Action Plan for Environmental Sustainability in Office Printing

Follow our guide to lower costs, improve management, and increase productivity in printing and document workflows.


Assess the Organization


If you don’t have insight into your current imaging and printing environment, or your users’ needs, attitudes, and behaviors, you can’t fully identify your organization’s opportunities and challenges. That’s why assessment is the first and most critical step in developing your action plan. Your aim is to develop a baseline understanding by looking at key aspects of imaging and printing across your organization.


You’ll know this assessment stage is complete when you have:
  • Defined the scope of your project
  • Mapped the organization's devices within that scope
  • Surveyed attitudes and expectations of users
  • Engaged key constituencies

Apply Framework to Identify Opportunities


In this stage you’ll determine priorities and define tactics to meet your goals.

  • Optimize InfrastructureCreate a standardized imaging and printing environment to reduce the costs of energy, waste, and disposal.
  • Manage EnvironmentEnsure dependable operation of your imaging and printing network to recycle and make more efficient use of materials and resources.
  • Improve WorkflowAccelerate business processes using digital alternatives to paper to reduce your organization’s environmental impact while achieving above-the-line business benefits, such as increased speed and a better customer experience.

Develop Your Action Plan


Up to this point, you’ve been gathering information, identifying challenges and opportunities, and setting priorities and goals. Now it’s time to bring it all together into a plan of action. Given the right strategic underpinnings, sustainability can provide a significant edge for launching or transforming companies anywhere in the world.


Organize your action plan into 4 categories:
  • ElementsInclude scope, goals (qualitative and quantitative—with a timeline to accomplish them), resources and budget, metrics, contingencies, and assumptions.
  • Recommended ApproachIdentify focus areas and prioritize tactics based on impact, investment, complexity, and ability to leverage results. (For example, some focus areas include immediate wins, short-term priorities, and pilot projects.)
  • PurposeProvide an overview of issues facing your current printing environment up front, including the number and location of devices, users per device, estimated energy cost, and the estimated carbon footprint of your imaging and printing fleet. Then include business and environmental drivers, major challenges and opportunities, and questions.
  • Management of Change and CommunicationInclude audiences, messages, media channels, and tools.

When developing your action plan, it’s important to use a format your organization prefers. Some rely on presentations, others on spreadsheets and reports. Consider the length appropriate for each audience. You may need to develop a short executive summary as well as a detailed action plan. You’ll know this development stage is complete when you have a realistic, actionable, and measurable outline of the strategies and tactics you’ll use to help meet your goals.

Manage the Change


As you put your plan into action, it’s vital to share ongoing progress and success. A change-management strategy can help as you deliver additional instructions, address questions, and regulate the impact of changes across the organization.


You’ll know this change management stage is complete when you have:
  • Ongoing and productive dialogue with audiences about the changes
  • Widespread adoption of desired behaviors
  • Set goals that reflect people, profits, and planet

Analyze Data and Set Goals


This stage establishes a performance baseline for your imaging and printing environment that will help you set goals and measure progress.


You’ll know this analysis stage is complete when you have:
  • Calculated your baseline for energy use
  • Compiled and analyzed data to determine your carbon footprint
  • Identified how much energy and materials you can save, and how great a reduction in CO2 emissions that it represents

Establish Green Procurement Guidelines


As part of your action plan, engage your procurement organization. Working together to develop and implement green procurement criteria will help reinforce your organization’s commitment to a more environmentally sustainable IT environment.


Your policy should:
  • Be fair and equitable. How much you weight environmental criteria is up to you, but it should be applied equally to all decisions.
  • Prioritize decisions in alignment with your organization’s goals. They should address the areas of greatest concern.
  • Be transparent. Suppliers need to know what’s expected of them.
  • Ensure claims are measurable and verifiable.

Gain Organizational Commitment


From the outset, it’s critical to earn the support of internal stakeholders. If you don’t build awareness and secure buy-in from all audiences, your plan may be at risk of falling short when it’s rolled out.


You’ll know this organizational commitment stage is complete when you have:
  • Worked through the approach you will take with each audience
  • Secured buy-in and endorsement as needed
  • Have necessary approval and resources to proceed

Measure, Analyze, and Report


You’ve implemented your plan, managed the changes across your organization, and are seeing results. End of story? In a word, no.


This stage is never complete.

You must be sure to analyze, measure and refine your action plan regularly.