For a couple of weeks last year, I temped in an office in midtown Manhattan. It was a great place: I enjoyed my work, got a kick out of my co-workers, and loved the free coffee. In fact, the only part that I didn't like was the incredible waste of paper.
One of the office printers was in my workspace, which meant that I was able to keep a running tally of the huge amounts of paper that the company threw away. In fact, since I often found myself refilling the printer, I soon realized that it was going through the better part of a ream of paper a day, most of which ended up in the small wastebasket positioned just to the right of the printer. My office mate, who was even more rabidly earth-conscious than I, often grumbled mutinously about instituting a paper quota, charging people for the sheets that they wasted, and using other draconian measures that would save the planet and mortify his coworkers.
Thanks to Xerox, it doesn't need to come to that. The company recently unveiled a "sustainability calculator" that enables users to evaluate the amount of energy and supplies that they consume, maximize the use of their existing equipment, and reduce their overall expenditures. In fact, by trying out the software as it was being developed, Northrop-Grumman Aerospace was able to reduce its number of office machines by almost half.
Xerox doesn't anticipate that it will lose much business because of the new calculator, as a reduction in machines will translate into an increase in service work. In addition to that, by enabling customers to maximize their resources, Xerox will make itself far more attractive to its customers. After all, if I was given a choice, I'd definitely go with the company that helps me save money and reduce my environmental impact.
Who'd have thought that a copying company could be leading a charge for green business?