E-signatures and Digital Agreements Drive Business Sustainability - Image by szmiki95 from Pixabay The age of pen and paper document signings are ending. Ronan Copeland, GVP General Manager, EMEA, DocuSign looks at how agile working and re-imagined office space can help re-energise sustainability within your business.

Where, when and, most importantly, how work is carried out is fundamentally changing. The last two years have been a period of mass upheaval and change. It has forced organisations of all sizes to not only look at their future strategies but also address present work practices.

This has never been truer than those processes that impact corporate sustainability goals. Recent events may have diverted attention away from sustainability, but the threat of climate change has not diminished. The UN has named the 2020s the ‘decade of action’. A new report from scientists within the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) called for ‘major transitions in the energy sector’ away from fossil fuels. In addition, greenhouse gas emissions must peak no later than 2025 to stave off the most extreme effects of climate change.

As the world of work reopens, reducing reliance on resources is vital. What role do e-signatures and digital contract management solutions play in helping to meet sustainability targets in the new present of work without impacting overall business output?

Reducing Resources Across Your Business

According to DocuSign research, it is recognised that two-thirds of today’s e-signature users started using the technology in the last two years. 88% of global respondents are not planning on going back to pen and paper now that they’ve used an e-signature solution.

The drive to a more sustainable workplace has clear benefits. 40% of office waste is paper, and it is estimated that you can save around £30 per document on average using DocuSign eSignature compared to traditional paper processes. It also frees staff from administrative chores, such as printing, scanning, and tracking documents enabling them to focus on higher-value tasks.

This is not only because e-signatures are more efficient than so-called wet signatures, eliminating manual tasks and increasing convenience along the value chain. They are also more eco-friendly by reducing the demand on paper resources. This is having a real-world impact. To date, DocuSign and its customers have saved more than six million trees, 55 billion sheets of paper, 22 billion litres of water and eliminated more than two billion kilograms of waste – simply by adopting digital agreement processes.

Automated Processes Saves Energy

Moving manual processes into the cloud is the most effective way to achieve real-world results like these. Organisations should use technologies such as Slack or Google Drive for collaboration and file sharing. Consider switching to DocuSign eSignature for signing contracts and DocuSign CLM contract lifecycle management software to manage all of the agreements and documentation required throughout the employee lifecycle. In doing this, organisations can eliminate unnecessary waste as well as increase compliance and accelerate the pace of doing business.

There are reasons for change beyond organisations finding that paper is ever more inefficient and impacting its carbon footprint. Customers are increasingly opting for brands and companies they know are passionate about the environment. Four out of five people describe themselves as likely to choose a brand with a positive approach to sustainability.

What’s more, 53% of U.K. employees say sustainability is an important factor in choosing a company to work for. That percentage rises to 67% in the 16-24-year-old category, our next generation of decision-makers.

DocuSign’s commitment to reducing emissions builds upon its DocuSign for Forests efforts launched in 2019. It has recently signed onto the Science Based Targets Initiatives (SBTi) Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign, pledging that it is committed to halving its emissions by 2030 and reaching science-based net-zero no later than 2050.

Sustainability and Legacy Software

Sustainability is not just about driving new processes but also about making software and equipment already owned by the business more efficient. By choosing digital solutions that seamlessly connect and work with existing legacy equipment, the need to replace them is inherently reduced.

This requires choosing solutions with a proven track record of integration. DocuSign technologies, such as DocuSign APIs, quickly integrate and work alongside current app or website strategies, and are designed to work seamlessly with products already embedded within the business. For example, non-cloud technologies such as Peoplesoft, SAP ESS, Microsoft Dynamics, or digital solutions including Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Google, and Apple. Available in six popular programming languages and being used by over 100,000 developers to connect, embed, test, and build automated solutions, DocuSign technologies deliver genuine benefits to extend the life of legacy systems.

Creating a Smarter, Cleaner Planet

The DocuSign Agreement Cloud, for example, is a simple and cost-effective way to upgrade processes to be more environmentally responsible and sustainable. The digital processing and tracking of data and documents can boost transparency and provide real business insights, enabling a better degree of control over procedural workflows, while at the same time saving on unnecessary waste, reducing emissions, and improving commitments to climate action throughout the entire supply chain.

As sustainability becomes a hot topic, businesses need to find ways to reduce waste and replace paper. One thing is clear: e-signature and digital contract lifecycle management do more than speed up and streamline processes, they actively contribute to an organisation’s sustainability strategies for a smarter, cleaner planet.

DocuSignDocuSign helps organizations connect and automate how they prepare, sign, act on, and manage agreements. As part of the DocuSign Agreement Cloud, DocuSign offers eSignature, the world’s #1 way to sign electronically on practically any device, from almost anywhere, at any time. Today, over a million customers and more than a billion users in over 180 countries use the DocuSign Agreement Cloud to accelerate the process of doing business and to simplify people’s lives.


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