Haas School of Business – Paper Saving Challenge

Haas School of Business Paper Saving Challenge

Manufacturing paper contributes to multiple environmental problems, such as air pollution, deforestation, habitat fragmentation, excessive waste production, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to human rights abuses. Surprisingly, the widespread implementation of electronic communication has not led to an overall decrease in paper use. Though many higher education institutions across the country have made commitments to sustainability, zero waste, and climate neutrality, many still purchase and use large amounts of paper, ink, and individual desktop printers. 

We worked with the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business on a campaign to reduce student paper use. Through interviews and surveys, we uncovered behavioral drivers both facilitating and preventing student paper reduction. We designed the subsequent initiative, The Haas Paper Saving Challenge, to address identified behavior levers through a suite of interventions that included a competition, how-to knowledge, prompts and reminders, feedback, pledges, social norms, and incentives. The initiative successfully achieved its goals of reducing student paper use, shifting existing norms on paper use, and increasing awareness of the environmental consequences of paper waste. Notably, students voluntarily agreed to decrease their printing credit by 50% and paper use decreased by over 20%.

The Haas School of Businesses at UC Berkeley is the second largest business school in the United States. They emphasize the importance of developing a sustainable, climate resilient economy and are working towards imagining and designing such a system to address the current environmental, social and economic crises.