Earth Day Salutes Electronic Signatures

Jodi Schechter, April 21, 2016
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Step away from your printer! Today is Earth Day, an initiative that began more than four decades ago to raise awareness and action for environmental issues. From a "Trash for Trees" campaign in Indonesia to the week-long EarthFest in Lisbon, global citizens are encouraged to be kinder to Mother Earth. Reducing paper processes with digital solutions is an easy way to minimize paper consumption and save the staggering amounts of water it takes to create that paper – and run a more efficient business. AIIM, The Association for Information and Image Management, recently conducted a survey on the progress of the paperless office. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they are committed to digital transformation, and going paper-free is an essential starting point. Seventy-nine percent agree that all businesses should have an e-signature mechanism.

Electronic Signature: a friend of the environment

The electronic signature is one of the most impactful developments to reduce paper consumption in recent history. In 2000, the US Congress passed the E-SIGN Act, recognizing the legal enforceability of documents signed electronically. It created a new business category of digital workflow efficiency and continues to help organizations across the globe lessen their impact on the environment. [promotion id="15797"] A telling finding from the AIIM report on the state of the paperless office is that thirty-one percent of respondents admit that most of the paper documents they retain are only there for the signatures. All of this printing and paper consumption is avoidable. The US Army is a great example of how a commitment to e-signatures reduces paper-intensive workflows. In the largest e-signature project in US government, the Army made e-signatures available to 1.6 million government personnel to quickly and securely sign sensitive documents. One base, White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, was an early adopter of e-signature technology but has enjoyed the benefits of what they estimate to be 25M (yes, that’s 25 million) photocopies avoided. And just how many trees were spared through the efforts of this one Army base? According to Conservatree.org, a single tree yields 8,333 sheets of letter-sized paper. 25,000,000 photocopies avoided 25M / 8,333 sheets of paper per tree 3,000 trees saved (Every tree produces enough oxygen for three people to breathe.)  

Benefits of going paperless

Organizations of every size can benefit from going paper-free with electronic signatures and digital business transactions. Ask yourself: How many trees can you save by clicking "send for e-sign" instead of printing? By how much can you reduce your carbon footprint, just by eliminating the shipping and transportation of documents? What are the electricity costs of your printing and copying equipment? In honor of Earth Day, why not give e-signatures a try? Start your 30-day Free Trial here!