The South Pacific Division (SPD) headquarters at Wahroonga has saved close to $A100,000 on photocopying and booklets since introducing a paperless meeting system, a report to the Division year-end meetings has revealed.
According to the Secretariat Report, presented at last week’s meetings, more than 600 people are now using Convene paperless meeting software around the SPD. It provides users with digital access to meeting agendas, presentations and reports. Voting is also conducted online. The software was introduced at the Division office three years ago.
Paperless meetings are among a number of initiatives introduced to not only save costs but to reduce the SPD’s environmental impact.
Division general secretary Pastor Lionel Smith said when God created humans, He entrusted us with the care of His creation.
“Unfortunately, the impact of sin is de-creation and all around us we see evidence of that with destruction, devastation and death,” Pastor Smith said. “We still, however, have been entrusted as God’s stewards to care for others, ourselves and the environment. Part of this stewardship role is to be responsible for the way we use resources and to be focused on processes and ways to minimise damage to the environment while utilising new technologies to further advance the mission of the Church in preparing people for Christ’s soon coming. By doing so we are both honouring God as Creator and God as Saviour.”
The SPD’s People Services department has been especially proactive in taking steps to reduce its environmental footprint by banning plastic water bottles and single use plastic cups for meetings and events they host. Recycling has increased and staff are encouraged to use a “keep cup” for hot drinks instead of disposable cups. They are also encouraged to reduce travel where possible and use video conferencing instead. The department has removed all plastic plants and replaced them with living plants to clean the air and promote wellbeing. Another project that will soon launch is giving all new employees a reusable water bottle on their first day.
“The team in People Services believes we have a God-given responsibility both individually and corporately to care for all that He has created,” People Services general manager David Potter said.
“Some of the things we are doing may seem trivial or insignificant, but by taking action the team is more aware of and committed to being good stewards and are now always on the lookout for other initiatives to reduce our environmental impact.”
LED lighting, which is up to 80 per cent more efficient than traditional lighting, is being introduced as part of a refurbishment of the Division office in 2020. Investigations are also underway into solar energy options.
In addition to these initiatives, the SPD contributes almost $A500,000 per year maintaining and regenerating bushland on the Wahroonga Estate.
ACA Health Benefits Fund, which operates from the SPD office, is also working towards paperless communication by using email where possible to connect with members instead of paper and postage.