Earth Day 2021: Reimagining Business Strategy to Restore Our Earth

EARTHDAY.ORG announced earlier this week that the theme for Earth Day 2021 is “Restore Our Earth,” which will focus on the role of emerging green technologies and innovative thinking in restoring our ecosystem.

After an eventful 2020, it’s only appropriate that this year’s Earth Day theme prompts a moment of reflection for individuals and businesses alike. 

The pandemic proved harsh for many industries, presenting challenges of digitization they simply weren’t prepared for. At Notarize, we were one of the lucky few to experience the opposite during the pandemic, with a year of unprecedented growth of around 600 percent. If the past year taught us anything, it’s that a business strategy simultaneously focused on digital and environmental streams can ultimately lend itself to long-term growth, even in the face of unpredictable economic conditions. 

The transition to fully digital experiences was always coming; it was only a matter of when. But not everyone perceives a commitment to the Earth’s preservation as an integral part of their business decisions. 

We all need a healthy Earth to support our jobs,
livelihoods, health & survival, and happiness.

A healthy planet is not an option —
it is a necessity.” - EARTHDAY.ORG

Shortly before the pandemic began, Gartner conducted their 2020 CEO Survey which showed that half of the survey respondents believe climate change has an impact on their companies – but only 11% of the surveyed executives viewed environmental sustainability as a priority for their business.

The impact of 2020’s droughts, wildfires, and the pandemic helped reaffirm the vision we’ve always had in mind: that our product should be sustainable and aim to be excellent in its solutions and good in its intention.

Here at Notarize, we challenge ourselves – and everyone else who may believe otherwise – to reconfigure their thinking into providing green, long-term solutions. 

Last year, HousingWire predicted that online mortgage solutions could save the real estate industry up to 2.2 billion sheets of paper each year.

That future is already here. We complete end-to-end digital closings every day – and the number we see continues to climb. We see an opportunity for us to lead by example in establishing new, clean standards for the industry. 

On Earth Day 2019, we dared to imagine how many trees and natural resources we could conserve if every home closing in the United States became fully digital. The potential is immense: upwards of 120,000 tree, saving signers and businesses alike more than $1 billion annually. Those trees convert to 1,200 acres worth of forest every year.  

In the midst of the pandemic, we were honored to do our part to keep signers and notaries public safe while also respecting Mother Nature in our paper usage – or lack thereof.

This isn't just a top-down approach at Notarize. We want to make it clear that economic, social, and ecological responsibility is proudly baked into our business strategy, and our employees approach their projects and workflows with that mindset. 

In the continuing spirit of the Earth Day 2021 theme, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the other environmental triumphs – big and small – of the past year here at Notarize: 

  1. Our in-house counsel and public affairs team have spent the better part of the last year lobbying to weave green technologies such as remote online notarization into the fabric of our legal system. We’re proud to lead the charge towards innovative solutions such as RON, and do so in a way that is legal and thoughtful across all economic sectors.

    Sustainability must be the basis of ecological restoration. The systems we created on Earth don’t exist in a vacuum and can have a very tangible effect on how we use and extract capital for our day-to-day transactions. Remote online notarization is no different. 

  2. The culture at a company can reveal fundamental values, and the culture at Notarize reveals one we’re extremely proud of. In the days and months leading up to Earth Day, our Human Resources team worked to share green living tips with employees, including tips on how we can serve our planet better even beyond the realm of Notarize.

    In addition, the environment is not exclusively restricted to our ecosystem – but also the social and economic systems we participate in. We support organizations like Resilient Coders to bridge the digital divide and enable code literacy for young people from traditionally underserved communities. These investments in human capital help to foster opportunity as green solutions become more mainstream.
  3. We're integrating with partners that share a common ethos. We’ve innovated with partners such as Adobe Document Cloud and Dropbox to reduce paper waste and store data in a secure, efficient platform.

    We also use APIs in our transactions. According to Gartner’s report on applying digital business to sustainability, APIs have the potential to enable ecosystem integration to real-time supply chain, inventory, and order status of fulfillment information. We've also incorporated bots and automated solutions on our site that help cut into paper consumption, which accounts for 35 percent of the Earth’s waste

We have a long way to go in restoring our Earth, but we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge what we’ve done and recalibrate ecological restoration into the core of our business. We’re ready at the forefront to help make digitization happen while providing simple, environmentally-friendly solutions to big life events.