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The Positive Environmental Impacts of Electronic Signatures

Digitalization has led to a considerable reduction in the usage of paper over the last decade. Electronic signatures, also known as eSignatures, are part of this transformation. This is good news for our planet, which has been suffering immensely due to deforestation. According to Time Magazine, around 15 billion trees are cut down every year.

Every organization that implements the use of electronic signatures will help take a step towards sustainable living. We at BoldSign, as electronic signature providers, would like to highlight the benefits of going paperless both for the environment and your business.

We believe that it is the responsibility of every individual and organization to do their best for the environment, so that future generations will have an inhabitable world to live in.

The Current Environmental Scenario

Erratic weather patterns have now become the norm, with some places receiving excessive rainfall while other places face severe droughts. This has left many species of animals and plants struggling for survival, and some are now on the brink of extinction.

Excessive heat is causing the ice in Antarctica and Greenland to melt, thereby increasing sea levels. This, in turn, magnifies the intensity of storms and initiates changes within the ocean currents. Aquatic ecosystems are vastly affected by these factors, while biodiversity is fast declining.

The Global Warming Crisis

The World Metrological Organization has predicted that there is a 66% chance of the earth’s surface temperature rising to 1.5 degrees Celsius more than the preindustrial period (1850–1900). This indicates that we are heading towards a major global warming crisis.

Greenhouse gas emissions are one of the main reasons for escalating temperatures. Activities that contribute to this are deforestation, the burning of nonrenewable energy resources like fossil fuels to power transportation, and production industries.

With so much at stake, it is important for businesses to take action and do what they can to bring the situation under control. The introduction of electronic signatures in businesses worldwide has helped reduce the use of paper and cut down on carbon emissions, the leading cause of global warming. It is one of the ways in which businesses are advancing towards an environment-friendly workflow.

How can businesses create a greater positive impact?

While individuals do need to contribute their best efforts, organizations can make a larger impact with theirs. Reducing the usage of paper and fuel  is one of the ways businesses can reduce their carbon footprint.

Electronic signatures can help organizations reduce their paper and fuel usage. Most of the time, documents are printed and transported for review and signing before finalization. This can be avoided if transmission and signing is done digitally.

Why is it important for businesses to reduce paper usage and wastage?

The U.S. alone consumes about 65.6 million tons of paper in a year. The entire paper-making process is highly detrimental for the environment:
  • The paper-making process involves chopping down a large number of trees. Around 17 trees, approximately 11 meters tall, are needed to produce 1 ton of paper.
  • Trees are transferred to industries using trucks, this process consumes a lot of diesel, a non-renewable energy resource, and releases carbon dioxide.
  • 100 liters of fresh water is required to make 1 kilogram of paper.
  • The process involves the release of harmful gases like nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to pollution, acid rain, and the greenhouse effect.
  • Large amounts of wastewater are sent back into the environment at various stages in the process, often polluting the earth’s water bodies.
  • The entire process consumes large amounts of energy. Approximately 7 kWh of energy is needed to produce 100 tons of paper.

­­Every sheet of paper makes a difference for the environment. It is important to think twice before printing. If printing is absolutely necessary, it is advisable to use the duplex printing option. Other useful practices include using fonts that don’t take up too much space, narrowing borders, using smaller font size so that more content can fit onto a single page.

Whenever documents require signatures, electronic documents can be used so that all transactions happen digitally and there is no necessity to print.

How can electronic signatures help reduce environmental burden?

The traditional method of obtaining signatures involves a lot of printing and paper usage. Several copies of documents may be printed as drafts before they are finalized and printed again to be sent out for signature, often with multiple copies for the records of multiple parties. The draft copies end up in the trash, adding to the waste that is being produced globally.

Electronic documents provide a more convenient alternative. Composing the document, editing it, and the signature process are all done digitally, helping reduce paper usage and waste accumulation. Users save physical space by storing completed documents electronically, while also saving the time transporting the documents or waiting for an in-person meeting would have taken. Business users get to close deals far more quickly.

With less need for conveying documents to people or people to documents, fuel usage goes down, thereby reducing the harmful gases being emitted into the atmosphere and saving all parties money.

Summary of the Positive Environmental Impacts of Electronic Signatures

Reduced paper consumption: Electronic signatures eliminate the need to print and mail paper documents. This can lead to significantly reduced paper consumption.­­

Reduced deforestation: Reduced paper consumption, in turn, saves the trees on our planet from being chopped down.
Reduced environmental imbalance: When trees remain intact, a lot of the devastating effects of deforestation are negated. Deforestation is a major environmental problem that contributes to climate change, soil erosion, and loss of biodiversity.
Reduced buildup of harmful gasses: Less paper usage means less paper production, which means fewer carbon emissions. Eliminating the need for documents to be transported via fossil fuel-consuming vehicles, or for people to travel in-person via such a vehicle to sign physical documents, further reduces emissions.

Therefore, using electronic signatures can be extremely beneficial for the environment in many ways.  

Other Benefits of Electronic Signatures for Your Business

Security: Electronic signatures are secure and tamper-proof. They use encryption technology to protect documents from unauthorized access. There is an automated, chronological record of every event, person, and transaction associated with the document.
Profitability: Electronic signatures reduce the use of labor, paper, transportation, and storage. This helps reduce the operating costs of businesses.
Efficiency: Electronic signatures can help businesses streamline their workflow. Since many manual processes are avoided, it saves a lot of time.
Convenience: Electronic signatures offer the convenience of transmitting, reviewing, and signing documents from anywhere in the world, at any time, using any connected electronic device.
Rapid Connectivity: Electronic signature software connects people from across the globe instantly, whether it is to collaborate on preparing a document or collectively sign a document to close a deal or finalize a contract.

Are electronic signatures legally binding?

Since electronic signatures come with features like audit trails and signer authentication that can verify the authenticity and integrity of the signer and their signature, they are legally binding and hold valid in a court of law.

Conclusion

If your business is keen on going paperless, then BoldSign is here to help. We provide software to collect legally compliant electronic signatures with high security features like audit trails and signer authentication.

You wi­­ll get your documents signed effortlessly and close deals in a timely manner, all while able to feel good about the environmental impact.

To get started, try BoldSign for free with a single user account.

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Shirley Rangini Graceya

Shirley Rangini Graceya

With a keen passion to write, Shirley shifted from a HR role into content writing within the IT industry. Her role involved writing blogs and help documentation. She started her writing journey, more than a decade ago, with her personal blog. She now writes blogs for Syncfusion’s latest products BoldSign and BoldDesk.

Share this blog

Shirley Rangini Graceya

Shirley Rangini Graceya

With a keen passion to write, Shirley shifted from a HR role into content writing within the IT industry. Her role involved writing blogs and help documentation. She started her writing journey, more than a decade ago, with her personal blog. She now writes blogs for Syncfusion’s latest products BoldSign and BoldDesk.

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