Driven by changing consumer values and the need to better appreciate our planet, sustainability – particularly in business – has come to the front line of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. This Earth Day, your financial institution has an excellent opportunity to assess your sustainability efforts and make a change that will positively impact the environment.
The Pulp and Paper Industry
The pulp and paper industry is responsible for producing products like office paper, tissue, paper-based packing, and more. It’s one of the largest industrial sectors in the world, which is understandable when you think about how paper products are so ingrained in our lives. Along with the size of this industry, it is one of the most energy-intensive. It uses between 33-40% of all industrial wood traded globally. Trees are responsible for soaking up carbon dioxide (CO2) and, in return, purifying the earth’s air. According to an IEA Analysis, global energy-related CO2 emissions rose by 6% in 2021 – resulting in 36.3 billion tons, the highest level to date. On this earth day, it’s essential to reflect on how your bank or credit union can make a difference in this growing issue.
Trees are not the only resource needed to make paper. Making paper requires a tremendous amount of water. In fact, this process is one of the single largest consumers of water used in industrial activities. Paper mills have been notorious for discharging many pollutants into surrounding bodies of water. This practice causes an issue by threatening the ecosystem and health of those in surrounding areas. Due to the significant emissions and pollution to our environment that paper production causes, our usage of this material should be limited as much as possible – and that’s where eSignatures come in.
Reducing Your FI’s Footprint Through eSignatures
There are many benefits associated with the adoption of eSignatures, but the impact it has on the environment is substantial for both your financial institution and customers. Incorporating digital signatures into your FI’s operations will drastically eliminate the amount of paper you use and is an environmentally friendly option for signing important documents. Gone are the days when printing, copying, scanning and physically archiving documents. Your bank or credit union can eliminate paper-based headaches, gain electronic processing efficiencies, and reduce the waste associated with using and producing paper.
With the flexibility of eSignatures, customers can sign when and where they choose. Clients are no longer required to travel to and from branches to sign documents, lowering the CO2 emission from vehicles and reducing air pollution.
The Importance of Sustainability in Business Operations
In recent years, there has been a shift in the way consumers prioritize businesses’ values. A recent study noted that 9 in 10 business leaders said that consumers would hold them accountable for their business’s environmental impact. If you aren’t actively pushing for sustainable solutions, like eSignatures, you risk displeasing your customers.
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives are also coming to the forefront and have been a growing topic throughout business. In particular, investors have shown more and more interest in putting their money where their values are. To attract younger generations, specifically Millennials and Gen Z, it will continue to be important to show that your financial institution is prioritizing sustainability efforts.
While sustainability efforts need to be integrated into our society and business practices 365 days a year, Earth Day is a great chance to reflect on how we’re making an impact with green initiatives. By incorporating beneficial solutions like eSignatures into your financial institution’s processes, you’re slowly helping the world heal.