing the impact of office paper use and has developed a plan as part of the target to achieve carbon neutrality of the Trust’s own operations by 31 March 2023.
The Carbon Reduction Plan for office paper use includes the following actions:
- Establishing and reinforcing a “Low Paper Culture” in the office to reduce paper use by a minimum of 20% per annum. Actions will include avoiding printing when possible; printing double-sided and in draft quality when appropriate; for meetings displaying agendas, plans and photographs on screen. We will be discussing progress and sharing new ideas regularly in team meetings to reinforce the culture.
- Taking more notes on laptops and iPads and storing online.
- Introducing re-usable notebooks (Rocketbooks).
- Opting for online magazine subscriptions where relevant.
- Future white office paper purchases will be Woodland Trust Office Paper produced by Premier Paper. The paper is fully sustainable Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) accredited and carbon neutral since the CO2 emissions from production are captured by planting native woodland in the UK, through projects validated under the Woodland Carbon Code. In addition, for every ream purchased, 5p of the wholesale price goes directly to the Woodland Trust.
- Future coloured paper purchases will have a minimum 4* Green Star rating.
- Recycling 100% of all waste paper through our office systems so we can track the weights.
- Requiring our supply chain to use office paper with a minimum 4* Green Star rating.
Through these actions alone, by 31 March 2023 compared to 2018 levels, we aim to:
- reduce paper use by 20% per annum (36% in total);
- reduce the total carbon emissions per annum from office paper use by at least 75%;
- offset all remaining carbon emissions to achieve carbon neutrality in office paper use.