The SMB’s compass to digitalization  

3 min

Updated on Apr 19, 2024

Published on Jul 6, 2022

How the e-signature helps you do your bit for the environment

Ecologie et signature électronique
Thomas Choukroun

Thomas Choukroun

Content Manager @Yousign

Illustration: Nicolas Simon


As you read this, many websites and search engines have already updated to celebrate this very special day: Jack Nicholson's birthday Earth Day ! For us, at Yousign, this day is a little more special because as a major player in the electronic signature market, we are doing our bit to protect the environment.
In this article, we will go into a little more detail about Earth Day and explain how the electronic signature is a great weapon against waste and for the preservation of our beautiful planet Earth!  🌎

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... 🪐

Believe it or not, but Earth Day is not actually a direct celebration of the Earth. In fact, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the environmental movement that was launched in 1970.

So the question on your mind is: "1970? That far back?
Well, yes. At the time, Americans consumed about 58 million gallons of gasoline for their cars 🤯 !

Oh, and that's not it. Companies at the time were operating at full capacity without even worrying about smoke or gaz emission.

In 1970, each US resident emitted 21 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. By comparison, the average British person consumed just over 12 tonnes of CO2 in the same year.

At that point in time, "prosperity" rhymed with "pollution" , and the American dream required environmental sacrifices.

Yet the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in 1962 and its critical and commercial acclaim had started to plant the idea of an equitable world in all commercial minds, so that it marked the beginning of the environmental movement in many countries, including the UK and the USA.

In this context, Gaylord Nelson, a young US senator from Wisconsin, began encouraging hundreds of students to educate their communities about the environment and the importance of its preservation.

Very soon, the student initiative turned into a mass mobilisation through several activist events such as:

  • Rallies
  • Sit-ins
  • Teach-ins

These conferences were held on university campuses on a strategically important date in the US: 22 April. Why? Because this day comes after Spring break, which is known to be a particularly festive week 🥳 and before final exam week. 

These various initiatives were a great success and once the movement was structured, notably through the name Earth Day, it captured the attention of the media. For example, Walter Cronkite, the most influential American journalist at the time opened his news programme with a story on Earth Day in the 1970s.

From this year onwards, this special day of edification and teaching has become a tradition and has been exported to several countries around the world (more than 190 to date).

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What about Yousign ?

The electronic signature is an important ecological lever for any company. It allows them to protect the environment by:

  • Reducing their carbon footprint: We don't think about it too much, but sending mail through the post necessarily consumes energy and gas. Thus, the round trips to post the mail, the different trips made to post contracts or to pick them up, all the logistics around the transmission of a mail or a letter necessarily generate a higher carbon footprint.
  • Reducing their paper consumption: Using a little paper as possible is a collective goal in all companies, but it is most of the time not on top of their list. Digitisation, of which Yousign is a major player, offers all companies the opportunity to digitise their administrative processes. No need to print, scan, sign and then reprint. All your paper documents can now be signed directly in an easy-to-use and extremely efficient application. This way, you save a lot of paper and do something for the environment.
  • Reducing their paper footprint: The paper footprint represents all the actions accumulated to make paper. As we all know, the pretty, pristine white sheets of paper we receive in reams are made from the wood of trees. More precisely, the fibres contained in the wood of trees.

These trees are then subjected to a significant number of transformations for them to take the shape of a simple sheet of paper 📋.

As you can imagine, all the processing that the tree underwent before reaching your hands consumed a lot of energy. Cooking, flattening, drying, thickening... All these machines consume electricity and emit gases (such as carbon dioxide) that are harmful for our planet.
Oh, and to make matters worse: In your opinion, what are trees' major benefit for us all as humans ?You guessed it: they absorb carbon dioxyde and reject oxygen. One tree can absorb up to 30 kg of CO2 per year ! 🌳

If we want to keep our planet for as long as possible, it is crucial that companies get on board and take concrete action to preserve the environment.

Opting for the electronic signature means reducing your use of paper and ultimately reducing your paper footprint.

LeEarth Day, before being a symbol for a whole community of people, is a reminder that we must cherish the planet we live on at all costs.
Although there is still a lot to be done in terms of ecology, all the efforts that have been made since 1970 have borne fruit. In the UK as in the USA, CO2 emissions per capita have drastically decreased, to 5.5 tonnes in 2019 (15.5 tonnes in the USA in 2016).
It is likely that dematerialisation efforts and the various solutions offered by companies like Yousign have helped to bring this figure down to the lowest level ever recorded. While there are still a huge number of environmental challenges to be overcome, Yousign is proud to help all SMBs go digital and save the planet.

Oh, jeez, we almost forgot:

Happy birthday, Jack.

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