April 18, 2016

Document Management Policy Supports Earth Day

Paper still plays a huge role in the workplace – but that doesn’t mean organisations don’t care about the environment.

In fact, a good document management policy can go a long way in creating a green office, protecting the environment and supporting Earth Day.

Earth Day is a global initiative that is held annually on April 22. This year’s theme is ‘Trees for the Earth’. The Earth Day Network has pledged to plant 7.8 billion trees worldwide by 2020, the event’s 50th anniversary.

So how does document management in the workplace support Earth Day goals and environmental responsibility?

1. ‘Waste’ management: Having a document management programme means a workplace has identified what systems generate waste – and how to make improvements. This includes secure recycling of paper and e-waste.

2. How-to: A formal policy provides guidelines on how documents are labelled, where they are securely stored and in what form, who has access to them, and when and how they’re securely destroyed based on data protection laws and legal regulations.

3. Secure recycling: A paper recycling programme helps make a business more environmentally sustainable. But the traditional process – collecting materials in an open bin and sending them for recycling – is not secure. Information theft is widespread, and information in open bins is a risk. An information security partner will replace open recycling bins with locked consoles for storing documents that are no longer needed. As part of a protected workplace protocol, consoles will be emptied regularly by security-trained professionals and all confidential documents securely shredded. A Certificate of Destruction should be issued after every shred.    

4. Waste sorting: In fact, experts recommend removing all individual waste bins and setting up waste sorting stations with containers to segregate recyclables, waste, and composting to encourage less landfill waste production – in addition to the locked consoles for paper documents.

5. Greener strategies overall: A document management policy includes the directive to use recycled paper products in printers and photocopiers. It encourages digitisation and secure storage of this information.   

6. Reduce error: Research has shown that employee negligence or error increases the risk of a security breach. To remove the risk, implement a Shred-it all Policy, which means all documents that are no longer needed are securely shredded and recycled.  

7. Environmental stewardship: Appoint green ‘champions’ within the company to promote environmental initiatives and choices in and out of the workplace. Utilise employee communications including reminder posters, intranet, and meetings to keep information top-of-mind.  

8. Green partners: Partner with organisations that are committed to environmentally responsible practices. For example, your information security partner should have a strong environmental track record and provide a full range of security products and services including secure document destruction and recycling. A shredded paper recycling programme should bale the shredded paper and then recycle it.

9. Save trees: For every two consoles full of paper documents that is shredded and recycled, one tree is saved. Information security leader Shred-it provides its customers with an Environmental Certificate each year that shows sustainability efforts – and how many trees each organisation has saved.

Do you have a protected workplace? Compare the old way of recycling paper documents with the secure document destruction process that is recommended for all organisations today.