How digitalisation supports corporate social responsibility (CSR)

The need to demonstrate a genuine commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) undoubtedly influences business decisions across the board. (Almost) every business wants to improve the efficiency of business processes, the security of transactions, but also sustainability. And there are countless ways this can be done.

Buying and selling in the business market involves a lot of communication between parties, which often results in a sea of ​​business documents in any number of formats, stored in any number of locations and delivered in a variety of ways. One method better (for the company and the world) than the other.

Remove paper with digitization
Did you know that a single tree yields an average of 10,000 sheets of paper? Every business knows all too well how quickly business documents can pile up. With the exchange of more than 1 billion documents a year via the FLOW Partner Automation platform, more than 100,000 trees are saved on an annual basis!

With the abolition of paper comes the abolition of printing. Toner, ink and even printers themselves require the use of harmful chemicals during the manufacturing process. Everything is made of plastic. Each toner cartridge emits about 3.2 kg of CO2, and due to their composition, it takes between 500 and 1,000 years for both ink and toner cartridges to decompose. And even though 97% of each cartridge can be recycled, over 50% still end up in the landfill.

Automation and sustainability
Unfortunately, the more traditional document exchange solutions – often around semi-digital – are still paper dependent or heavily dependent on insecure email communications (or in many cases a combination of both).

In addition to the fact that the use of paper, toner and ink cartridges is bad for the environment and does not contribute to a company’s efforts to reduce its CO2 footprint, the use of paper also means that automation is not possible. There will always be someone involved.

This means that these solutions are not sustainable from an efficiency point of view. This also applies to solutions that do not necessarily use paper, but use unreliable data capture techniques (such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR), a technology used to recognize text characters in PDF files and convert them into searchable and readable data) – always involve a human being in any form.

Safety and compliance
80% of cyber attacks take place through the supply chain, and relying on insecure email to exchange transaction documents with business partners makes you vulnerable to these attacks. Therefore, these partly digital solutions are also not durable from a security point of view.

We can also say with certainty that these solutions are not sustainable when it comes to compliance, such as the need to meet e-billing obligations in Europe, or the ability to adapt to different EDI standards in North America.

Choose 100% digitization
It is not often that an initiative affects as many areas as the digitalisation of document exchange, while providing a solution to improve the efficiency of business processes and meet compliance now and in the future. However, the results depend on the solution you choose.

If you look at CSR and sustainability in a broader sense and link it to top priorities that many companies have, a only partially digital solution is not enough to ensure these priorities. You can only achieve this with a 100% digitization solution that can support long-term business priorities.

Find out how FLOW can help you with this.

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