Create a Sustainable Business with Adobe Sign

  • 12 July 2022

The rapidly evolving regulatory landscape, changing customer needs, behaviours, expectations, and the ever-increasing cost of doing business are pushing organisations to put sustainable procurement at the top of their strategic agenda. Ireland ranks 10th out of 14 comparable EU countries in this year’s Sustainable Progress Index, commissioned by Social Justice Ireland. Ireland is in the top 5 for 3 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); ‘Quality education’ (SDG 4), ‘Sustainable cities and communities’ (SDG11) and ‘Life below water’ (SDG4). While some progress has been made over the past year or two, several of the SDG scores reflecting the environment show the need to address some important sustainability issues.

Digital signature can play a big part in reducing the environmental impact of the use of paper & ink. To give an example, let’s take the financial industry ten years ago and the use of mortgage agreements in a house purchase. A topic that’s very much at the forefront of people’s minds with house price inflation over the last number of years. Endless sheets of paper, everything printed in 5 copies and the customer signing each page. The customer is required to sign many additional signatures which, of course, had to be done in person. The whole process takes considerable time, several personal meetings at the branch, and ends with a thick folder with the mortgage agreement and its 20 annexes.

A Paper-heavy Process

Lending is a contract-intensive process with an extensive lifecycle, and that there was significant risk that justified the amount of documentation. Everything needs to be properly signed and archived. There is no question, this painful process could be improved.

Fast forward to the present day, major financial institutions and business leaders across the globe are also asking themselves the same question: How to change processes that involve a lot of time and paper? How to free up these resources, how to introduce the concept of convenience to document signing? How can business strategy incorporate sustainability initiatives that contribute to protecting our environment? Some financial institutions have already implemented sustainability strategies to minimise paper use.

Turns out, it is possible to have a win-win here: streamline the process, introduce time savings, make consumers happy, and do so with a sustainability strategy. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “paperless” a few times, but how can you approach it? 

Paperless is Part of a Sustainable Business Strategy

“Paperless” means reducing the amount of paper used across a company and replacing processes that traditionally require significant investments in paper, to digitally complete agreements. Digitization reduces the costs of paper and ink, but also of document handling, storage, dispatching, archiving, retrieval, and destruction.

Adobe Sign Supports Your New Business Sustainability Efforts

E-signatures are one of the key technologies supporting the paperless model and sustainable development. With this technology, organizations can digitize transactions throughout their lifecycle, from document preparation to managing the signing process, storing documents in a secure and compliant way, and finally deleting records when they reach end of life.

Business drivers can vary from speeding up the signing process, to gaining efficiency through automation, to eliminating costs related to document printing, dispatching, and storage. You may want to adjust your business to enable secure remote signing due to the pandemic-related limitations. Or reach out to customers who are unable to visit your offices. 

The possibilities are endless, the benefits are evident. There are many examples of companies that implemented e-signature technology which helped them gain more clients, close deals faster, and simplify very complex operations. They appreciate the convenience that comes with signing documents remotely and the sense of confidence backed up by audit trails, detailing all actions of involved parties.

Adobe Sign Supports Your Environmental Goals

Reducing your environmental footprint is increasingly important, and consumers are more environmentally conscious. The COVID-19 pandemic supported this growing level of consciousness. We are now seeing more companies incorporating sustainable business goals in their mission statements and establishing controls on processes that impact the environment.

Adobe Sign Helps Save Paper

Clearly, electronic signatures reduce paper consumption. In any given situation where a document or contract is produced, errors will evidently happen. Consequently, draft printouts, edits and typos and re-printing are required which accumulates by the week, month and year. E-signature solutions reduce error rates. This not only saves paper but enhances employee productivity, allowing them to focus on value-added activities instead of managing paper.

Adobe Sign Helps Save Water

Paper consumption is not only about the raw material used for its production. It has a certain water footprint, too. The pulp and paper industry are the single largest industrial consumer of water in Western countries.

Adobe Sign Helps Reduce CO2 Emissions

Paper production also requires shipping and all the other issues associated with managing a large supply chain. This supply chain starts with generating raw materials for paper creation and continues with shipping wood to factories, paper production, shipping to stores and resellers and delivery to end-users. All these layers of delivering paper create greenhouse emissions, so reducing paper consumption through e-signatures has a positive impact on the environment throughout the production lifecycle.

E-signatures help reduce emissions from couriers and other delivery services. Sensitive documents like contracts need to be routed to the signer, then sent back to the contract owner. If you have multiple signers, the documents embark on a long journey from one signer to the next. Being able to sign documents remotely also eliminates the hassles for your customers to commute to a branch to sign documents. Apart from obvious time and cost savings to get documents to completed, consider the emissions from all the cars carrying documents between destinations, and how e-signatures remove the need for courier services. 

Digital Transformation and Sustainability 

Digital transformation, over the past few years, has become a necessary goal for organizations to stay relevant. However, this paradox should be viewed through the lens of sustainability as it is deeply embedded in the societal context. The relationship between sustainability and digital transformation is complementary, if not entirely mutually dependent. Therefore, it is contributory for companies to take sustainability and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) into account while strategizing their digitalization roadmap. 

Before you Go, here are 3 things to do to Get Started with Your Sustainable Business Strategy:

  1. Download our Guide to Adobe Sign Enablement Packages
  2. Estimate your enviromental savings by avoiding paper use by checking out the Adobe Document Cloud Resource Saver Calculator (
  3. Check out this case study: ITV achieves smaller environmental footprint with Adobe Acrobat Sign