Smartphones. Social media. Virtual reality. Artificial intelligence.
Love it or loathe it, technology is hugely important to our lives. Whether we experience the benefits of a hearing aid, use a mobile phone, listen to music or turn on the GPS in our car, we are constantly enjoying the benefits of a high-tech life.
20th century technology, specifically mechanization and other industrial processes, got us into the climate conundrum. Can 21st century data and digital transformation help us get out of it?
What is our approach at IFS?
Sophie Graham, our newly appointed Director of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance), believes that technology is an important enabler of change that must help us tackle systemic issues such as climate change. “Technology companies have a role to help transform businesses to be more sustainable, and there is real demand for this support with the growth of the ESG agenda and stakeholder expectations in this space.”
IFS is committed to ensuring that sustainability is more than a marketing buzzword. That is not to say that brand and marketing don’t come into the picture—it has been proven that consumers want to feel like they are making a difference in their buying choices. At its most cynical, then, sustainability is a wise choice from a commercial point of view—it is something that should be celebrated if not simply from a business standpoint, but because it is a step in the right direction.
Our three-pillar framework
IFS’s values, culture, and business model are linked to its vision to provide the best possible experience to its customers. Our roadmap lays out the stepped approach across three pillars, with the aim to produce a positive impact with our business activity, for our customers and the industry at large.
1. Our own business
As a large employer, IFS recognizes the responsibility we hold within our own business. In line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, IFS has identified several areas where it will increase its focus for greater impact:
The IFS Education Program provides scholarships, grants, IT equipment, as well as practical knowledge through internships and mentorships for students. Over the course of the next three years, we plan to expand the program to 150 institutions globally.
In a program started in 2019, IFS committed to reducing its carbon footprint in part through consolidating its real-estate and improving the green credentials of its properties. From mid-2019 to date, IFS has reduced the square meterage of its global real estate by 9.5% & shrunk its car fleet by 86% versus 2019.
IFS champions and partners with the IFS Foundation to help improve people’s living standards in the Sri Lankan countryside by addressing aspects of health, water and sanitation, education, and economy, resulting in a self-sustained community.
IFS encourages people to lead the change through developing an ‘Impact Mindset’ through volunteering: all employees are given the opportunity to invest one workday a year to support a charitable cause of their choice. In 2023, we strive to have the equivalent of 3 years’ worth of work invested by our employees.
In this way, IFS is constantly looking for ways to improve employee awareness of and contribute to the sustainability agenda. We will be introducing a framework to trigger people’s mindsets and to guide engagement. The framework will drive how the company is making it possible for its employees to impact sustainability as individuals and assess how successful IFS is at engaging its workforce behind the Impact Mindset.
Diversity and Governance
IFS has set the bar high against peers in the industry in terms of diversity in employee mix sets. For example, women make up 34% of the business, 9% above the industry average for tech. IFS has always been compliant regarding Human Rights and Anti-Slavery, and will further ensure that this is not only in line with UN criteria and reporting and but also pervasively included in the education of its employees.
2. The industry at large
To raise awareness around the importance of sustainability at a macro level and to help improve its own approach to sustainability, IFS has made two significant moves over the past year, one with the appointment of Sophie Graham as our first Global Director of Sustainability (ESG), and secondly with the publication of our global sustainability report. Part of the battle is about raising awareness and rallying “ecological warriors” to join the universal fight to save the planet.
The argument over who is responsible for saving the planet is an old one: the responsibility lies with three major players: the government, consumers, and companies/industries. Each of these parties can change how we move forward through education, power, and impact.
However, according to Sustainable Brands, People Aren’t Saving the Planet. Corporations Are. The sheer scale of impact that corporations have on the health of our planet makes Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) our best bet in the fight against climate change.
What does IFS software have to offer?
‘Together for the Planet’ or ‘Tech for the Planet’ was coined as a rallying cry by the UN at the COP26 conference. IFS software – and the technology sector at large – share in the responsibility to foster a greener future.
Tracking sustainability across investment supply chains is key to sustainable development. As a tech company, IFS must not only seek to make our business more sustainable, but also consider how our products and services help our customers become greener.
In March 2021, IFS launched IFS Cloud, a single platform that IFS customers can deploy on premise or in the cloud in a modular way, taking advantage of the latest and most efficient technology to reduce computer processing and storage requirements. When deployed in the cloud, such as Microsoft Azure, IFS Cloud is both 79% more energy efficient and storage is 71-79% more energy efficient than storage equivalents deployed in traditional enterprise data centers.
Recognizing the need and pressures many customers must monitor, manage and report on their own sustainability goals and commitments, in 2021, IFS also launched a new module within IFS Cloud specifically for sustainability management reporting: the IFS Sustainability Hub. The app will allow you to track progress and compliance across your teams, enabling managers to quickly identify any gaps or see where additional support might be needed. It provides the transparency needed to demonstrate tangible progress in relation to meeting specific business targets or internal audits as per pre-agreed actions or goals.
3. Our customers
Leveraging technology in improving the sustainability of not only our own operations, but those of our customers, is one of our key focuses. In October 2022, IFS announced the winners of its second annual Change for Good Sustainability Awards which recognizes the leaps and bounds our customers are making in achieving ESG goals:
- One such example that stands out is Volvo Group who won the “Best use of IFS technology” award. Circularity is considered in much of what is done at Volvo, and the company’s remanufacturing process is seen as an important way of managing resources. IFS’s solutions play a key role in managing this process, which has been revamped to focus on environmental sustainability as well as the circular economy.
- Technogroup, with the help of IFS ERP, services and sells refurbished hardware, giving discarded components a second life. Parent company, Evernex, has calculated that around 15% of all equipment handed over as IT scrap is reusable. Around 235,000+ spare parts are delivered worldwide, while more than 50,000 components enter the spare parts inventory via recycling and are re-installed in data centers every year. Of the remaining 85%, 93% is recycled and turned into a secondary raw material.
- Cape Air won our “journey of transformation to a sustainable business award ” category. The North American airline, which operates 104 aircraft in the Northeast and Midwest of the US, the state of Montana and in the Caribbean, is responsibly tackling a low-carbon aviation future. The company was one of the first to make use of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) arrays at its headquarters and is currently (in 2022) generating 625,000 kWh per year. The panel commented: “Cape Air is a great example of a business fusing corporate responsibility with personal responsibility for sustainability. It is an approach that really makes a difference in terms of outcomes because it drives home the message to everyone.”
People and the planet
Striking the balance between people and the planet is what makes sustainability and sustainable business so important. People may be the root cause of pollution, but they are undoubtedly the solution, too. As a technology company, whose entire ecosystem relies on electricity to power its systems, IFS is at once responsible and accountable for playing its part in providing a solution to the climate crisis.
The global move to evergreen solutions such as IFS Cloud, as well as the localized switch to renewable energy, and the capabilities, logistical efficiency and planning that our CRM systems provide for the automotive, energy & utilities and food industry, to name a few, makes IFS—and the technology sector in general—pioneers in paving the way to a more sustainable, and greener future.
Discover more about IFS’s commitment to sustainability here!
Read more in our 2022 Sustainability Report.
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