"Green Fatigue" and paper addiction impede environmental progress

Research shows paper waste up and environmental concern down

Research conducted by Loudhouse on behalf of Kyocera has shown that levels of environmental concern among the UK’s office workers have fallen over the past two years, while the amount of printing carried out has increased.

The survey into attitudes to printing and the environment among UK office staff and IT Managers, shows that the average office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of paper per year, of which 6,800 are considered to be “wasted”. Forty percent of respondents described themselves as “paper people” indicating that despite the increasing availability of alternative technology such as tablet PCs and e-readers our love affair with the printed page is far from over.

The percentage of UK employees stating that they were personally concerned about environmental issues fell from a peak of 77% in 2008 to 63% in 2010. When asked specifically about the issue of climate change, the figures were even starker, with concern down to 50% from 65% in 2008.

Environmental focus
Despite the drop in personal environmental concern, the survey showed some encouraging signs that environmental responsibility is becoming ingrained in the corporate, if not in the personal, psyche. The economic downturn appears to have had little negative effect on environmental initiatives being carried out by organisations, with 25% of respondents stating that they had actually carried out more environmental activities than originally planned as a result of a focus on reducing energy costs. It was also considered easier to get environmental policies onto the IT planning agenda in 2010 compared with 2008 with 41% finding support from management easier to achieve. Furthermore, 65% of IT Managers confirmed that they are now required to report on the IT performance of their networks, although only 49% had actually conducted an energy audit.

Smart investment
Cost remains the primary driver in IT investment for the majority of organisations , but environmental considerations are considered “important” in 35% of businesses. This is a strong indication of the alignment between cost-saving and energy-saving initiatives that has occurred over the past 18 months.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Kyocera’s Director of Brand and Reputation Tracey Rawling Church said: “It’s clear that office workers are suffering an element of “green fatigue” when it comes to personal environmental concern. But what is more encouraging is the increase in environmental activity being driven from the corporate level. High environmental reporting requirements on IT performance encourage those responsible to prioritise investment in energy-saving technology.”

The Kyocera/Loudhouse research has been carried out in three of the last four years. To read the full research please download the PDFs in the right-hand tool bar.

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