Global leaders can create sustainability with meaningful transparency

Bt Suzanne DiBianca, Chief Impact Officer & EVP, Corporate Relations, Salesforce

The global community is facing many crises, including an ongoing pandemic, the tragic consequences of centuries of racial inequality, and a climate emergency. But this year will also bring new opportunities for companies to work with governments and individuals to rebuild and create a fairer, more sustainable future for all.

With nearly 90% of customers expecting corporations to live up to a set of values higher than shareholder return alone, global leaders need to weave environmental, social and governance (ESG) impact deep into their culture, strategy and mission. In 2021, this is a business imperative.

The impact revolution has even outgrown its own name, as 90% of the S&P 500 now produce ESG reports, and Morgan Stanley has declared that ESG will define the next decade of investing. Countries including the United Kingdom are passing mandatory private-sector climate disclosure rules, while Japan is leading a wave of nations striving to reach net zero emissions by 2050. In the EU, the Non-Financial Reporting Directive is driving additional corporate ESG transparency.

At the same time, business decision makers are seeing how impact strategies create positive flywheel effects. This pivot is a surefire growth strategy, builds positive brand reputation, increases customer engagement and builds trust with stakeholders. It is even a smart tool for employee recruitment and retention, with 70% of employees wanting to work for purpose-driven companies.

Innovation and transparency must go hand in hand

Now more than ever, CEOs no longer have to choose between doing well and doing good. ESG should be treated as a comparative advantage in a competitive marketplace, and the private sector must stay committed to innovation as well as transparency in this space. There must be accountability and standardised metrics, otherwise the rally cry for ESG will become a critique of greenwashing.

To keep impact on a growth trajectory, ESG-committed leaders first need to develop their impact strategies with intersectionality in mind. According to Accenture research, 78% of C-Suite executives say they plan to align their business strategies with sustainability challenges such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


There’s a reason the UN articulated all 17 SDGs together. We can’t solve poverty without combating hunger; gender equality is part and parcel of education reform. The fact is companies cannot silo their concerns either, and we are not fulfilling our responsibility if we think about addressing carbon neutrality or racial justice alone.

But intersectionality is only possible when we all work with one another. As the UN Foundation states, “When we act together, change happens.” Take the initiative – a multi-stakeholder project with the goal to grow, restore and conserve one trillion trees around the world by 2030. Only a public-private partnership of scores of organisations with overlapping and complementary resources and skill sets can accomplish this ambitious target. It’s actions like these that are urgently needed across all sectors to solve the UN SDGs.

Valuing purpose and measuring impact

For corporate enterprises, putting intersectionality into practice is all in the design and strategy. It starts with an accounting and reconfiguration of every asset a company can bring to bear to create impact. That means adapting the themes and goals of company events; greening financial instruments like bonds; and reimagining philanthropic efforts.

Launching venture funds focused on impact is one clear opportunity. Corporations including Citi, JPMorgan, Amazon, and Salesforce have created funds that help advance the growth of companies driving impact across education and workforce development, sustainability, diversity, equity, and inclusion. In June 2020, the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) estimated that this sector had ballooned to $715 billion, up more than 40% from 2019.

Diversity in a traditional portfolio helps reduce risk, and it helps optimise reward in the impact context. Perhaps the most important plank of this venture platform is a commitment to investing in women and underrepresented founders, who historically lack access to capital.

Ultimately, these efforts will not create sustainability without meaningful transparency. An ESG reporting framework convergence will give all stakeholders visibility into the actual impact of a company. For too long, impact has lacked an accessible measurement for stakeholder value. Many voluntary frameworks exist, yet no single, accepted global ESG standard for corporate disclosure is yet in place. However, on January 26th, corporate members of the World Economic Forum and its International Business Council voiced their public support for stakeholder capitalism and called for ESG convergence, a promising step towards standardised reporting.

