In an important step towards institutional sustainability, the Yale Department of Finance has saved approximately $60,000, and 300,000 sheets of paper. This is the first year that the Yale Financial Report went paperless, a decision that University Controller Cary Scapillato suspects to be part of a larger trend among peer institutions, noting that “Other universities from the Ivy Plus group have their financial reports on their websites as well, and while I usually receive their annual reports in the mail, I haven’t seen as many this year.”
Making the transition to paperless financial reports may appear a relatively simple move, but it carries impressive benefits and serves as a great example of what careful reassessment of basic practices—in all departments—can achieve. Not only does the decision to go paperless decrease resource use (in years past, Finance printed between 8,000 and 10,000 copies of the financial report), it also streamlines an entire system of information dissemination. Sidestepping the logistics of organizing and mailing the thousands of reports, and hiring an outside writer to develop a theme, the Finance Department saves on paper, ink, energy, human labor, and money—all consistent with the University’s Sustainability Strategic Plan.
Determined parties are still able to request, for $8, a hard copy of the report’s 36 pages. Even here, Finance went to extra lengths to ensure that their report has as low an environmental impact as possible, exploring several different printing vendors until settling on one that uses 100% recycled paper, and wind power, for the job. The report is just as easily accessed by a personal computer—individuals interested in viewing the 2009-2010 financial report can visit the Office of the Controller website, and think twice, as the Finance Department did, about the necessity of printing each page.