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A Fraser Health pilot project standardizes sustainable printing

Last fall, as part of its larger Climate Change Strategy, Fraser Health’s Population and Public Health (PPH) department undertook its very first IT sustainability project: changing the default settings on printers to double-sided and black-and-white printing.

While this might seem like a small change, the project has many benefits. Less ink, energy, and paper usage means cost savings, and less waste.

Paper is a heavy and bulky product that uses considerable water and fossil fuel resources in its supply chain from production through to shipping and receiving. Reducing paper usage in the health authority will have an impact by reducing the amount being transported overall, thereby reducing carbon emissions. As well, Fraser Health and other health authorities pay annual carbon offsets for paper used. By reducing paper usage, this initiative will help to lower these payments.

This pilot program is a joint effort between IT and the PPH team. PPH team leads are helping to identify printers and communicate the project to staff, while IT has identified the process for default settings and will provide quarterly evaluations. The PPH project lead is coordinating the efforts of PPH and IT and supporting the evaluation process.

It is still early days but we look forward to sharing more and were pleased that we were able to engage IT in the process,” says Fraser Health Public Health Consultant Darryl Quantz.

The change was implemented in October 2022 and so far, it’s been smooth sailing. Through thoughtful communication and engagement with PPH team leads and staff, there’s been no impact to regular business and patient care.

The project demonstrates that a new, more sustainable way of doing things doesn’t have to be the result of individuals making smart choices. Instead, structures and systems can be changed to support the health of the planet. Updating the printer settings signals to everyone that eco-friendly is just the standard.