Earth Day is on April 22, and while it is cause for celebration, it should also remind us of some difficult truths. The human race is damaging our environment through pollution and deforestation, making the planet a less hospitable place to live. Businesses are no exception, needing fuel, energy, and resources to function competitively. However, managing your financial assets and transactions in a virtual space has the effect of making your physical world a much better place and is one of many steps you can take to go green.
1. Assess your carbon footprint
According to McKinsey, many company-led green initiatives don’t get off the ground due to a lack of core strategy. Businesses tend to take a fragmented approach to sustainability, reacting to regulations and emergencies rather than incorporating it as best practice. Instead of these ad hoc measures, you should critically evaluate your environmental impact as a whole. We recommend you keep the following considerations in mind:
- How much printing are you doing? This is the fastest way to waste paper. For example, mortgage companies go through billions of sheets of paper a year. This is tantamount to chopping down 260,000 trees.
- Do you do a lot of shipping? Transporting documents contributes heavily to carbon emissions in the air.
- The way you store your documents could also cause environmental strain. The need for physical storage will definitely take up space and resources while contributing to deforestation.
One way to tackle all of these concerns at once is to eliminate paper documents altogether. Not only will you be cutting down on a lot of costly processes, you will also reduce your carbon footprint.
2. Go paperless
In addition to having one place to access all your data, having a single technological process would greatly streamline your processes, reduce waste and cut down on costs. The most apparent reason would be the reduction of paper usage. Deforestation remains a prevalent issue today, with 18.7 million acres of forest being lost per year. When you consider that 42% of wood harvest goes into paper, you’ll make the sobering connection that all the documents you’re printing are contributing to this disturbing statistic. Cutting down on paper usage would immediately relieve the strain your business is creating on the environment. It would also reduce the energy you’re using on printers and the money you’re spending on transporting documents and correcting miscommunications.
3. Find out how industry leaders are shifting away from paper
Businesses often get ahead by assessing the competition and it’s no different when it comes to sustainability. You’re always later to the game than someone else, which means that there’s always something you can learn. How did an industry leader successfully transition to eContracting? Or how did a competitor reduce shipping and storage fees? Even paying attention to failures is useful, as it will teach you what mistakes to avoid when you craft your own strategy. eOriginal’s five-step checklist for businesses aiming for digital success involves making decisions based on your needs and current business processes. Carefully assessing your company’s pain points will aid you greatly in forming an evaluation team, making a business case and choosing a vendor. You will also be empowered to make informed decisions on what solution to go with and how to implement it going forward.
There is some truth to the notion that our progress occurs at our planet’s expense. But with technology enabling businesses to take their processes digital, we don’t have to continue in this destructive vein. The environmental effects of digitizing your documents and transactions couldn’t be more concrete. eOriginal saves more than 25 million printed documents a year and over 60,000 pages an hour during high volume times. This means that our digital processes save 3,000 trees a month. Imagine the acres of endangered forest we could rescue if more businesses shared our vision. Of course, the benefits of reducing costs, streamlining processes and increasing transparency will give your company a significant competitive edge. But when you consider that digital transactions will make both your business and planet a happier, healthier place, there is no excuse to keep burying yourself under paperwork.