How to transition to paperless board meetings

5 min read
Apr 24, 2023 11:14:37 AM

The UN recently debuted its Sustainable Development Goals, including "Responsible Consumption and Production" and "Climate Action." Across the governance sector, there has been increased emphasis on ESG credentials. With that, transitioning to paperless Board meetings can help your Board match sustainability guidelines and stay in line with ESG company goals. 

Many organisations struggle to cut down on their daily paper use, particularly when it comes to resource-intensive tasks such as Board packs that must be distributed regularly to the whole team. With paper production being the third most energy-intensive of all manufacturing industries and the paper and pulp industry as the fourth largest contributor to greenhouse gas in the US, it is undoubtedly, important to limit paper use.

If your Board is interested in switching from paper or cutting down on its resource use yet does not know where to start, you are in the right place. Read on to learn all about digital options to replace traditional paper methods, including board management software (also known as board portals) and paperless Board packs.

Why it's a good idea to switch to less paper in your board meetings


Transitioning to paperless Board meetings is imperative if your company values its ESG rating. With climate change impacting every aspect of our lives, companies must do their part to limit their carbon footprint. Going paperless is an easy way for them to cut down on resource consumption.

Save time

Transitioning to a paperless format can help your team improve its efficiency, giving you hours back. Board members and administrative staff will no longer have to spend hours creating and distributing Board packs, for example, as the software automates daily Board drudgery, allowing members to focus on big decisions and long-term company goals.

Board management software lets administrators create meeting minutes on an intuitive platform, with digital Board packs letting corporate secretaries and Board admins create agendas and distribute documents directly through the portal.

Save money

All those hours and the resources spent on traditional forms of Board administration – such as Board packs – cost companies money. The EPA estimates that a paperless office can save around $80 per employee on an annual basis on supplies related to creating and distributing physical documents. If a company is made up of 400 employees, that is around US$32,000 in savings each year!

Unanimous Written Consent

Within board management software, paperless board packs let directors make use of unanimous written consent. This voting method is particularly helpful on time-sensitive matters, such as security crises. It allows Boards to take action without a formal meeting, as all Board members may give consent through writing or electronic transmission. Using a digital platform cuts down on the time that would be spent printing and shipping documents in a traditional setup.


Paper documents run the risk of falling into the wrong hands. When they contain sensitive company information, it is more important than ever for them to be kept in a secure and centralised storage. Board management software allows teams to store the digital versions of their documents in a secure and accessible cloud-based platform. This means that they are protected from damage and theft.

Good portal software will offer stringent digital security encryption on multiple levels and redundantly managed firewalls. They will also allow teams to monitor and control document access, so that everyone has access to what is appropriate for them. Portal software also automatically stores meeting minute drafts securely.

How to transition to paperless board meetings

1. Figure out how you will dispose of old documents

Board management software allows you to store all of your documents digitally in a common library.

A document repository to store your governance related documents in foldersThe first step of transitioning from paper to digital resources is scanning your old paper records into digital files in this centralised virtual storage. Have a plan for dealing with the now-obsolete paper documents left over once you are done scanning so that you are not bogged down.

2. Keep directors in the loop

Explain your motivation for transitioning from paper to digital to the Board of directors in order to keep them involved with the situation. They will be greatly affected by the switch between mediums, so you should take the time to explain why going paperless is so important.

3. Create a protocol

Set clear guidelines for how directors should use the new technology, including how they should generate reports and where they should store these. Digital Board portals offer secure paperless document storage that is accessible from anywhere in the world by authorised users. As your team makes the switch, make sure everyone is effecting the change in an organised manner.

4. Find the right software and train your team

Using the appropriate software for your team makes all the difference. You should shop around and take advantage of trial offerings and peer reviews before you decide on your new portal software.

Boardportal review sites

Once you have found the right fit, be sure to adequately train your team, so that your Board can make a smooth transition to the new paperless format and feel confident with the tools now at their fingertips.

Kerryn NewtonPortal options such as BoardPro offer increased security, sustainability and efficiency for the companies that use them.

"I have been a supporter and promoter of Boardpro from its very early days. It offers a cost-effective, easy-to-use option for boards, especially those of smaller companies, to assist with their administration," says Kerryn Newton, CEO, Non-executive director and Board and governance specialist.

"Good board administration is a key platform for an effective board. For directors to come to Board meetings well-prepared, they need to receive papers in a timely way. For Board meetings to be effective, there needs to be a clear agenda with decisions and actions clearly documented. For directors to meet their duties and ultimately protect themselves from a liability perspective, Board meeting minutes and board record-keeping needs to be accurate and complete."

Planning is key when it comes to effectively transitioning to a paperless Board format. Both in your meetings themselves and in terms of the necessary administrative work that takes place before and after, portal software and electronic Board options can help you save costs, increase security and sustainability and collaborate effectively across timezones and disparate geographic locations. Switching over to paperless portal technology will improve your Board meetings by streamlining key tasks such as Board pack distribution and the recording of meeting minutes. When your team can collaborate electronically, there is less stress over document leaks, not to mention time, energy and money wasted on paper materials.

When you're ready here's how BoardPro can help


Start a Free Trial — run a whole board meeting cycle for free, no credit card needed. You’ll be able to create board packs in a click, and have all minutes, decisions, actions and interests in one place. Be more effective, save time, and have everyone on the same page!

Book a Demo — see BoardPro in action in this 30-minute demo, and have all your questions answered by a BoardPro specialist. You’ll get an introduction to all of BoardPro’s features — see how to set an agenda, create board packs, and take minutes. 

Attend a Free Governance Webinar — learn from our community of governance experts on subjects such as strategy, understanding board dynamics, reporting, and running effective meetings. You’ll join hundreds of others in these engaging events covering the latest governance topics.

Find a Governance Template — practical documents to make governance easy! Templates cover strategic planning, board evaluation, risk assessment, SWOT analysis, and many other essential governance and business topics to grow your organisation and adopt good governance practices. 


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