There was much to discuss at Davos last week. We heard from the likes of Tim Cook, Bono and Jack Ma on a range of issues, from trade tariffs and ocean health to mental health and online privacy.

Act as if the house is on fire

As difficult as it is to upstage a seasoned global leader, Greta Thunberg came close. The 16 year-old environmental activist reminded us that when it comes to climate change’s fast shrinking timeline, panic is the only rational response. We should act “as if the house was on fire,” she said.

It was a bold argument, delivered direct to an audience with the power to make a difference. The goal at Davos has always been consensus. With many of the world’s leading thinkers and capitalists together in one place, WEF is the perfect opportunity to strike deals that can deliver real and lasting change.

The agreements on which these deals are based work best when you have the right people working quickly towards a common goal. When I talk to our customers about the agreements that underpin their businesses there’s a striking commonality across a range of different industries. People want agreements to be faster and simpler, either out of a need to improve employee or customer experience, to identify and cut cost, or to enable compliance. Sometimes it’s all three.

Everyday businesses can make a difference

I feel proud to talk about a fourth reason. At WEF this year we announced the ‘DocuSign for Forests’ initiative—a commitment to help protect the world’s forests that includes financial donations, support for non-profit organisations, and a commitment to donate 1% of expanded revenues from customers that pledge to improve their paper-use practices.

This matters. The world’s forests absorb carbon emissions and provide us with the oxygen we breathe. More than 20 percent of the world’s breathable oxygen is produced in the Amazon rainforest alone. And yet last year, the 29 million hectares of deforestation recorded by Global Forest Watch was the second largest since monitoring began. Losing trees on this scale poses a very real threat to climate change and wildlife.

At WEF, our CEO Dan Springer shared the stage with Jane Goodall, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute; Unilever CEO Paul Polman; and Salesforce chief philanthropy officer Suzanne DiBianca.

It’s a significant list of environmentalists and sustainability evangelists. And it proves that striving for operational efficiency is perfectly compatible with being a good human being.

Before I joined the DocuSign team I had an interview with Loren Alhadeff, the company’s SVP, sales for North America. Loren has a great way of talking about the environmental value of DocuSign. I remember he compared the amount of forest that DocuSign had already saved to an area equivalent to almost 4,000 Hyde Parks. That image really stuck with me. This is not just box checking. This is about making a positive impact that’s real and tangible.

I think it’s really important to recognise that DocuSign is woven into the way we do business at a human level. It’s software with a significant cause behind it. This week, I’m prouder than ever to work here.

If you’re ready to join DocuSign and our customers in a pledge to reduce your paper usage this year, click below.

Jacqui de Gernier recognises the importance of DocuSign enabling business at a human level, following the 'DocuSign for Forests' annoucement at WEF.