Paper or Plastic? Focusing on World Environment Day

Blog | June 5, 2018

Reading time: 2 min

Today is World Environment Day, according to the website which states, “Since its beginning in 1974, World Environment Day has developed into a global platform for raising awareness and taking action on urgent issues from marine pollution and global warming to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. Millions of people have taken part over the years, helping drive change in our consumption habits as well as in national and international environmental policy.”

green globe with text overlay reading paper or plastic

While this year’s focus is on reducing plastic pollution driven by consumer behavior, as head of Billtrust’s eAdoption efforts, I am going back to 2011 and the first World Environment Day challenge to create a forest. That year, celebrity Goodwill Ambassadors, Don Cheadle and Gisele Bündchen competed to gain more online support, and as a result she planted the first of 50,000 trees in Rio de Janeiro’s Grumari Municipal Park. Usually when a company wants to make changes to be a good environmental steward, it comes with a hefty price tag which is a tough sell to the finance team. In the spirit of World Environment Day, I have a way for you to be good to the planet, your customers and your profits, in other words, the triple bottom line.

The idea of the “triple bottom line” was created in 1994 by John Elkington, the founder of SustainAbility. He felt companies should not only look at the impact of profits, but how it also affects people and the environment or more simply, people, planet, and profit. As far as eAdoption goes, the people are both your accounts receivable (AR) employees and your customers.

One small change in how you do business with your customers can have huge impact in achieving these goals and create our own forest. By asking your customers to receive their invoices electronically and pay their invoices electronically you could not only save trees, but also reduce costs, and lower your DSO. Billtrust’s customers saved over 60,000 trees by driving electronic adoption with their own customers. On top of that, they saw an improvement in their customers' satisfaction due to the speed and easy accessibility from receiving invoices electronically. Their customers’ satisfaction also improved because they received their invoices fast and from anywhere.

How often do you think of finance teams being able to save the planet? If you haven’t, this one small change can have a huge environmental footprint and everyone seeing green.