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The sustainability journey

A man and woman looking at laptop, while having coffee.

Becoming a leader in sustainability is no small feat, requiring buy-in from leadership, investment in the right technology, and trustworthy data.

The beginning of a sustainability journey for most companies means focusing on compliance. It’s a sensible place to start — every business needs to make sure it’s sticking to current regulations. But what needs to happen for those who want to go further?

Hass Jishi, head of Net Zero Cloud UKI (United Kingdom and Ireland) at Slalom, spoke at a conference in London about why any business wanting to be a change maker needs two things: a bold vision and the ability to execute it.

It’s the second part — the execution — that can be the most challenging, largely because of the difficulties encountered in collecting data and measuring progress. Businesses need to find ways to free up time from reporting so they can spend more time making decisions and making a difference.

Automated data collection

As Jishi explained during the Slalom session, many businesses are “bogged down in reports and spreadsheets,” requiring them to gather data from warehouses, facilities, and building management. They’re trying to get data anyway they can.

Jantzen Bridges, Salesforce General Manager at Slalom, said that the average amount of time for impact data to be manually collected, fully reconciled, and sent off for publishing is four to six weeks. In some cases, it’s 12 to 16 weeks of five to 10-person teams collecting the data, without any established trust or accuracy.

If it’s taking that long to get that data just to see what the impact is, how are companies moving the dial? And how are they coming up with initiatives that actually make a difference?

This sluggish collection of data also makes it tricky to maintain the momentum behind a bold vision or strategy, partly because it’s hard to trust the numbers. How is it possible to have a bold vision that you’re confident in if it’s taking months to track the data?

Net zero and the importance of data

A more effective approach to net zero — and sustainability in general — requires automation of data collection wherever possible. It also needs to be led from the very top of the company, with a clear vision and a business imperative embedded across the organisation.

As Jishi said, if you have the vision and make it a business imperative, you can start mobilising and making a difference.

During his presentation, Jishi pointed to one recent example at a luxury retail brand. Tapping into consumers’ desires to repair their luxury handbags and extend the life of the items, the brand launched a repair service that sent items to its workshop for renewal. Interrogation of the data, however, found that shipping emissions made the carbon footprint of repair larger than the impact of producing a new item from raw materials. While the initial idea was a strong one, the brand needed to take a step back and reconsider what other changes needed to happen first.

The path to net zero

Initially, all it takes are a few small changes to make a big impact. Everyone starts somewhere — and if you aren’t tracking things, they will never change.

By placing Salesforce’s Net Zero Cloud at the centre of your ESG program, Slalom can help you create a culture of innovation and action, using comprehensive and easy reporting to provide the fastest possible path to net zero emissions. Learn more and reach out today.

Let’s solve together.