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Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshot

Adobe Sponsored Series

Creativity & Social Innovation

Adobe Helps Customers Ditch Paper Waste


Sustainability is a buzzword. I would argue that it is an important buzzword, but what does it really mean? There are various definitions for the word. To simplify: Sustainability means meeting present needs without messing up the environment so future generations aren’t left with the mess to clean up.

So, how does a business help customers be more sustainable? One business that's answering this question is Adobe, which helps its customers ditch paperwork. And paperwork is still being generated in this digital age. In the U.S., 30 billion documents are printed annually, Kevin Lynch, vice president of document services for Adobe, told TriplePundit. Here are a few more staggering facts:

  • The average U.S. office worker generates about two pounds of paper and paperboard products daily.

  • About 90 percent of all office waste is paper.

  • Approximately 500 paper documents are signed by the average authorized employee annually.

Much of the paper waste generated in U.S. offices can be eliminated. A document created, signed, shared and stored in Adobe Document Cloud has 91 percent less of an environmental footprint than it would if it were printed, and it has a cost savings of over 90 percent. The good news is that more people are shifting to digital documents. Or, as Lynch said, “We process over 50 billion documents every year, so already more are electronic in nature.”

Sometimes all it takes is for a customer to see the impact of his or her choices -- in this case: how much water, waste and wood they will save by not printing. GreenMeter for Document Cloud allows customers to enter in the amount of paper they would normally print and see how much water, waste and wood they'd save by not printing. For example, a business that reduced printing by 10,000 documents would save 11,427 gallons of water, 961 pounds of waste and 3,725 pounds of wood.

"It's staggering the amount of resources it takes to print something,” Vince Digneo, global sustainability strategist for Adobe, told us. “The point of this whole product is that you don't have to print. You could create a document digitally. You can share it directly in Document Cloud. You can save it. You can edit it. You can sign it. And you never have to have a physical piece."

The more companies that go green, the larger the impact

There are several examples of how using Adobe’s products helps businesses be more sustainable while saving money and time. Take KLM Airlines, a subsidiary of the Air France-KLM Group and the Netherlands’ flagship airline. In one year, KLM saved 1 million sheets of paper, which translates into 120 trees and 10 million liters of water.

Here are a few more examples:

  • Using eSign services helps Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, save time: The college reduced turnaround times with eSign from days or hours to an average of just 19 minutes.

  • Kuhn Krause, a leading provider of farm equipment, has also found value in using e-signatures. The company calculated a five-fold reduction in the cost of paper printing.

Adobe strives to promote sustainability from within. Its internal campaign to reduce business travel, called “Skip a Trip,” encouraged employees to take a voluntary pledge to skip one business trip in 2014 and use the Web conferencing tool Connect instead. Through the campaign, employees saved 331 metric tons of carbon emissions in just eight months. They also avoided 711,000 miles of air travel, which is equal to traveling around the world 29 times, and a savings of over 37,000 gallons of gasoline.

There is a multiplying effect when a number of companies decide to print less paper. "One company can make a big difference, but you can imagine in aggregate. It makes a big, big difference,” Lynch said.

His message for companies is simple: “If you are still printing out, signing documents and faxing back papers, that is not very efficient. That needs to change.” Moving to a product like Document Cloud allows you to create and share a document digitally will help accelerate your business. And it is also good for the environment.

What can your business do to help customers become more sustainable? Tell us about it on Twitter at @TriplePundit.

Image credit: Flickr/David Morris

Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshotGina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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