How sustainable operations increase agility and build trust

Better Business, Better Planet

Why are sustainable operations important? Sustainability is already a top priority for many CEO’s and is set to become even more important in the coming years. Organisations need to earn the trust of consumers and stakeholders - and that trust has never been more vital to keep. A Deloitte Survey conducted in March 2021 suggests that 1 in 3 consumers have stopped using certain brands due to ethical or sustainable concerns. In a Gallup poll, every employee age group said they want their leaders to be ethical and care if the work they are doing has a net positive impact on human beings and the natural world. 

Creating sustainable operations can increase agility and build trust which is better for business and better for the planet. As employees are returning to the workplace following the pandemic, leaders have a rare opportunity to evaluate the way they impact the environment and make large-scale operational changes to focus on sustainability.

How sustainable operations can increase agility

Leading organisations that conduct highly successful digital transformations across their operations can improve sustainability while also improving overall speed and flexibility. 

Businesses can analyse their operations and their current emissions and come up with clear goals. Responsible companies are taking action to increase business productivity in the digital age and reduce their impact on the environment by adopting new technology. 

2020 and 2021 will be remembered as a period when the world’s organisations made dramatic operational shifts at rapid speed. One of the ways a business can choose to make emission improvements is by making any of the temporary changes they made to digital workflows during the pandemic permanent. 

The rapid shift to remote working in 2020 helped foster an understanding that business could be successfully conducted without the need for business travel. Business travel is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions and a study by Stefan Gössling, a sustainable tourism researcher and a professor at Sweden’s Linnaeus University School of Business and Economics suggests that just one percent of the world’s population accounts for 50% of global aviation emissions - business travel is a big part of this. The pandemic proved that in many cases virtual meetings and digital workflows can help customers to do business faster. Leading companies like Salesforce, Ernst & Young, and Deloitte have all pledged to reduce business travel emissions going forward.. 

As a part of setting targets, organisations must also commit to addressing emissions from their supply chains. The most common method is to engage suppliers and set similar goals together. For example, Salesforce has included climate-related requirements in its vendor contracts requiring the disclosure of carbon emissions.

Digital cloud technology that allows employees to work remotely like virtual meeting software, shared files and the ability to sign contracts and forms with electronic signatures reduces the requirement for in-person meetings.  Using this cloud technology saves unnecessary travel costs, reduces emissions and saves time. In an International Workplace Group Survey, 85% of respondents said that being more flexible around where work takes place has improved productivity.

Many organisations have also reduced their use of paper to make environmental savings. Docusign has helped millions of people save a huge 38 billion sheets of paper by assisting them with digital processes that don’t require paper. Find out more about going paperless for sustainability. A paper-impact-calculator powered by the Environmental Paper Network has also been added to the core e-signature product. This tool estimates each customers’ wood, water, waste and carbon savings from reduced paper use. Aside from the sustainability benefits of using the Docusign Agreement Cloud, your organisation will also benefit from increased agility. For example, when documents are sent using Docusign eSignature, you can achieve a faster contract turnaround, 44% of agreements are completed in less than 15 minutes and 80% are completed in less than a day. 

How sustainable operations increase trust

In addition to the financial and agility benefits that sustainability practices can provide - more sustainable operations can also enhance trust among consumers, employees and stakeholders. In the 2022 Edelman Annual Trust and Credibility Barometer  - 58% of respondents said they buy or advocate for brands that align with their beliefs and values and 60% choose a place to work based on their beliefs and values. In the UK 77% of respondents trust their employer and 68% expect their CEO to shape and inform policies on global warming and climate change. When sustainability and worker wellbeing practices are implemented it can help employee motivation which in turn can bring a competitive advantage. 

The modern organisation has the ability to embrace the momentum around protection of our planet and to build sustainability into its workflows so that it can reduce or eliminate certain types of waste and emissions. When leaders truly adopt sustainability policies and make an impact, it fosters a sense of unity among employees. They can see that achieving sustainability is a societal issue with global implications and they are inspired to join in. A third of employees say they would decline a role if their organisations environmental, sustainable and climate control values did not align with their own. Accenture analysis of employee and executive surveys in relation to sustainability show an improved financial performance for companies where employee and executive perceptions of sustainability align - sustainability is vital for retaining employees. Discover more about building a sustainability strategy for your organisation and how to support a sustainable supply chain

Hear from our customers about how they have incorporated Docusign into their sustainability and business agility efforts and the results they’ve seen: 

Daisy O'Malley Glynn
Marketing Communications Specialist