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Three Ways You Can Help Save the World's Forests This Earth Day

Editor's note: This post is republished from DocuSign's blog with permission.

"Rainforests are a great blessing to humanity. They bring life, they provide habitat, clean air, clean water." Andrew Steer, CEO, World Resources Institute

DocuSign is a naturally forest-friendly company. Since 2003, we've helped hundreds of millions of people around the world to replace billions of sheets of paper with an eco-friendly digital process. As Dr. Jane Goodall says, "trees are like the Earth's lungs," because they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen back into the earth's atmosphere. Forests both clean the air and provide us with the oxygen we breathe. In fact, more than 20 percent of the world's breathable oxygen is produced in the Amazon rainforest alone.


The human race depends on rainforests for its very existence. More than 1.6 billion people around the world depend on forests for their livelihoods — not just for food but also for fuel, livestock grazing, and medicine. But sadly, half of the world’s tropical forests have already been cleared. If we continue at this rate, the world's forests will be gone by the end of this century. Commercial deforestation accounts for 15 percent of global warming. As the forces of that global warming really begin to manifest themselves — particularly in the increasing regularity of devastating natural disasters around the world — it becomes obvious why trees play such a tremendous role in our environment and are one of nature's most important resources.

"If we do protect the forests, it is the single quickest, biggest thing we can do to mitigate climate change." Helen Clark, former NZ PM and Administrator, United Nations Development Programme

One simple way we can all contribute to combating this problem and saving the forests is to reduce our paper usage. Every day people sign agreements — sales agreements, employee contracts, supplier contracts, and so on. And millions and millions of those contracts are signed electronically instead of on paper. We know that because millions of our customers around the world have replaced billions of sheets of paper with digital processes, which, in turn, helps save the trees required to make paper. Every time one of those contracts is signed electronically rather than on paper — we have helped to save a tree, together. Check out these numbers:

  • 20 billion — the number of sheets of paper DocuSign and its customers have saved since 2003
  • 2 million — gallons of water needed to make that much paper, in addition to 105 million pounds of waste.
  • 1.6 million — pounds of additional CO2 spared as a result of the paper saved

That's not all we do to preserve the environment. Through the DocuSign IMPACT initiative, our employees have volunteered thousands of hours at organizations promoting healthier forests, including urban forests, in the communities where we work and live. In celebration of Earth Day today globally, DocuSign employees are volunteering with local environmental nonprofits in our communities.

And as part of our DocuSign for Forests initiative, we will donate $1.5 million in 2019 to organizations doing critical work to preserve the world's forests. The first $1 million went to the Jane Goodall Legacy Foundation to support Dr. Goodall's continuing fight to protect the planet's resources.

So what will you do on Earth Day this year to help protect the world's forests? You don't have to donate a million dollars, or even plant a tree — although it would be awesome if you did. But if you could just agree to do these three things, you'd be doing your part.

1. Responsibly Reduce Your Impact

To help you save even more, incorporate forest-friendly and recycled products into your daily life. Here are two useful links to help you get started:

2. Be Smarter About Your Paper Use

Here's how you can be smarter about your paper use:

  • Before printing, ask yourself whether it's really necessary.
  • If you print, use paper with high recycled content and labeled with a credible forestry certification.
  • Print double-sided and reduce margins and font size.
  • When you're discarding paper, recycle.
  • Use DocuSign, because signing electronically saves paper, which reduces the use of wood and trees.

3. Know Your Impact

Find out how much paper and other resources can be saved by using DocuSign. Try our impact calculator.

With DocuSign, every day is Earth Day — you can join us, today.

"If we can protect the rainforests, we can protect the world." Richard Branson, Chairman, Virgin United