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The Journey to ERP Software Industry Sustainability Sustainability

Many issues in our global economy highlight the drive to sustainability, but none looms larger than global warming. This issue requires immediate attention, active involvement and sponsorship from the business community. Based on clear research demonstrating increasing accumulation of green house gases, it is essential that businesses get to a zero carbon footprint by mid-century, if not sooner, to enable a soft landing that reduces environmental catastrophes. We do not see this as a course to be green as much as we see it as course to a balanced waste model, or sustainability.

Ray Anderson of Interface carpet offers a business leadership example in sustainability. In 1994, Ray read Paul Hawken’s Natural Capital and learned from the authors of The Natural Step. He charted his environmental journey through a book called Mid-course Correction, detailing his plan to the idea of “mission zero.” His commitment is a goal that Interface shall be a completely sustainable and zero carbon footprint company by 2020. This is outstanding example of how a business leader applies creative thinking to better his company's financial performance and the environment.

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

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


First, Make Our Company a Sustainable Company

Our first task was to get our waste per employee benchmarked and compared to other digital media companies. Our second mission is to drive the waste per employee down a curve toward zero, like Interface. To this end, we're on a journey to leverage 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 customer relationship management software industry. Check out our Green Plan and read Chuck's blog to periodically review our progress.


Second, Coerce the CRM Software Industry Toward Sustainability

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

The ERP software industry sits in a ideal spot to help enable a transition to a more sustainable economy based on lean production methods, shared services models and improved closed-loop sustainable 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 ERP to Achieve Green Business Behaviors blog posts.

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

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A History & Passion for Sustainability
  • IDG Computerworld twice named 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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