Bit Miles: How Company Reports Hurt the Planet

paper instructions

Just after introducing the idea of “Bit Miles” I went to a great session by David Douglas, who heads up Sun’s eco-efforts. I could have got about 50 greenmonk posts out of his one hour session, but to just call out one insight we should applaud Sun’s decisions to get out of the needless dead tree-shipping business in creating its annual report. Other Fortune 500 companies please take note.

According to Douglas Sun is on a relentless mission to reduce the amount of paper it uses. For example its not going to send out any mail to folks attending Java One… But it was the facts on company reports that really caught my attention.

The SEC’s decision that companies don’t need to print annual reports is fantastic.

Sun just stopped printing 99million sheets of paper. That’s 11000 trees, and millions of gallons of fresh water.

Actually i need to check this with Dave – sounds too high for one company, even with many shareholders. But think about it. How many company reports are just skimmed. We have a responsibility to take this once a year communication online.


  1. says

    Absolutely, didn’t Jonathan Schwartz apply to the SEC to be allowed to file the SEC filings through his blog last year? And the SEC said ‘ok’

    There is no reason why annual reports couldn’t be printed in a similar manner. And with the financials, use XBRL and everyone’s happy!

  2. says

    As I head off to NYC tomorrow for a conference on Business and the Sustainability Challenge, you’ve set me thinking how a moratorium on paper schedules, playbills, conference guides and agendas could really have a tremendous impact in the context of business and entertainment events. Imagine if NYC stopped printing Playbills and started using electronic marquees. Celebrity endorsement of such a moratorium doesn’t sound so far fetched: “all the news that’s best not to print”. And yes, these kind of thought-jogging contents do up the ante making it considerably difficult to ignore the bits.

  3. says

    hey marilyn i am glad i had an impact. in order to help me scale that impact please consider using the idea bit miles in your conversations on the subject…