A growing corporate coalition is putting its best foot forward to redirect and redesign the machinery of the private sector by focusing on stakeholder capitalism. Capitalism as it is currently designed doesn’t work for everyone. We need a more equal, fair and sustainable way of doing business that values purpose alongside profit. If we remain committed to reform and innovation, impact has the opportunity to prove that the challenges we face can accelerate progress, not inhibit it. This is our promise — a promise we call on others to make alongside us.

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Green and clean: The SME cloud

Words by Xavier Nel, Head of Product at CloudGate

The environment can be very expensive for the company that isn’t paying attention.

In South Africa, the Carbon Tax Act came into effect on 01 June 2019. The tax is levied on greenhouse gas emissions from fuel combustion, industrial processes and fugitive emissions, according to Deloitte. And the total is determined by sum, the reporting methodology, and the business. That’s one way that not going green can cost you. The other is in reputation. Sustainability practices, good environmental processes and a solid green platform stand most companies in good stead when it comes to consumer spending. A recent report by Nielson found that sustainability sells and that consumers, globally, are more interested in brands that care about the environment.

In short, going green is good business practice.

It’s also not exclusively wrapped up in carbon emissions and sustainable practices around packaging and process.  It’s also part and parcel of technology investment.

Cloud technology helps organisations cut costs, shifting their business technology investment away from the CAPEX model to the OPEX one as they get all the benefits of high-end performance and capability with none of the hardware on the ground.  It has proven results in cost savings and in improving business efficiencies as it allows for organisations to only pay for what they use, to scale on demand, and to streamline their infrastructure right down to what they really need. Cloud also happens to have a major impact on the small to medium enterprise (SME) carbon footprint.

Cloud is a solid step for any SME considering a move towards a more sustainable way of running the business. The technology is accessible and cost-effective, and it has been steadily evolving alongside global demand for increasingly green approaches and practices. Companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google – the giant hyperscalers that get Cloud to the people on the ground – have focused on eco-friendly measures and approaches designed to minimise the carbon impact of their datacentres and systems.

In a recent analysis undertaken by Wired magazine in 2019, the three hyperscalers were stacked up against one another to see which one had the greenest credentials. Google has 100% renewable energy across all of its operations, including its datacentres, which is a remarkable achievement no matter how you look at it. Microsoft has been carbon neutral for more than eight years and also has 100% renewable energy alongside some impressive initiatives focused on cutting its footprint even further. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is behind its competitors but has committed to changing its tactics over the past few years with investment into wind and solar farms and a net-zero carbon emission commitment for 2040.

As these are potentially the beasts that hold the cloud services that your company purchases, these green credentials go a long way towards bolstering your own. If the SME looks at investing into solutions such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), data and infrastructure are remotely hosted so there’s no need to invest into software or high-end hardware or to spend anything on required maintenance. Remote services also allow users to eliminate the space and energy requirements of on-site servers and hardware which is an almost immediate benefit to the green bottom line (and the financial one).

SMEs that run their own environments can find that their server use rates sit at around 10% which is a highly inefficient expense. The money is being spent on the hardware, infrastructure, energy and maintenance, but up to 90% of the capacity is lying dormant. In the cloud, the dynamic shifts considerably – utilisation rates rise to around 70% and shared data centres can employ fewer machines to get the same capacity equivalent. Cloud providers also use more efficient layouts, have the right resources to upgrade to energy-saving equipment and systems, and are consistently focused on optimisation and deliverables. These factors have contributed to numerous positive statistics that show how much a company can cut in carbon emissions if it moves to the cloud.

There’s also the fact that the basic technology used by companies to handle the day-to-day has undergone a significant change. Mini PCs, which have small form factors yet plenty of features, offer a tiny carbon footprint and they use a fraction of the power that traditional PCs use. Being so energy efficient, small, powerful and low-cost, they shrink any company’s` emissions footprint as effectively as they do the amount of desk space that they take up. CloudGate’s range of Mini PCs is designed to provide the environmentally-conscious SME with a solid investment into technology that can be used in any location at a fraction of the usual price – both in budget and footprint. 

