Why recycle, when you can eliminate?

The UAE has one of the world’s highest levels of paper consumption per capita, estimated at 175-200 kg per year, close to 3 times the global average (Gulf news 19/09/2011, 17/11/2012). A significant contributor is the sheer volume of A4 paper still used to pass business ‘messages’, such as orders and invoices. Whilst paper recycling is growing, eliminating the need for paper in the first place is clearly superior.

Innovative technologies, enabling secure and efficient electronic transactions, are now available to organisations of any size.

Green Business Transactions

While green initiatives are gaining momentum in the UAE, many require lengthy projects and large investment. One initiative that can quickly benefit the environment and deliver positive operational results, has yet to be fully captured and is accessible by organisations of any size. This is the avoidance of all paper in business-to-business (B2B) transactions.

In the average sales and purchase transaction, several documents are passed between customer and vendor. Each may have multiple pages and be printed several times. Quickly, one transaction can consume a large quantity of paper. Multiply this by hundreds of transactions and thousands of businesses and you can get an idea of the opportunity for green savings.

Earlier this year, the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) announced that 85% of its customers would not receive a hard copy of their bills. This move alone helped DEWA reduce their carbon footprint by over 330 tonnes and attain significant savings in paper, printing and postage costs.

Can the same be achieved from making business-to-business transactions electronic? The answer is a resounding YES!

“One initiative that can quickly benefit the environment is the avoidance of all paper in business-to-business.”

e-Transaction Networks

Pagero, a Scandinavian company, has connected over 12,000 companies across 42 countries to its Pagero Online network and has a reach of over 500,000 organisations through extended partner network.

Pagero’s clients range from the largest global companies, such as Hewlett Packard, through to sole traders. Pagero is also active in the Middle East and has established a partnership with Dubai Carbon to share its expertise and support a wider knowledge exchange programme.

Organisations may connect to the Pagero Online network using one of a variety of simple methods, with different levels of automation, depending on the nature and volume of transactions. Most connections can be completed in a matter of hours.

Once connected, the organisation can conduct transactions with everyone within the network.

Business Benefits of e-Transaction

It’s not often that the ‘greening’ of a business can also deliver many operational and economic benefits. In this case, using ‘touch-less’ electronic transactions processes, deliver efficiencies in many areas including:

  • Labour efficiency
  • Transactional efficiency
  • Consumable efficiency
  • Transportation efficiency
  • Cash cycle efficiency
  • Storage space efficiency

“It’s not often that the ‘greening’ of a business can also deliver many operational and economic benefits.”

Pagero serving Hewlett Packard across EMEA

Hewlett Packard is an example of a leading organisation for whom Pagero have improved sustainability and efficiency by eliminating paper from transactions with their partners. HP relies on Pagero to send e-documents in 23 EMEA countries. Implementing Pagero’s services has, for HP, contributed to extensive time-savings, a strong increase in cash flow and has helped HP gain high flexibility in a diverse market.

“The environmental aspect of e-invoicing is extremely important to HP and we have our own organization devoted to reducing our environmental impact in any way we can,” says Mr. Thomas Bonwetsch, Program Manager, EMEA e-Invoicing Program Direct Accounts, HP. “With Pagero, the invoice turnaround has been reduced. We know if an invoice has been successfully submitted or rejected. In the paper world, this process would take 7 days or more in comparison.”

In addition, successful results for HP have included:

  1. Increased control and security of all outbound invoices
  2. All legal requirements fulfilled in all countries
  3. Strong and positive increase in cash flow
  4. Strengthens HP’s offerings to the market

Read the full HP Pagero story

The average office worker is said to consume 10,000 sheets of A4 paper annually (4 boxes). Producing this paper and transporting it to the end customer consumes roughly 1 tree, 1200 litres of water, consumes energy and generates over 60 KG of CO2.

Electronic Transaction Legislation

In many global markets, electronic transactions are defined by government legislation. The level of legislation varies, from the simple mandate that government organisations themselves support electronic trade, through to laws that all transactions over a certain value or within certain industries must be transacted electronically.

Interestingly, developing countries such as those in Latin America are among the nations that have the highest level of adoption. This is heavily influenced by the more stringent legislation in those markets. Among world leader are Brazil, Chile, and Mexico who have similar adoption levels to the Nordic countries who have been pioneers of the technology.

“Implementing Pagero’s services has, for HP, contributed to extensive time-savings, a strong increase in cash flow and a high flexibility in a diverse market.”

Supporting Dubai’s Sustainable Development Initiative

In 2012, HH Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai launched the Green Economy for Sustainable Development Initiative.

The fifth track of the initiative is the green life track, which involves a set of policies and programs aimed at rationalising the use of natural resources as well as projects to recycle waste generated by commercial or individual uses. It also includes awareness-raising initiatives and environmental education.

The avoidance of paper use sits squarely within this track, and over the coming years, business in the UAE is likely to see continued steps, whether by initiative or legislation, to encourage business and governmental departments to eradicate paper from as many processes as possible. The Dubai Plan 2021 also emphasises the need to reduce both CO2 consumption and solid waste levels.

This article was originally published in “The state of Green Economy Report 2016” by Dubai Carbon.

Want to know more about how Pagero can help you reach you sustainability goals? Please contact the article writer for further discussions!