Taking a step back often helps in getting perspective, which is essential to move forward. This is why I want to take you through the green accomplishments that we at YPG are most proud of. For the past two years, we have been implementing the Changing the World, One Step at a Time program developed in collaboration with Équiterre, a leading environmental organization in Quebec. So far we have completed 25 of the 31 initiatives in the Équiterre plan. Here is a roundup of our 2011 seasonal highlights:
Winter – Assessing our carbon footprint
Every winter, we ask our suppliers, employees and building managers to help us measure our carbon footprint for the previous year. In 2010, YPG reduced its carbon footprint by 17%! See our recent blog post for more on our carbon footprint.
Spring – Out with the old, In with the new
Instead of clearing out those dust bunnies, in April we converted most of our office printers at YPG to print double-sided paper by default. This project increased the rate of double-sided sheets being printed by 150%. This follows a series of initiatives such as paperless ad creation over the last three years which have reduced internal paper use by 15%.
Summer – The season to be social
Even if 89% of Canadians keep a directory at home, Yellow Pages Group understands that some people prefer digital alternatives. Therefore, the Company encourages those who do not wish to receive our printed directories to opt out of the print directory distribution. In March, we placed a clear call-out on the cover of all the directories promoting our opt-out program. We also spread the word via social media. In August, a few months before the distribution in Calgary, our social media community manager and local environmental groups informed Calgarians about our opt-out program via a Twitter campaign that went viral and prompted about 2,000 opt-out requests in 48 hours.
Fall – Changing patterns
Canadians are changing their local search information patterns and are now increasingly using digital alternatives such as YellowPages.ca or Canada411.ca. Our commitment to distribute responsibly by reflecting consumer demand and to continuously improve our manufacturing processes has resulted in various initiatives that lead us to reduce our directory paper consumption by 22% from 2010 to 2011 (a total reduction of 44% in 3 years!). One of the most significant reduction projects was to modify the territory covered by residential directories in Quebec and Ontario to reflect evolving consumer habits.
Environmental stewardship is a path
We’ve ended 2011 by attaining most of the goals set in our environmental plan. In 2012 and beyond, as we continue our digital transformation and as paper suppliers get increasingly efficient, it is foreseeable that our overall environmental impact will continue to decrease.
As one of the leading Internet companies in Canada (with over 9 million unique visitors per month for our sites) we will endeavour to better measure in 2012 (what gets measured gets managed) the direct and indirect environmental impact of searching on our online and mobile platforms.
For more information on our environmental program, please consult our website.