Today is World Paper Free Day, an initiative by AIIM (The Global Community of Information Professionals) to reduce the amount of paper generated in workplaces by everyday tasks.
Due to digitalisation, businesses and individuals have a real opportunity to reduce their paper use with sustainable alternatives. Office environments already create a lot of waste paper through meeting agendas, copies of documents for editing and multiple contracts.
Many of the business processes that occur on paper are unnecessary and less efficient than digital alternatives. Of course, businesses cannot completely eliminate paper, but participating in World Paper Free Day is a good step towards reducing waste.
An AIIM report revealed that 44% of respondents still printed documents as they believed they needed a physical signature. Although ink-based signatures are likely to be the most popular choice, there is a more environmentally friendly, secure way to sign sensitive business documents.
Paper based signing is inefficient, yet 50% of business waste is composed of paper. Some businesses will still have piles of important documents taking up space with no digital records at all. In a digital, globalised business environment, most organisations appreciate innovative technologies that can streamline their repetitive business processes.
Advanced digital signatures can save time and reduce costs – there is no need to fly someone half way across the world to sign a contract or to spend time and money waiting for a courier to deliver important documents. They reduce an organisation’s carbon footprint and improve efficiency by speeding up the signing process and enabling signing from any location.
Advanced digital signatures also prevent fraud and reduce business risk through the long term archiving of documents and full audit trails. There are various types of e-signature with increasing levels of security and legality, with advanced digital signatures and EU qualified signatures offering long-term signature formats and high levels of security and authenticity – much more so than an ink-based signature.
If businesses are considering a company-wide commitment to reducing their environmental impact, digital signatures should be part of the discussion.
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