Nowadays it has become clearer than ever that we need to make a greater effort to save the environment by making our business processes more sustainable.

One of the ways in which companies can reduce their environmental footprint is by reducing office waste. According to the ORS Group, as much as 80% of office waste is paper, so that’s a good place to begin. Paper production is problematic, because not only do you need to cut down trees to produce paper, but it’s also a very polluting industry.  In Canada and the US, the paper and pulp industry is the third largest industrial polluter of air, land and water and releases yearly over 100 million kilograms of toxic pollution.

Here are some statistics that highlight the impact of our paper consumption:

We consume a lot of paper

In the industrialized countries, an average person uses between 250 and 300 kilograms of paper every year.

Paper production requires a lot of wood

For each kilogram of paper, 2-3 kilograms of wood is needed. Although paper can be recycled, 55% of the global paper supply comes from newly cut trees.

Paper production requires a lot of water

It takes 10 liters of water to produce a single A4 sheet of paper. The pulp and paper industry is the single largest industrial consumer of water in Western countries.

A quarter of our garbage consists of paper

Paper and cardboard products account for 25% of landfill waste making up the largest percentage of all the materials.

According to NASA Earth Observatory, if the current rate of deforestation continues, it will take less than 100 years to destroy all the rainforests on our planet.

In a survey conducted by AIIM in 2014, employees were asked why they still used large amounts of paper at work. Among the top reasons were lack of management initiatives, the need for physical signatures on documents and a lack of understanding of paper-free alternatives.

However, since AIIM’s survey, a lot has changed. Many companies and individuals have become more eco-conscious and are looking for paperless alternatives to their business processes.

Luckily, nowadays there are applications available for every aspect of the business that traditionally relies on paper, from time planners and invoicing tools to event registration platforms and online document signing solutions.

Electronic signature tools such as eversign are an easy to implement solution to one of the biggest deterrents of reducing paper consumption, the need for physical signatures. Documents signed online with eversign are compliant and legally binding and as such, can be enforced in court. A document signed with eversign is tamper-proof and benefits from a secure and comprehensible audit trail containing signers’ names, email & IP addresses and time stamps. Completed documents and audit trails are stored by eversign's closely monitored server infrastructure, providing users with immediate and secure access.

Using less paper in your business processes not only helps the planet, but it also lowers costs and saves time, so it’s a win-win situation. Going paperless means less money spent on paper, printer supplies and printer maintenance, as well as less time spent on paper handling.

You can sign up to eversign’s free basic plan here and send a document for signature within a couple of minutes.