By Practice Manager, Cody Gehman, CPA

How much paper do you think you could save by switching to all electronic documents instead of printing things out? Our team was astounded when we found out the answer.

Stonebridge implemented DocuSign, an application that lets companies sign and manage their documents electronically, to pursue our goal of a paperless environment. The days of envelopes and stamps have given way to clicks and scrolls, providing clients the ease of executing necessary documents from anywhere. We now employ DocuSign in almost all of our operational workflows.

Of course, we were curious if our change was making an impact, so we looked into the statistics. In TD Ameritrade’s partnership with DocuSign, Stonebridge has contributed, along with others in the partnership, to saving:

– 6 million pounds of wood, equivalent to 4,739 trees
– 7 million gallons of water, equivalent to 3,356 washing machine loads
– 7 million pounds of CO2, equivalent to 337 cars
– 256,686 pounds of waste, equivalent to 4,278 trash cans

We’re excited about this change since it provides better service for our clients in addition to helping the environment. Stonebridge believes in supporting efforts to sustain our planet. We love the outdoors, and we’re happy to go green to preserve it into the future.

Calculating Our Green Savings
Curious how we found those numbers? Here’s how DocuSign came up with them:

Our calculations for environmental impact associated with reduced paper use are based on your account’s use of DocuSign, which was last updated April 2020. We estimate the number of pieces of paper saved by looking at three factors:

1. Number of envelopes sent
2. Number of pages per envelope
3. Number of recipients per envelope

Our model assumes that each recipient of a document would print it once, on average, and that the paper used would contain 10% recycled content.1

Some environmental impact estimates were made using the Environmental Paper Network Paper Calculator Version 4.0. You can find more information at www.papercalculator.org. Paper usage habits and manufacturing processes can change over time, and DocuSign reserves the right to periodically update the assumptions used to estimate the environmental impacts from using DocuSign’s products, which may increase or decrease the environmental impact estimates presented.

Other data used in determining environmental impact estimates and equivalencies are as follows:

– Annual CO2 emissions of a refrigerator (A++ rated): Carbonfootprint.com
– Gallons of water in a bathtub: EPA Watersense Newsletter
– The weight of solid waste in a 20-gallon garbage bin: City of Portland Planning & Sustainability

Please note that all environmental impact estimates presented herein are provided solely for illustration and informational purposes and should not be relied on as a completely accurate representation of the environmental benefits of or impact derived from reducing paper usage by using DocuSign’s products. Please also note that the estimates are based solely on an analysis of the above factors – DocuSign has not taken into consideration other environmental impacts of your use of the DocuSign’s service, your company’s internal environmental impacts as a whole, or your company’s environmental impacts unrelated to its use of DocuSign. DocuSign is not responsible for any loss, damage, cost or expense incurred by or arising from the use or reliance on the estimated information, whether caused by reason of any error, negligent act, omission or misrepresentation in the data or otherwise. DocuSign is not responsible for the content of any third-party websites DocuSign references in its presentation of environmental impact data herein.

Footnotes:
1 Since not all paper comes from virgin tree fiber, the estimate of environmental impacts from reduced paper usage assumes a recycled content percentage of 10%, slightly higher and more conservative than the 8% estimate contained in the Environmental Paper Network’s 2018 State of the Global Paper Industry Report. The Environmental Paper Network’s Paper Calculator uses data from North America in its paper calculator. For more information on the Paper Calculator, please visit https://c.environmentalpaper.org/about.html.


Cody GehmanCody is a graduate of Shippensburg University with bachelor’s degrees in both Accounting and Finance. He obtained his CPA license in 2016.