Save paper, save money and save the planet with Unilever, Trees for Cities and Docusign

Leveraging technology to tackle climate change.

Tackling climate change is an increasingly important issue for many businesses. Both together and apart, Unilever, Trees for Cities and Docusign are playing their part in reducing their environmental impact and making commitments to save the planet. 

“Docusign is committed to being carbon neutral by 2022.” Ryan Winpenny, Sr. Customer Success Architect at Docusign.

Last year the three organisations came together to spend a day planting trees. See how we got on in the video below or read more to discover what each organisation is doing to protect the environment.

How Trees for Cities is improving lives through tree planting 

Trees for Cities is the only UK charity working at a national and international scale to improve lives by planting trees in cities. At the September Time Awards, Trees for Cities were recognised as the charity of the year.

The London based charity was established in 1993 and set up by a group of tree lovers who were also enthusiastic partiers. They threw parties in order to raise money and start planting trees all across London—and have planted over one million urban trees over the past 27 years.

Why do we plant trees?

Trees and green infrastructure are crucial to the make-up of cities and never more so than during the pandemic where nature and green spaces have acted as a refuge for so many. Trees themselves have a multitude of benefits: 

  • Cooling: trees can absorb heat and provide shade 
  • Trees act as a CO2 sink, capturing carbon dioxide and combating air-pollution
  • Trees reintroduce biodiversity back into cities
  • Trees are natural noise-masks, combating air-pollution
  • Trees can absorb heat and provide shade, acting as a natural cooling system

Beyond the environmental impact, trees can also strengthen communities and people's standard of living. Trees for Cities have noticed the correlation between high levels of social deprivation and grey parts of towns and cities that are lacking trees and green spaces. They have focused on these areas, planting in parks and estates to create more green infrastructure and have a positive impact both socially and environmentally. 


Trees for Cities is bringing more greenery into school grounds where many of the children  come from inner-city areas where access to nature can be very limited. They are aiming to educate children on the importance of the environment and transform how kids are experiencing nature. 

The organisation wants to bring nature and environmental education to as many people as possible and have created an online hub where people can access information, resources and the know-how that they need to go out and do the work.

Watch CEO of Trees for Cities, David Elliot discuss their work in our on-demand webinar. 

Unilever is proving that growth doesn’t have to come at the expense of people and the planet 

Unilever’s purpose is to make sustainable living commonplace. Unilever believes that it is possible for 8 billion people to live well and live within the natural limits of the climate. As a business, Unilever feels responsible to tackle climate change directly and via its brands. 

Courtney Holm, head of sustainable technology at Unilever, recognises that “the climate crisis is the world's most pressing issue.”

The world needs to come together and act and address climate change, nature degradation, biodiversity decline and water scarcity. Unilever has set out a new range of measures and commitments designed to tackle these issues and improve the health of the planet. 

  • Unilever brands will collectively invest €1 billion to a climate and nature fund which will be used over the next ten years on initiatives that protect the environment.
  • No carbon emissions from Unilever products by 2030 and net zero emissions from all products (from sourcing of materials to the point of sale) by 2039. 
  • Protect high carbon ecosystems like forest peatlands and rainforests by achieving a  deforestation-free supply chain by 2023.
  • Empower a new generation of farmers and smallholders who are committed to empowering and regenerating their farm environment. 
  • Drive regenerative agricultural practices that have emphasis on restoring soil health, water conservation and access actively increasing local biodiversity, and regenerating forests and other carbon critical landscapes.
  • Make Unilever product formulations biodegradable and implement 100 water stewardship programmes by 2030. 

How Unilever is driving environmental change through technology 

The Docusign Agreement Cloud has provided Unilever with a simple digital solution to not only sign documents but to integrate the solution into business processes while helping Unilever to make significant progress on its environmental impact. 

In the last 12 months, Unilever, using the Docusign Agreement Cloud has: 

  • Saved over 14 million sheets of paper 
  • Averted over 575,000 kilograms of CO2 emissions 
  • Saved nearly 25,000 litres of petrol 
  • Conserved over over 5.7 million litres of water 
  • Eliminated over 37,000 kilograms of waste 
  • Saved 1688 trees 

How Docusign is leveraging technology to save paper, save money and save the planet 

Forest friendly software reduces the physical resources like paper required to do business. This saves trees and other natural resources. Now more than ever, as people around the world are working from home and can’t access printers and scanners, bringing the agreement process online makes practical sense and positively impacts the planet.

Old, manual systems have real costs, for every agreement: 

  • £30 per agreement of wasted paper, ink and productivity costs 
  • Seven days lost waiting for agreements to be completed
  • Negative user experience 
  • Legal risks due to lack of standardisation and security 

Digitising every part of the agreement process beyond electronic signature enables you to prepare agreements and once they are signed you can act on them and manage them using the Docusign Agreement Cloud

Environmental benefits are part-in-parcel of the Docusign product offering. Over-use of paper has a significant impact on an organisation’s carbon footprint—not just from the chopping down of trees to make the paper, but also on the fossil fuel power used for printing, and the chemicals involved, too. 

Additionally, sustainability is embedded into the Docusign culture. We are always always working on new campaigns and initiatives to reflect this. Docusign IMPACT is our global initiative to bring our people, product and philanthropy together in creating stronger communities and a more sustainable planet. This allows us to give back to the communities where we live and work. 

David Elliot, CEO of Trees for Cities, describes Docusign as a company that “can be very successful and at the same time have an enormously positive impact on the environment.”


Docusign employees have volunteered over 50,000 hours of service to date and will continue to do so as we adapt to the current restrictions caused by the pandemic. Docusign IMPACT day will go ahead in November, in a safe, virtual way. 


We provide product discounts to all charitable organisations to ensure that NGOs can access our technology and make a deeper impact to the communities that they serve. 


We focus on giving to causes that our employees care about by matching donations. We also make corporate grants to organisations that are aligned with our priorities including racial justice and equity and forest conservation. Over the last five  years, our employees have supported over 2000 causes and our total giving exceeds £3.8 million. 

Last year, our commitment to protecting forests led to the creation of Docusign for Forests. Our main goal is to protect our planet's resources and encourage customers and prospects to increase their knowledge of environmental impact. We want to help protect and preserve the world's forests. 

The impact Docusign has had to date 

  • 20 billion sheets of paper spared
  • Saving 2.5 billion gallons of water
  • Saving 140 million pounds of waste 
  • 2 billion lbs of CO2
  • Preserve 2.5 million trees 

The power of unity cannot be underestimated as we tackle the climate crisis because, as shown above we can achieve so much more by partnering together than going it alone. 

Watch the full on-demand webinar now or make the first step in going paperless by starting your free eSignature trial today.

Daisy O'Malley Glynn
Marketing Communications Specialist