Adopt a closed-loop paper use policy


Segment    Family    Class




SDG Alignment

12. Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns

UN SDG Target


Target Description

By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.

Level of Effort

Level of Effort Scale


1 -Quick Wins: solution involves adding criteria for the good or service being purchased (ex: certifications), minimal internal process changes.

2 -Long Term Adoption: solution requires some changes to internal processes and/or more capital investment (ex: digital transformation to reduce paper use).

3 – Disruptive Opportunities: requires significant investment and changes to internal processes (ex: retrofitting building)

Category Assessment


• Assess the current spend paper products, paper services (collection and shredding), confidentiality requirements of paper being collected, the volume of paper managed, percentage of paper being recycled, and related procurement contracts maintained. (Tools to calculate your paper's environmental impact is linked in the references)

Opportunity Identification 

With centralized paper procurement and services (less indirect spend on contract management), all parties can benefit from maximizing a commodity's value by creating a circular economy and visibility into confidential documents' disposal.

Reduced paper waste, and better privacy policies - higher scope.

Strategy Build & Execution

• Create a flowchart that maps the complete supply chain from paper procurement, use, and disposal, including critical suppliers (paper suppliers, waste management, shredding services).

• Identify consolidation opportunities (ex: group offices by geographic location) for the paper supply chain.

• Identify target suppliers in the market that offer closed-loop paper services, approach local suppliers with an Request for Information (RFI) to evaluate their potential to adapt to a closed-loop paper system, and determine if you want separate suppliers for the logistics and collection segment.

• Create policies and requirements for privacy depending on your company needs, develop a logistics plan for collecting paper at different office sites (if applicable), plan to negotiate a discounted rate for 100% recycled paper that your company has provided the raw materials.

Supplier Negotiation & Contract

• Leverage raw material procurement, long-term contract, and sole-sourced or single-sourced business with suppliers in exchange for a paper discount.

• Consider working with a local paper supplier to build their capacity to create such a circular economy and leverage this sustainable business creation for a discounted rate.

• Confirm privacy policies, visibility into paper processing, quality management, the turnaround time for orders, and the opportunity to sell or receive credits for providing excess paper as raw material (part of a circular system).

Supplier Performance & Management

• Maintain records of purchases, inventory costs, usage rates, and average inventory levels. Track the savings from implementing a closed-loop paper use policy.

• Perform a annual reviews with internal stakeholders after the program has been implemented to discuss benefits and challenges. Evaluate the commercial impact of the new paper policy.

Resource Links


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