Less paper. More technology.

Nov 07 2016

Take a second and think about the world’s remarkable innovations that were discovered in the past 20 years. I think we can all agree that the internet is clearly holding the first place and is shortly followed by the computers and the mobile technology. But what all of these have in common? Why they all have been developed in the past two decades? Here is a clue: more people born, more resources needed, more innovative solutions discovered.


Population growth has both advantages and disadvantages

Some might say overpopulation is either bad or good, but let’s not jump to conclusions. The growing population phenomenon is clearly in the grey area. The advantages include economic growth, longer life expectancy due to medical discoveries and innovative social concepts to serve the masses. On the other hand, it leads to resource shortages, property shortages and deforestation.

With a global population of almost 7.5 billion people and expecting to reach around 9.7 billion by 2050 it is mandatory to take action to find an equilibrium between the two sides. A solution is to use the advantages to overcome the disadvantages, but let me be more explicit on that. How about using the internet and the technological innovations to transmit any kind of information without using the old, basic paper.


Deforestation needs to be kept under control

As deforestation is a real concern, let’s think of what drives this trend. In order to reduce the housing shortages, we need to create more properties, but that means more land which in the end means cutting down trees. Another cause is the commercial activity which implies harvesting timber to create consumer items such as paper and furniture. Living without furniture is not really an option, so let’s cut down the use of paper then.

The current paper consumption per capita is 57 kg and considering the current population of 7.5 billion people, we reach to 427 million metric tons of paper per year. Going back to the population growth, let’s redo the calculation. As we expect 9.7 billion people to inhabit Earth by 2050 and considering the current consumption per capita, we end up with 552 million metric tons per year.

If that is not enough of a trigger to start saving on paper I don’t know what is!

Put technology to use

In order to retain the current paper wastage we need to limit ourselves to 43 kg or less of paper per capita for the next 34 years. Ok, now that we are aware of the objective, let’s find a solution.

We live in a world where all kinds of collaborative, social and interactive platforms have been developed in order to reduce the time and the cost of getting in touch with a family member, a friend or a complete stranger situated on the other side of the globe. In the last decade, the wiki technology has experienced an uplift due to the increase attention of companies on being more productive by using less resources to achieve better results.

Using a collaborative tool to share reports, proposals and presentations drastically reduces the need of using printed materials, which in the end slows down the process of producing paper. A small change in the pattern of modern living can have a huge effect on the environment. This concept has been named by Edward Lorenz, a mathematician and the pioneer of chaos theory, as the "butterfly effect".


XWiki is one of the solutions

XWiki offers a wide range of powerful standard tools that will enable you to create, organise and find content. Moreover, all the pages are making use of some default features such as history, versioning and rollback. Are you usually printing your Excel or Word reports to give it to your managers? If yes, let me give you two options to reduce the paper wastage.

The first option is to import any Microsoft Office or Open Office document and transform it into a wiki page. This can be done by creating a new page and choosing the import option as shown below.

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The second option it to attach your files to any page that you would like. Moreover, your colleagues can write comments, attach their own materials and create annotations.

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You can check out XWiki Demo for yourself and see how we can help you manage and structure your information while protecting the environment. On the other hand, you can always mass import your documents. Here are some examples of mass imports done and used on production wikis:

EMC, making pre-sales documents more accessible:

  • Number of documents imported: 50 000 + other hundreds every night;
  • Import success : more than 99% (import feature is limited to Open Office Server and its ability to open files).

Fidelia assistance, better organize the company knowledge:

  • Number of documents imported: 900 documents
  • Import rate: 100%

As you can see, big companies are already taking steps in reducing the paper consumption and saving the environment. You can do it too by contacting us to see how you can transfer your physical data to virtual data!

George Nikolic
Marketing Specialist@XWiki