My Paperless Pledge

Not too long ago, I instituted a paperless policy for my office – I have another hat I wear as a start-up and company consultant – where, as far as possible, I’d force my clients to go paperless as well.

There is no reason to get something printed out on paper when the electronic version was and is the original document of authority. For example, an ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority) confirmation on a successful registration of a company is sent via email, and there is absolutely no need to print it out to make it any more successful.

Yet, every single audit firm (and their staff) that I know insist on photocopying or printing these things, because they need to verify the document’s authenticity and originality. This is what I will never understand. But since they’re doing a job for clients of mine (and they’re paid by my clients), I can’t do much except charge them 10 cents for every page printed.

Then there was this client who insisted on having paper invoices sent to him even though he had computers and a working email account, because he claimed that IRAS, ACRA and his auditors required him to collect and keep original paper invoices.

So I told him that IRAS and ACRA had no such rule, and “keeping of accurate records” did not mean that they had to be paper records. He disagreed, and terminated our services for another provider who happily gave him as much paper as he liked.

There are so many tools available to SMEs to keep everything accurately and safely stored in the cloud that there really is no excuse these days to keep files and reams of paper in the office. With this year’s introduction of FAST internet bank transfers, posting a cheque to pay for a bill is becoming a mere excuse to pay that bill late(r).

Detractors point to the dangers of online fraud as a reason not to adopt electronic transfers, even if it’s clear that it’s easier to forge a cheque than to escape the various electronic trails that precede and follow an internet banking transaction.

So, I actually made this “Paperless Pledge” a year ago, and despite getting fired by one client, I’m determined to keep this policy intact. I’m glad to even report that I’m looking for ways to terminate my hire-purchase of my office multifunction printer because we now use it so infrequently.

If you’ve got a similar pledge to mine, let me know, and together we can help plant trees instead of killing them. This is just a small choice to make – whether you print something out or not – but it can make a world of difference.

Make a wish and take the Pledge for Change with me and Kleenex Singapore – You can submit your pledges on Kleenex Singapore’s Facebook Pledge App (https://www.facebook.com/kleenexsg/app_283737521804501). For every 20 wishes placed on the Kleenex Wishing Tree, a real tree will be planted.

Climate Change Is A Matter Of National Security

Children under shelter

A super cyclone lashes the low lying Padma delta region, wiping out scores of villages and rendering millions of people homeless. The refugees who are able to start streaming onto higher ground, into already clogged and crowded cities like Chittagong and Kolkatta. And since we’re talking about millions of people – it becomes a catastrophe of unprecedented proportions.

Over here in Singapore, we’re still only just complaining about 2 months without rain, and the haze compelling us to spend the rest of our time indoors. We empathise and send aid in the form of cash, food and clothing. Burma and India start to ask for aid because they can’t cope with the influx of millions. Bangladesh is on its knees as disease begins to take hold of everything that isn’t in the massive exodus.

Then it happens – the tens of thousands of low wage workers from Bangladesh and the Kolkatta region refuse to repatriated after their contracts expire, because they have no homes to return to. The UN bars Singapore from repatriating anyone newly classed as Climate Refugees. And that, is how climate change will become a matter of national security. Read more and start to do something.

Wear blue to go green this Saturday

350org

They showed that 350 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere is the safe limit for humanity.

The bad news is we’re already past that number – we’re at 390 parts per million, which is why the Arctic is melting, why drought is spreading across the planet, why humanity is facing perhaps its greatest challenge ever.

The good news: that number gives us a target to aim for.

If you’re free Saturday between 8am and 3pm, join in the activities for the International Day of Climate Action, beginning with the aerial photograph (using a boom lift, not a fuel guzzling helicopter or other aircraft) of hopefully hundreds of people forming the number 350 at Hong Lim Park.

More details of the day’s activities can be found here.

Renewable entitlement

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I have to admit to enjoying watching Top Gear even though in this day and age, it really is wrong to enjoy fossil-fuel burning and carbon emitting activity but I suppose just watching is ok and if the world ends just blame the organisers.

Having said that, I boldly propose that the organisers of all motor-racing activity have a carbon-emission cap as one of their race rules – so that this 100% electric sports car, the Electric Lightning, can be one of the entrants.

0-60mph in 4 seconds, 700 bhp and 200 miles on a single charge says its something worth considering if you still like your car to be fast and mean while being eco-conscious. Only thing is, electric cars are a lot quieter, and you’ll have to use the “programmable external engine sound generator” to make it sound like a regular carbon emitting sports car.

And I’m also hoping that Top Gear comes round and starts featuring electrics instead of, as this Guardian article reports, “racing a G-Wiz electric car against a table”.