Saad Al Dosari
Thursday 28 June 2012
Last Update 28 January 2013 3:53 pm
I HAVE a friend who insists on printing drafts of the same letter repeatedly for the purpose of reviewing and correcting before reaching the final version of that letter. Why is he doing that instead of editing the letter on the computer is beyond me! A hopeless case, he seems unable to process the fact of how damaging his actions might be for the environment. Worse yet, he seems to be very content with the title I decided to give him: The tree murderer.
This and many other small and simple environmentally responsible actions seem to fall entirely out of our personal and professional radar. Whenever echo-friendly initiatives are thought of in the business world, the mind automatically shifts toward the big initiatives we usually read about or see on TV. Something like offices powered by solar energy, or factories cutting off greenhouse effect gas emissions. But whatever directly falls under our control, we simply choose to ignore. Lack of knowledge or plain indifference, it just does not occupy any fraction of our conscious while going about our daily activities.
The whole world is undeniably facing many pressing environmental challenges. For Saudi Arabia, according to some studies, it comes as the 15th largest consumer of primary energy. Now relate that to our population and compare it to other countries with a higher population to realize how terrible our energy consumption is!
So, are there any initiatives that we could adopt in our offices to minimize our impact on the environment? The answer is yes, simple yet effective ones. Firstly, less paper consumption: Despite the huge developments in computing and data storage systems, we seem be in love with multiple paper copies. We like the feel of them between our hands, we like to decorate them with our signatures, and we like to archive them. The real irony is that even when we automate our processes, there are still papers to be printed for signing and stamping. Thus the least we could do is to use recycled paper. Keeping in mind that the ultimate green paper is no paper at all.
The other initiative concerns electricity conservation. Have you noticed how many offices, rest rooms, and even complete buildings are lit for 24/7 without any apparent need? Furthermore, It is normal to leave your desktop up and running when you take your lunch break, it is normal that air conditioning is working over the weekend although no one is present in the office. In an American study, powering computers in workplaces costs about one billion dollar annually. Not only this, but computers are also responsible of 3 to 4 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. The surprise is that cutting the power off these machines whenever not in use (e.g. breaks, weekends, etc.) could save up to 70 percent of their energy costs.
There are many more examples of how to conserve energy. Think of energy saving office designs, or even working from home to cut down energy and air pollution. These are some possible and easily applicable initiatives. However, it is the culture, the sense of saving the environment that we need to build up first.
Saad Al Dosar