Guest post by Luis Alves Monteiro, European Marketing & Strategy Manager, Xerox Large Enterprise Operations

The success of sustainability in your day-to-day business world depends on many decisions made by individuals at a personal level. It follows that having the knowledge to make good choices is essential for your sustainability strategy. It’s also part of the problem.

Most employees embrace the idea of sustainability in general, and within organizations, there may be sustainability “fanatics” who carry it to its limits. But in between the idea and the extreme action, there’s the “mass middle” that doesn’t necessarily carry sustainable behavior into daily routines.

Closing this “sustainability gap” calls for better interaction about choices and their impact. Yet that’s an impractical if not impossible task, because a company would have to engage with hundreds and even thousands of employees on a daily basis.

Now enterprises can achieve the same result with technology. Even better, that technology can track and analyze behavior of many business users simultaneously. Xerox, for example, has just announced Greener Intelligence, which offers tools and services to automate this habit-forming encouragement.

The Psychology of Sustainability
Without question, sustainable business practices, like reducing paper consumption and energy use by output devices, improve the environment, but results depend on the long-term behavior of the people involved. Therefore, lasting change requires behavior change, but not just that. It also requires a shift in mindset that makes sustainable action the norm, not the exception.

Sustainable change is not about being exceptional. This guy who separates trash is admirable because he’s doing all the right behaviors, but he’s the exception. Many organizations are still in the mode of making participation an example of exceptional behavior.

When the engagement is based on compliance or a one-off campaign push, we follow the rules and forget about it until the next time. “We must reduce print output by 30 percent.” Goal met. Objective filed away.

Habit-forming Sustainability
People intend to be sustainable and make better print choices, but unless it becomes part of their everyday routines, it’s not likely to happen. When sustainability is presented as personal choice backed by repeated motivation, it becomes habit. It becomes normal behavior, and normal behavior is sustainable behavior.

Xerox Greener Intelligence helps enterprises cultivate everyday sustainability in the workplace. It includes encouraging gamification, customizable tips and useful analytics. With its daily personal dashboard of tracking, motivation and tips, individual print habits and goals become familiar and routine. And that leads to something that really is exceptional – results.