Your Sustainability Agenda: Operationalizing Through Smart Contracts

A review of a roundtable that was recently hosted with Docusign

ESG is a big topic now. With companies looking at their ESG scores, matching these to company initiatives and continue to lift that ESG rating even higher.  

With ESG being top of mind, it would come as no surprise many businesses are looking to technology and automation to find quick wins at bolstering that score. Here at GDS we recently hosted a roundtable, the first of a series of three, from one of our partners Docusign. 

DocuSign is a business that broadly creates and develops opportunities for digital contracts that include digital signatures and allows you to collect signatures and payments electronically, at the time of signature.  

Charlotte Flanagan, Senior Director of Impact at Docusign was our speaker for the event. Joined by 5 senior executives our moderator navigated the conversation around how the simplicity of electric contracts can help businesses with their ESG goals.  

About the Event.  

Now more than ever, organizations are rethinking their operations, seeking to transform themselves into more nimble and resilient organizations. As a result, companies are starting to focus particularly closely on how to enhance their global supply chains’ agility and efficiency to drive the ESG Agenda. 

Large organizations are increasingly viewing their business strategies, investments, and business models through the lens of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics. However, only 2% of sustainability programs achieve or exceed their goals, with 81% “settling for dilution of value and mediocre performance.” 

Companies have started to embed sustainability in their strategy, operations, and targets. But is this enough? How can we ensure we are reaching our ESG goals? 

What can we do beyond automating & digitizing existing processes to reduce the impact on the environment with the help of AI and ML? And how can we do all of this without disturbing workflow, and remaining within budget? 


One big challenge that came up in the event is supporting teams that don’t directly work with ESG. Looking at those teams outside of your lawyers, financial and sustainability. How can businesses help and reach the wider business to ensure they are helping with the companies’ ESG objectives? 

Education and communication.  

Education continues to be a huge challenge and solution for companies. Are you are helping and supporting every person in your business by ensuring they are clear on your ESG goals? And more importantly how they can individually help contribute to them? 

Charlotte went on to discuss how the importance of smaller teams with potentially not as many resource opportunities should also have a different strategy. Allowing them the opportunity to meet and contribute to efforts towards ESG goals.   


Another challenge many businesses are now experiencing comes from the privileged position of the high growth model. Post pandemic some businesses have grown nearly 200%, meaning their ESG goals have also been affected. So, looking at strategies to help with this is also important.  

Building trust and transparency when it comes to internal conversation and communications is a clear next step for businesses looking to expand their ESG efforts across the business. Get more comfortable sharing about your strategy, commitments, and plans. This should include ensuring you are matching your commitments within your Data integrity, and diligence at your end.  

Post Signature: 

As mentioned before, many people are now looking at AI and automation to help with their ESG goals. One way the Docusign is looking at this is by helping businesses have accountability from their contracts drawn up with suppliers and clients. Utilizing this technology reduces downtime from project management and team buildouts but also helps to ensure suppliers are held accountable to meet your ESG demands.  

This can go beyond the obvious, past sustainable materials, past energy efficiency, and requiring suppliers and business partners to be able to match the sustainable mission.  

It may seem small but even the simplicity of changing from paper to fully digital contracts, can save millions on sustainability efforts and can even help you towards your future.  


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