Paper is a must in everyday life. It is an omnipresent support in the daily lives of companies and individuals. It allows to keep track, a support to consult ad vitam æternam for all. Whether in a book, a notebook, a record, a register or any other document, paper remains a medium that seduces. However, there is a question of information security, especially in a confidential context. How do I protect information that is on paper? We often talk about the internet, and the growing security offered by digital. But many companies choose to keep the paper alternative, for certain documents…
Paper, a timeless at the heart of digitalization in business
Paper is part of a thriving and dynamic industry. Worldwide, more than 300 million tons of paper are produced worldwide every year. Closer to home, in France, more than 84 factories deal with the manufacture of paper and cardboard. Locally, the best known is located in Biganos, near Bordeaux. A factory that has been involved in the paper industry for more than 100 years, and that puts the circular economy at the heart of its operation.
In business, paper remains a used and prized medium. To print contracts, brochures to distribute to customers or partners, catalogs, magazines… The printer, a strong symbol of the company, continues to run, despite the arrival of computers and technologies such as the Cloud, which allow secure storage of data.
But digital has the advantage of offering companies the possibility of formatting their document online, and then printing it. Once ready, the company can then print its documents online with binding,store them in a filing cabinet or in a pouch for archiving. Depending on the nature of the paper document, it can have several degrees of importance. This can be an internal document for employees, a customer file, meeting minutes, and many other types of papers…
In addition, certain documents must be kept imperatively by the company, in case of control. These are important documents, most often of a tax nature. The General Tax Code specifies in particular that a fine of € 10,000 is applicable “in case of absence of [des] keeping documents requested by the administration in the exercise of its right of communication or destruction of these before the prescribed deadlines.”
The end of paper documents within the company is therefore not for tomorrow, especially for official documents. But how can paper be better consumed within companies?
Confidentiality of the information in question
As discussed above, some documents must be in paper format, especially in the case of control. These are documents of a civil and commercial nature, such as commercial contracts, bank documents, to be kept for 5 years. Customs declarations are kept for 3 years. Customer or supplier invoices, contracts concluded electronically,commercial correspondence keep for 10 years… Just like books and accounting records.
This information in paper format is important, and is confidential. Just like the files that concern the clients. While since 2018, there has been talk of the General Data Protection Regulation, companies are obliged to comply with it… For their computerized documents, but also for all documents in paper format that contain personal information.
For companies that continue to use paper for sensitive information, especially about their customers, suppliers or partners… The processing of these documents must be carefully controlled. This involves methods of preservation, storage… But also the destruction process at the end of the maximum shelf life of 3 years.
In order to guarantee the security of this data, companies can then set up procedures. For example, closing the room with a key or pass, to which only authorized persons would have access. In large companies, this avoids losses or thefts, especially if there is a lot of passage. In addition, for archiving, entering all the information by computer makes it possible to classify all paper documents. This ensures a better follow-up in time of the files, but also the follow-up of the retention periods to remain in the legality.
Adopt a more responsible paper for its use in business
The issues of the circular economy, recycling and reuse are among the current issues, especially in companies. According to an ADEME study, a single employee throws away about 75 kg of paper per year. That’s the equivalent of 30 reams of paper. On a national scale, the figures are even more impressive: 900,000 tons of paper waste each year.
But since 2018, all companies with more than 20 employees are forced to recycle all their officewaste. Companies specialize in the collection, destruction and recycling of this office waste, to create new papers. Recycled paper, reusable at will, which brings many advantages.
Worldwide, 40% of deforestation is due to the production of new paper. An alarming figure, which many companies want to see decrease, or even disappear. Only 50% of this paper is recycled, but each ton of recycled paper avoids the destruction of 2.5 tons of wood.
According to ADEME, recycling your paper makes it possible each year in France to avoid the release into the atmosphere of 390,000 tons of CO2. Recycled paper is also much less energy intensive. It requires up to 5 times less energy and water than conventional paper. And in order not to stop there, recycling paper in a company also creates jobs. According to the Professional Federation of Recycling Companies, this represents a market of more than 28,000 jobs throughout the country. Paper is therefore not about to disappear, but it is transforming to meet current challenges. To be part of a responsible and sustainable approach, in France, but also in the world.
“Paper consumption in business” Article Les Joyeux Recycleurs
“Key figures of the paper industry 2019” COPACEL figures
“Smurfit Kappa Cellulose from Biganos Pine”
“Companies, how long should you keep your documents?” Article from the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Recovery published on May 7, 2021
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