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How PDF helps businesses reduce their ecological footprint

Christian Schiller // September 15, 2023

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All of us are being encouraged to pursue a lifestyle that conserves resources. This doesn‘t mean doing without, but rather recognizing the need to rethink the way we use limited resources – in both our personal and professional lives. Portable Document Format (PDF) files and digital signatures offer businesses a tremendous opportunity for reducing their ecological footprints.

What does the ecological footprint have to do with the PDF file format?

The ecological footprint represents the amount of biologically productive areas on Earth required to produce and sustain a given population’s lifestyle and standard of living. Currently, the Earth needs more than one and a half years to cover one year’s amount of human consumption. Put another way, we, on average, are taking too much from the Earth, leaving it unable to regenerate quickly enough to ensure ecological balance and biocapacity.

This means that we must take action in all facets of our lives. For example, we can save paper and toner with every document we open electronically and do not print. And those of us who use digital signatures at work also help ensure that fewer documents need to be printed in order to be signed by hand.

Good reasons for being more resource efficient with the help of PDF

PDF instead of hard copy …

  1. … saves not just money on paper and toner, but protects the environment seeing as how paper production uses enormous amounts of energy and emits high volumes of CO2.
  2. … spares packaging and transport costs. PDF documents can be sent quickly and easily by email or saved and shared in the cloud.
  3. … enhances enterprise process efficiency. Besides being easy to edit, PDF files are searchable and can be shared almost instantaneously – all of which saves time and money.
  4. … provides an economical means of long-term archiving (an example being PDF/A), thus eliminating the need for expensive archives and storage facilities.

Naturally, the editing, saving and sending of PDF files also require energy, of which we human beings have only a limited supply. This is yet another area in which we should all work as sparingly as possible with what resources are available. This means giving special attention to minimizing and generating only the amount of data that is actually required.

Measuring your ecological footprint

Adobe has a website with a calculator that lets you estimate the amount of paper you can save and how you can reduce your carbon footprint by using e-signatures instead of paper agreements. It only takes a few entries to reveal the potential savings that lie hidden away.

Why PDF and not some other file format?

PDF files can be opened and displayed on any computer regardless of platform type or operating system. And best of all, the formatting always looks and remains the same. Like no other file format, PDF has gained acceptance as the de facto standard and will remain invaluable in the future, especially when in business and commerce.

Although using PDF is just one action that can be taken to reduce the ecological footprint, it is a significant step in the right direction. It is with products such as webPDF that we help companies go even further with this one step.

SoftVision Development GmbH, based in Fulda – in the heart of Germany, specialises in software development and has been supporting companies in all sectors for many years with innovative software solutions that ensure reliability, efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Customers across all industries and company sizes trust in our products webPDF, n2pdf …

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Christian Schiller

Christian Schiller

Managing Director at SoftVision Development GmbH