Skip to main content


Volume 498: debated on Monday 26 October 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills for what reason the letter sent from Lord Davies of Abersoch to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak dated 12 October 2009, ref JB/148761, was printed on only one side of paper; if he will make it his Department’s policy to use two-sided printing for its correspondence; and whether he has made an estimate of the potential effects on his Department’s level of paper use consequent on the implementation of such a policy. (294771)

The vast majority of printers in use on the BIS estate are provided by our IT supplier as part of overall desktop services and the main infrastructure contract covering this provision has been in place for 10 years. Many of the printers supplied to the Department will be ‘user configurable’, as is the choice of which particular printer to use.

The Department is very conscious of the fact that the ‘cost of print’ offers many opportunities for efficiencies, both in the level of paper used and the corresponding cost of toners used. Aside from cost, there are also carbon footprint issues that can be addressed and the Department is fully committed to seeking efficiencies in both. As such, we already have a commitment to make more efficient use of printers. Staff are encouraged to use the double-sided printing option wherever possible and not to use colour printers as their default printer when colour is not required. Similarly, we encourage all staff to make better use of the Department’s internal reprographics services where this is appropriate to ensure that both printing and copying are undertaken in the most efficient way.

Going forward, the Department will be looking at options to audit our overall cost of print, ways in which printers are deployed across the estate, and the types that are used, so that we are better able to mandate particular usage.