Are you sure?

Printing policies at global companies

Printing seems to be past its heyday as companies of many industries and sizes have found it is no longer necessary to conduct all of their business using physical documents. With the prevalence of digital alternatives, some have actually introduced paper-free offices.

Besides the benefits of cost, environmental aspects also come into play. Companies are switching to recycled paper and refilling their cartridges instead of buying new ones. They often mandate double-sided printing and also reserve colors for special cases.

Of course, taking precautions about not leaving sensitive documents lying about is also a considerable security concern. As such, companies have introduced sometimes strict policies limiting the use of their printers and keeping track of what their employees use the machines for. The BBJ asked five companies from different fields about their policies and if they had any good tips to share with others looking to cut back on spending, or simply reducing their environmental impact.


Diageo’s Budapest-based shared service center provides financial services to the company’s units around the world. Due to the nature of its activities, some documents absolutely have to be printed and kept, but Diageo is already using, for example, online faxing.

MFDs (multifunctional devices – copier, printer, scanner and fax machine in one) can be configured to require a personal PIN code when printing to ensure confidentiality. Diageo does not have specific rules for copying in the sense of cost saving, but it does push a green message. Employees are reminded regularly to use double-side and EconoMode printing options. All paper used in printers is ISO60 recycled paper and non-confidential papers are collected for recycling purposes.


The international accounting firm’s Hungarian operation uses 27 high-performance MFDs, placed in dedicated technical zones on each floor. PwC calls its workers’ attention to secure printing (using PIN code or password) with regular internal campaigns. Although it is not obligatory, secure printing is used in almost the whole company. Its machines are also set to store data for 48 hours and then to erase it. Double-side printing is the default setting at PwC as well. Recycled paper is available in each MFD, and the company also sends its paper waste for recycling. The maintenance service provider of PWC’s machines is contractually bound to take responsibility for the environmentally friendly disposal of depleted toners and machine parts.


The mobile telecoms operator also uses double-sided printing as the default setting in its office and is looking to reduce its environmental impact by using refilled printer cartridges or dedicated configurations for different departments.

E-maintenance is used since it allows users to make better use of their time through the automation of various processes. Vodafone enforces strict restrictions on printing. Every floor has a “printing island” where all documents are sent and these corridors can only be accessed with a keycard to ensure confidentiality.

Vodafone has for years used a system which involves scanning faxes to make administrative processes electronic and more efficient.

Budapest Bank

Budapest Bank has conducted a review of the number of color and black and white printers it has in operation and reduced their number greatly to achieve maximum efficiency. Preliminary calculations show a 20% savings margin from the review. The default configuration is black and white, two-sided printing. Color prints are only allowed in special cases. Every printing operation is linked to the use of an ID card, which is also used to keep track of employees’ printing habits.

Budapest Bank has introduced a system that converts every incoming paper-based correspondence to digital. Accordingly, all inter-department exchanges are conducted electronically, without any paper involved.


Cisco is also aiming to reduce its environmental impact through its printing practices. The firm’s printers are programmed to go into energy-saving mode when not in operation and only recycled paper is used. Though less strict, the company also has security policies on printing. Every job calls for a personal ID code (though no card) and while there are no limitations regarding quantity, using them for anything other than business purposes is forbidden.

The company also adheres to the spreading practice of limiting all correspondence to electronic channels by digitizing printed documents instead of photocopying or creating pdf files to be sent to recipients instead of physically printing them. (Andrea Fazekas - Gergő Rácz)