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HRlab Sustainability

The Journey to HR Software Industry Sustainability Sustainability

Numerous issues in our global economy highlight the drive to sustainability, but none looms larger than the threat of global warming. This enviornmental issue requires immediate attention, active involvement and sponsorship from the HR and business communities. Based on research clearly demonstrating increasing accumulation of green house gases, it's essential that businesses achieve a zero carbon footprint by mid-century, if not sooner, to deliver a soft landing that reduces environmental catastrophes. We don't view this as a course to be green as much as we view it as course to a balanced waste model, or sustainability.

Ray Anderson of the Interface Carpet comany delivers a business leadership example in sustainability. In 1994, he read Paul Hawken’s Natural Capital and learned from the authors of The Natural Step. He then charted his own environmental journey with a book called Mid-course Correction, illustrating his plan and the idea of 'mission zero.' His commitment is that his company will be a completely sustainable and zero carbon footprint business by 2020. This is a great example of how a business leader applies creative thinking to better his company's financial performance and the environment at the same time.

Marc Benioff is another business leader who has demonstrated that corporate philanthropy is more empowering and sustainable than building even a legendary software as a service CRM organization. In fact, in almost direct contrast to Milton Friedman who famously said that 'The business of business is business,' the CEO has suggested, and proven, that the business of business is more than business. The company foundation is another great example of the symbiotic integration of business with corporate social responsibility, and the amplification effect when including the entire customer and supplier network, which utlimately delivers benefits to the public good and sponsoring companies who drive these results.

We're inspired by Ray Anderson, Marc Benioff and other forward thinking business leaders and have adopted two strategic programs as part of our participation in the media and software industry.

First, Make Our Company a Sustainable Company

Our first objective is to get our waste per employee benchmarked and compared to other digital media companies. Our second goal is to drive the waste per employee down a curve toward zero. To this end, we're on a journey to implement the right mix of technology to improve upon our declining waste all the while sharing our experience, progress and lessons learned with our community, customers, suppliers and the software industry. Check out our Green Plan and read our blog to periodically review our progress.

Second, Coerce the Business Software Industry Toward Sustainability

To achieve a bigger impact, we're going to need to spread our passion for sustainability throughout the industry where we work, network, share relationships and meet new people. The business software industry is uniquely suited to lead by example. The software market is on a course of reducing the volume of product it ships, the number of data centers it manages and the quantity of servers that consume electricity and release carbon dioxide emissions. This high tech industry fully embraces new technology solutions, has shown the willingness to come together for causes where everybody wins and can be a leadership example in demonstrating an industry wide movement which creates sustained operating savings, staff engagement and customer goodwill — benefits that other industries will want to replicate once they understand why and how.

The HR and business software industry sits in a ideal spot to facilitate a transition to a more sustainable economy based on lean production methods, shared services models and improved closed-loop business models that are more balanced with social equity and a more diverse ecology. To see what you can do, or how to get started, check out our recommendations for SaaS and Green Data Centers or Using CRM and Business Software to Achieve Green Business blog posts.

Our ideas, progress and persuasion will be chronicled in our blog posts and articles. We welcome any and all comments or suggestions.

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A History & Passion for Sustainability
  • IDG Computerworld twice named Editor Chuck Schaeffer's company one of the top 11 Green IT Organizations based on his data center Global Reach for Energy and Efficiency Next Generation (GREEN) program, which reduced carbon emissions through several sustained efforts including cooling efficiency, re-engineered power distribution, server virtualization and new footprint schemas for improved equipment density.
  • Chuck received a 2009 American Business Award for his company's Green Approach to Software Product Development in 2009.
  • Based in part to demonstrating how sustainability objectives can spur global economic benefits, Chuck was appointed Examiner for 2007 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.


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