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Gira and sustainability
Report 2017

Paper Management Team Flyers, catalogues, brochures and stationery – in almost every company, a huge amount of paper is consumed. As a result, paper management is an indispensable component of any agenda for sustainable action. At Gira a special team concentrates on minimising paper consumption. They have their eye on all information material and other printed advertising material such as stationary and the many sheets of paper that printers, copiers and fax machines discharge every year. A total of 48.5 million sheets are used every year for Gira's various brochures and the catalogue. Annual internal consumption totals a staggering 6.4 million sheets of paper. It was therefore clear where Gira had to start: by switching catalogue and brochure production to paper made from renewable materials and heightening the awareness of all employees of how important it is for them to lower their own paper consumption, it was possible to lower the environmental impact considerably.

ENVIRONMENT


PEOPLE


BUSINESS

PROJECT COMPONENTS

Promotion of the Gira online catalogue and the PDF versions of brochures and the catalogue.

Boosting awareness of the topic of paper consumption/Promoting paper-saving projects

Optimisation of advertising material production:
Reduction of the catalogue circulation by 15,000/Use of environmentally friendly paper

Switching to recycled paper No sooner said than done – in the meantime Gira has already achieved a great deal in this respect. Instead of using different types of paper for printing the Gira brochures, the company now almost only uses environmentally-friendly paper. This affects around 6.5 million sheets of paper every year. To this purpose the Gira Paper Management Team joined forces with the design agency in charge of the brochures to actively search for alternatives. "Together with the designers, we looked at a range of environmentally friendly paper types. After all, in addition to ecological criteria, we had to make sure that the desired quality and printing results were maintained," explains Julia Jäger, Member of the Marketing Department. After the initial selection and selective printing tests in small print runs, the choice fell to a specific paper. "There are very high-quality types of recycled paper available today. Differences to conventional paper are no longer noticeable," states Julia Jäger with satisfaction. Recycled paper has already been found for the Gira catalogue that is FSC / PEFC certified and that is made of 100 percent recycled paper.

PROJECT TEAM


Julia Jäger
[Advertising Project Manager]



Julian Bruns [Member of the
the Sales Marketing Team]

Fig. left: Julia Jäger has been working as Advertising Project Manager since 2010. Julian Bruns has been working in Sales Marketing since 2010 and is also responsible for sending mailings to customers.

Lowering paper consumption At the same time, Gira is also looking at lowering paper consumption. "The current ordering behaviour of specific customer groups shows that paper advertising materials are no longer absolutely necessary. Digital alternatives are also widely used," states Julian Bruns, Member of the Sales Marketing Team and also in charge of sending mailings to customers. "We are also following various optimisation approaches in this respect." One good example is the Gira catalogue. It was possible to considerably lower the number of printed items in favour of the Gira online catalogue and the PDF version. An increasing number of customers, especially architects and wholesalers, now prefer to use the online catalogue or the PDF version. For this reason Gira has created the option for customers to inform us before the catalogue is shipped whether they would like to continue receiving the printed version. It will therefore only be sent if it is actually required. Responses from customers also help keep our address database up to date. The number of
catalogues that are sent back can then be lowered considerably. The success of optimisation has been tremendous: The print run of the catalogue dropped by 15,000 from 2013 to 2015. In this way alone, Gira managed to lower its paper consumption by more than six million sheets. It was also possible to offset the CO₂ emissions of catalogue production in 2015 by supporting a climate protection project in the region [Bergwald Project Werdohl, combined climate protection certificate with gold standard].

"The ordering behaviour of specific customer groups shows that paper advertising materials are no longer absolutely necessary."

Julian Bruns,
[Member of Sales Marketing]

Replacing and saving internal paper The paper that is used during normal business is also a significant item which can be saved and optimised by using ecologically sound alternatives to improve Gira's environmental impact. At the beginning, the company took a look at the status quo. This revealed that Gira already used paper that has two important environmental certificates. "We want to achieve a higher level of recycling and are therefore looking at alternatives," explains Julian Bruns. "We are also looking at other items such as business cards, envelopes and labels and have been looking for suitable new paper types," he adds. An essential element of sustainability is considering our own paper consumption and reducing it as far as possible. To heighten the awareness of employees of the necessity to lower their own paper consumption, in November 2013 the first "Save Paper" campaign month was organised in the form of a competition between the departments – with several very positive results. Additional selected projects focusing on saving paper are to follow to ensure that employees remain conscious of responsible use of paper in the long term.

PROJECT PLAN

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Gira and sustainability
Report 2017