Information ManagementFax

Cutting the environmental costs of fax

Fax remains the secure communications backbone for healthcare, finance, government and other industries around the world. Each year, fax machines consume roughly 200 billion pieces of paper. The environmental and financial costs associated with that level of fax activity are significant.

While digital transformation is traditionally praised for boosting efficiency and cost savings, it also can deliver serious benefits for the environment. Fax communications are a prime example of the sort of win-win situation that digital transformation can deliver.

The road to your machines is filled with costs

It turns out that paper is a very efficient use of trees, which, when stewarded properly, are themselves a renewable resource. However, paper use isn’t just about cutting down trees and eventually throwing away or recycling the paper itself. There are plenty of associated environmental costs. Wood takes energy to harvest. And then it takes energy and consumable ingredients to turn wood—or recycle pulp—into sheets of paper. Once made, paper needs to be stored and transported along every step of the supply chain.

In the faxing process (either printing outgoing faxes or receiving incoming ones), those pieces of paper have images and words on them, which means ink or toner. That printing medium needs to be produced, packaged, sold and delivered around the world to the machines that use them. Analog fax machines are also notoriously prone to breakdowns—which means replacement parts.

On top of all of that, fax machines take electricity to run. Of course, that is certainly still true of the multifunction printers, computers and/or mobile devices you’ll be faxing through with a digital fax solution, but you’ll be using those anyway for other tasks. In contrast, a stand-alone fax machine serves no other purpose.

The average energy footprint of a single business fax machine is 84 kilowatt-hours per year, which translates to approximately 59.4 kilograms of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere, unless renewable energy is the rule in your area.

What can you do?

Two words: print less. Of course, that’s far easier said than done when it comes to fax—unless you digitally transform your workflows, and then it will happen automatically. Imagine receiving faxes that are delivered direct to their recipients’ workstations or mobile devices, then printed only on demand. Imagine anti-fax-spam protocols. Imagine data from faxes being digested with optical character recognition (OCR), parsed with artificial intelligence (AI) capture and then automatically plugged into relevant databases.

All of this is possible with modern digital fax solutions. This sort of transition doesn’t require your organization to swallow increased costs to protect the environment. In addition to providing savings on consumables, digital fax solutions can save staff time and completely eliminate the cost of fax phone lines—paying for themselves with efficiencies and savings.

Save the environment while saving money

While environmental considerations aren’t likely to be the deciding factor when organizations choose to jettison their fax machines, they’re one more good argument for doing so. OpenText offers several digital fax solutions to suit the needs of any organization: OpenText™ RightFax™ for organizations that like to keep things on-site, OpenText™ Fax2Mail™ for enterprises that prefer the cloud and OpenText™ XM Fax™ for small and medium-sized businesses (on-premises or cloud deployments).

Reach out to us to help decide which solution is right for your transition away from paper and into a more efficient faxing future.

Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson is a Senior Product Marketing Specialist covering the OpenText Digital Experience portfolio. He has been supporting B2B and B2C marketing for more than 11 years with work ranging from ingredients sold to some of the world’s top restaurants, to stock market deep learning algorithms, to the enterprise communications sector.

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