3 ways to make your annual report greener (cheaper, too)

SEC requirements aside, there are smarter ways to distribute all that information.

SEC requirements aside, there are smarter ways to distribute all that information

U.S. businesses use about 21 million tons of paper yearly. They help make about 750,000 photocopies a day. The amount of paper that gets trashed each year is enough to build a 12-foot wall from Los Angeles to New York.

One culprit may be the annual report. That expensive, 50-something-page, full-color, glossy book that you slave over every year and send to investors worldwide. It’s a necessary evil, required in part by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and by years of tradition, complete with important yearly financial numbers, company information, and lots of pictures and charts.

It is possible, though, to make it less of a burden on the environment and the company bank account. Some companies and nonprofits have started to move away from the traditional annual report to something that delivers all the required information, but is more innovative, better for the environment, and a lot cheaper.

Take Stantec, a sustainable infrastructure and facilities project consulting company. Communicators rethought the company’s annual report last year. It cut down on the number of pages, sent it to fewer people, posted it to its Web site, used recycled paper and vegetable-based inks, and saved almost $60,000.

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