We would need four sheets of paper for a single print job. But not a single one today. In 2020, we switched our production to paperless, and saved a bunch of trees in the process.
Four sheets of paper for processing a single order — that’s around 8 million letter-sized sheets of paper (8.5″ by 11″) a year — used to travel across our production tables. Based on the paper printouts, our production staff knew what the product would look like. This was necessary since a production expert prints everything you order from us is by hand. The method is called print-on-demand, a resource-saving approach to manufacturing clothing without overstocking. In any case: we wanted to reduce our paper consumption. That was 2018.
From paper to pixel — with digital production processes
Back then, those “run sheets” showed our production experts in which color, size and design you wanted your product printed. These paper printouts were useful and convenient, but not particularly sustainable. After processing the order, they ended up in the waste-paper bin. Today, we’ve managed to switch to digital order processing at our five locations in Europe and the USA. And, of course, we still know what your customized product should look like.
The switch saves us over 38,350 kg of paper per year. With an average of 261 working days, that’s 320 lb (145 kg) per day, which in turn equates to almost 60 packs of 500 sheets of 80g/m² paper. A project team of software developers and production staff collaborated on getting rid of this huge mountain of paper for almost two years.
A lot of teamwork for less paper
The decision to go paperless meant that our tried-and-tested production processes had to be put through the paces. More often than not, for everyone involved this meant getting out of their comfort zone. Processes had to be rethought, structures changed, and software developed. A major challenge was to train production staff, and to answer questions like “Why do we need these new solutions?”, and “How do they work in practice and what exactly needs to be done?” A lot of communication and teamwork was required to introduce the new processes.
After countless meetings, training sessions, and coffee cups running on empty, the time had come in January 2020. Our paperless processes was launched globally! Today, our production processes require virtually no paper, and we only ever need paper for legal reaons such as custom clearance for international shipping and delivery bills in Europe. In the USA, we’re also able to dispense with the delivery bill and simply enclose a shipping label with the parcel. This saves us a lot of paper. But how do we manage to save exactly 767 trees per year?
Why exactly 767 trees?
A single tree can produce about 10,000 to 20,000 pieces of paper. On this basis, you can calculate how many sheets of paper can be taken out of one tree. The calculation is based on the size of a standard 45 foot (15 meter) pine tree grown for paper production.
Since we were able to reduce our paper consumption from 8 million to 330,000 sheets, this also means that we reduced our wood demand from 800 trees to 33 trees. That’s 767 trees saved. The paper we still need for the legally required documents is, of course, sourced from 100% sustainable forestry.
We’ll keep you updated on how we’ll be improving our sustainability measures. Let’s get more committed to a greener future!