For the Buffalo Sabres, quality is replacing quantity.
In an attempt to reduce the amount of paper used throughout the organization, the team inked a new plan to conserve resources- including condensing game notes and statistics.
“Basically what we did last year was an analysis over the summer as to how much paper we use,” said Director of Public Relations Mike Gilbert. “We thought we could do a better job of being more efficient and being more green in not printing out as many copies.”
Specifically, on game days.
In each of the 41 home games the Sabres host at HSBC Arena, the team used an average of 27,920 copies for NHL stats, game notes and daily news clips provided for the media.
Although double-sided, the copies still amounted to 13,960 sheets of paper per game.
“A lot of it was just waste,” Gilbert said. “We were making too many.”
The new plan condensed the information, and the amount of paper used, bringing the game-day total down to 7,160 sheets- saving 6,800 pieces of paper used each game.
If implemented throughout the entire season, the potential reduction of paper could amount to 278,800 sheets saved, totaling more than 55 boxes of paper.
“There was a lot of information in there that wasn’t being used,” Gilbert said. “What we did was we spoke to the media that use the stats every day and asked them ‘what is the most important and what do you really use?’ When we did the analysis, we found a lot of the media weren’t using some of the information that we were providing and figured that we would give them better information as opposed to just giving them a lot of it when it’s not really relevant.”
That theory applies to more than just stats.
The number of media guides, rulebooks, record books and media directories that are printed has also been reduced.
Rather than print a large amount of copies of the books, the Sabres elected to transfer many onto DVDs.
“It’s a lot easier for [the media] to access them that way and it’s also easier to carry,” Gilbert said. “You don’t have to carry around 30 NHL teams’ media guides and also there is a lot less paper being used.”
In addition, the team has a policy of using partly-recycled paper in all of the copy machines.
The number of mailings were cut down as well.
The Sabres’ Director of Community Relations, Rich Jureller, estimated that his department collectively sent up to 10 mailings to fans throughout the season for various events. But in order to save energy, the Sabres began sending that information through E-mails.
“We wanted to be more environmentally friendly and use less paper,” Jureller said. “And it saves money because there is no mailing cost or postage cost.
“It’s thousands of pieces of mail that we don’t send almost 10 times each year.”
Most departments at HSBC Arena have followed suit.
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As far as the collective response on the new format, Gilbert maintains that no news is good news.
“There really hasn’t been a lot of feedback,” he said. “Normally that’s the way it is. If you don’t hear anything, it’s good news. It’s usually negative feedback or complaints when you hear something. People don’t say ‘oh what a great job that’s really good,’ they just complain when something is bad. There really hasn’t been a whole lot of that.”
The response has been so positive, in fact, that the initiative may be taken league-wide with “the Sabres serving as a catalyst,” according to Gilbert.
“I think going green is something that is going to happen in every walk of life,” he said. “It’s going to happen professionally, it’s going to happen at home in your private life, at your local church, schools, government and commercial settings. It’s not just one area or sports; it’s globally crossing over every different angle and into things that you deal with on a day-to-day basis.
“It’s something that affects everyone in this world.”