Then, of course, no green cloud conversation can be complete without looking at how it can fundamentally change the way people work. This has already been deeply felt over the past few months as companies have leaned heavily on technology to get their people working remotely. It has also been felt by the environment. A recent study published in ScienceDirect found a correlation between the virus and improved air quality and environmental noise pollution and highlighted the fact that climate experts have predicted that greenhouse gases could drop to levels not seen since World War 2. Remote working has multiple benefits for the business, its people and the planet, and it is powered by the ubiquity of the cloud. Ultimately, the SME benefits immensely from any cloud investment no matter what their end goal. Be it efficiencies, cost savings, productivity improvements, or the environment, Cloud manages to, very successfully, tick every, single box. For more information, visit

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Scania supports logistics industry with new finance model

Scania South Africa has redesigned its business model in order to make upgrading financially easier for its customers. This has been in response to the uncertain business climate making many operators being reluctant to buy new trucks. The drastic and unforeseen economic challenge has forced fleet managers and business owners to rethink their usual purchasing patterns. 

The General Manager of Sales for Scania South Africa, Mark Erasmus, explained that trucks need to be working for companies to make a profit.

“It’s now that the improved efficiencies leading to vital cost economies, offered by our New Generation Trucks, will really make a difference,” Erasmus said

Putting these cost efficiencies into the hands of businesses who could benefit from the cost-savings but don’t have the appetite for large capital expenditures in these difficult times has required Scania South Africa to look for optimal financing agility. 

Scania’s Marketing Director, Nomonde Kweyi, explained that they understand their important role in providing equipment and making sure that the equipment provided remains relevant in tough economic times. 

In order to support this, Kweyi added that Scania has developed financial offers that will help their customers. These financial offers include quality technology and performance that is supported by an extended warranty and coverage plan. 

Scania’s new all-inclusive monthly payment offer includes maintenance, repairs, insurance and extras, with the option to upgrade or purchase after 36-months. 

“It gives operators a bundled offer that covers the essentials at an unbeatable monthly rate”, explained Kweyi.

The New Generation Scania trucks and services have been engineered to perfection with the goal of improving fuel efficiency. Through improved aerodynamics, new engine concepts together with intelligent support systems, such as eco-roll and active prediction, the new generation Scania trucks are making huge strides towards reducing fuel consumption. Connectivity is also highlighted as a valuable cost-cutting tool.

“Our connected services deliver it all – from automated tachograph reporting to remote diagnostics and driver coaching. Our systems are also uniquely easy to use so they are used more often, leading to greater insights that translate into long-term cost efficiencies,” explained Erasmus

Connected technologies are used to manage entire fleets, maximising uptime and productivity. Scania is also setting new standards in maintenance plans using several operational factors and vehicle specifications to offer a continuously updated and flexible maintenance plan that minimises downtime to the lowest possible cost.

“Factors such as topography, fuel quality and stop and start frequency all affect the level of maintenance needed,” said Erasmus. 

By individually optimising the different modules in the maintenance plan, such as air filter and gearbox, Scania ensures that downtime is planned and only occurs when necessary. For each maintenance event, timing and content are calculated based on factors such as the cost of spare parts and labour. This way, an optimised maintenance interval can be adapted to suit a particular business operations schedule. Even when things don’t go according to plan, Scania provides operators with a complete back-up system designed to minimize downtime and keep a vehicle on the road. Scania Assistance is an essential support service that is available.

Kweyi stressed that in order for businesses to become and remain sustainable they need to play a role in ensuring there is access to high quality and cost-effective after-sales services. 

“Scania South Africa is ready to play a pivotal role in ensuring businesses have the best-in-class equipment and support to confidently recover and thrive, not just in the short-term but in years to come,” Kweyi said. 

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