Climate change is one of the most pressing global issues humanity faces, and its urgency is reflected in the way it is now prioritized in international political discussion and debate. While we have known, for decades, that science indicates a worrying trend of rising temperatures, current studies demonstrate that the impact of those increased temperatures is now being seen in the form of extreme weather conditions.
This situation has a direct impact on the business world. Environmental legislation and regulation is continually increasing, as international territories work to reduce their overall carbon footprint. At the same time, increasing public consciousness of the issue impacts consumer behavior, with the environmental efforts of businesses becoming a significant consideration for many clients in the marketplace. From the perspective of your commercial enterprise, that’s obligation and requirement, matched by incentive.
The incentive part of that equation – the consumer seeking to trade with an environmentally friendly business – is vital. As we move into a new decade, and a rapidly warming future, economic prosperity is inextricably linked to ecological viability. The long-term sustainability of a business will be shaped, in large part, by its efforts in working toward carbon neutrality.
Environmental strategies for business
There is a multitude of options available to businesses working toward carbon neutrality – that is, businesses operating in such a way that their carbon emissions are offset by the carbon savings they make. We focus on carbon because this is the substance identified as being one of the biggest contributors to the increased ‘Greenhouse Effect.’
Carbon emissions refer to the amount of carbon your business contributes to the environment – otherwise known as your corporate carbon footprint. Carbon savings refer to your investment in renewable energy and energy-efficient projects. This could be anything from forest planting to the production and distribution of fuel-efficient stoves in North Darfur and Kenya.
There are a number of strategies that will reduce the corporate carbon footprint of your business, including:
- Undertaking an energy audit to determine your baseline emissions level;
- Switching to a hybrid or electric vehicle fleet;
- Working with suppliers that use a hybrid or electric vehicle fleet;
- Maintaining optimal tire pressures of company vehicles;
- Using video conferencing as an alternative to road and air travel;
- Implementing comprehensive recycling schemes;
- Increasing the energy efficiency of premises – including insulation, lighting, heating, and seals around doors and windows;
- Committing to sustainable planting around premises.
These are all advisable as part of your long-term vision for carbon neutrality, however, the strategy that is most cost-effective, while delivering the fastest results, is to ‘go paperless.’
Reducing your carbon footprint with Contract Management Software
‘Going paperless’ and moving your operation to one of a digital nature is a highly cost-effective method of reducing your corporate carbon footprint, overall. It generates significant savings in premises space, storage equipment, energy supplies, and in the cost of paper and printing supplies. When you ‘go paperless’ by adopting web-based platforms for your Contract Management system, you make these savings as a result of a one-off investment, and also create a system that has the potential to further reduce your carbon footprint, and generate increased revenue, at the same time.
- Digital storage – With a web-based Contract Management Software package, you can store an unlimited amount of contract documentation, without the associated costs of premises and equipment. Not only does this save physical space, but it also reduces the energy required to operate premises, including heating and lighting. The need for paper and stationery deliveries is also reduced, which decreases the number of trucks on the road.
- Browser-based access – By centralizing our contract documentation in a browser-based platform, personnel can access this repository securely, and remotely. This reduces travel requirements for mobile staff, and even allows office-based personnel to easily work from home when necessary. The nature of the repository means that users have access to templates and clause libraries, so contracts can be drafted and edited ‘on-the-go,’ without the need to return to the office. Moreover, with permission-based access control, electronic signatures, multiple languages and currency options, and encrypted data transfer, documents can be shared with clients in any location – speeding up the authorization and signature process and removing the use of carbon-producing mail and delivery services.
Perhaps the most significant reduction of your corporate carbon footprint that results from ‘going paperless’ is right there in the term used. By digitizing your operation and largely removing the reliance your business has on the use of paper, you do your part in reducing the demand for paper, which in turn reduces the need for deforestation and the transportation associated with that process. Businesses around the world can invest endless amounts of revenue into forest planting, but if those same businesses continue to rely on paper-based administrative processes, the positive impact is largely negated.
Contract Management Software for financial and ecological sustainability
Moving your contract documentation to an entirely digital, web-based Contract Management Software package, such as Symfact, is an investment in the long-term financial and ecological sustainability of your business. These efforts in working toward carbon neutrality become a significant selling point for your operation, and will inevitably attract new customers, as well as increasing customer retention.
Beyond the eco-friendly nature of the system, the customizable reporting feature of this software enables you to gain tighter, more productive control of your contract library, which delivers a number of additional benefits, including:
- Closer monitoring of contract lifecycles – Deadlines and milestones can be swiftly followed up, ensuring that opportunities for renegotiation are not missed. Agreements that are no longer productive can be terminated before the automatic renewal takes place.
- Lead generation – Customisable reports can be used to mine your contract library for actionable data, and new sales lead.
- Optimized processes – Contract Management Software incorporates a high degree of automation which, combined with customized reporting, means that your operation is streamlined and efficient – improving your customer relations, and your bottom line.
In the final analysis, it is clear that Contract Management Software and the digitization of your business operation is good for the environment and good for the financial sustainability of your organization. As the science indicates, investment in the environment is an investment in the future, and you can achieve both with Symfact’s Contract Management Software.