Sustainability through reducing paper waste in employment permit processing

Find out how a Deloitte team implemented a programme to reduce the amount of paper waste in immigration applications

Reimagining the way we all work is critical to avoiding the worst effects of climate change. We are supporting our clients to move to more sustainable processes while also improving our own environmental performance.

In 2020, our Global Employer Services (GES) team set themselves an environmental goal and reviewed their processes to identify opportunities to improve Deloitte’s environmental performance.

The immigration team recognised an opportunity for Deloitte to reduce paper consumption associated with the employment permit application process. The existing process, which had been in place for many years, relied heavily on paper as it required application forms to be printed for signatures and for the issuance of approved permits.

After analysing the existing process, the team at Deloitte established that the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) and immigration providers were using approximately 968kg of paper annually associated with the employment permit process. The team realised that digitising the process completely would result in a significant reduction in paper consumption, while also creating a simpler and more efficient process for applicants.

Fuelled by the COVID 19 pandemic, the Department updated its previous processes to allow for electronic signatures on their employment permit applications. In a situation where the application was only printed once to sign, the DETE saved 24 trees. This number could be even higher where often agents and applicants would separately print the application to sign.

This only focuses on the environmental saving from employment permit applications – the saving was likely much higher due to Stamp 4 Support Letter applications and Trusted Partner applications.

This project demonstrates how individual teams across Deloitte are identifying and implementing ways to work more sustainably while supporting our clients to reduce their environmental impact. This project alone resulted in Deloitte reducing our own paper consumption by 51.7kg annually.

We are adapting to new ways of working and reducing our impact while we continue to support our client as they navigate the climate crisis.

Roisin Fitzpatrick


Lauren Morrissey