Corporate sustainability has come a long way since the early days, when executives were focused on the “triple bottom line”—a commitment to environmental, social, and economic goals. These days, sustainability is not just a public relations effort; it is a fundamental part of the business.

When was the last time you think about how your company engages with sustainability?

You’re not alone. In fact, most CEOs and business leaders don’t often consider their corporate sustainability engagements. That’s why we’ve put together five ways that executives can improve their company’s engagement with sustainable practices.

Start with a working definition of ESG — and set some achievable goals.

As a business leader, you’ll want to set some concrete goals that are based on ESG metrics specific to the industry in which your company operates. Start small and be realistic about what your team can realistically achieve within a certain period of time. For example, if your industry is energy production, you might start by committing to a 10% reduction in energy use at all facilities over the next three years. This goal is measurable (simply compare this year’s energy use against last year’s) and specific (10%). It also has a clear endpoint (three years). You may not be able to reach that goal immediately: your facilities were built in an era before environmental responsibility was top of mind, so you may need to invest capital into new equipment or retrofitting old equipment before you can reduce energy usage by 10%.

Construct an Corporate ESG Framework.

Constructing a framework to determine how to prioritize and implement ESG practices is vital. It starts with picking your framework such as SASB, TCFD, GRI, SDGs and measuring your MSCI ESG Ratings. These will help you determine which ESG factors are important to your business, industry, and stakeholders. These standards should be tailored to meet the needs of your organization, as well. ESG Focused framework development involves identifying internal expertise and external partners that can assist with the process. Once you identify what those ESG factors are, you must develop a strategy for implementing them into your organization’s operations in order to achieve measurable results.

Get CEO and Senior leaders on board.

Don’t expect your ESG strategy to gain momentum or even see the light of day without the support of your company’s CEO and senior leadership. When you’re just starting out, your role will be more about collecting data than coming up with strategies, so start by introducing yourself to senior leaders. You’ll want to book a meeting with the CEO and her inner circle (COO or CFO, if you have them) to discuss ESG goals. Explain that you would like their input on what they think ESG should look like for your organization. If they aren’t already familiar with ESG as a concept, take a few minutes to give them some background information and explain that you are taking these initial steps in order to get ahead of possible regulations and meet investor expectations, which will help preserve growth over the long term. With these points in mind, ask the CEO if there are any aspects related to sustainability or social impact that she thinks could be improved within the company (e.g., waste management), and then take notes on how she answers these questions.

Once you’ve wrapped up this discussion and taken note of what they said, schedule another meeting 10-15 days later where you can share some concrete next steps based on their feedback from last time. At this point it’s likely that many people will still be curious about exactly what needs to happen for an ESG strategy at your company—the key is providing clear direction instead of being overly vague about why it matters or allowing stakeholders to fill in their own blanks based on assumptions they may have heard elsewhere but aren’t relevant for your industry/company specifically.

Identify and Prioritize ESG Reporting and Disclosures Needs

  • Identify and prioritize ESG reporting and disclosure needs. This should include analyzing your company’s current state as well as understanding its competitive landscape.
  • Establish metrics to track key ESG performance indicators. By establishing a baseline, you can more accurately measure progress toward your goals. As you select your key metrics, keep in mind that the objective is to create a system that is both relevant and easily accessible for multiple stakeholders. To ensure relevance, consider using framework-specific metrics (e.g., those that align with MSCI ESG Scores) wherever possible—it will make it easier for those familiar with the MSCI standards to compare you to other companies using MSCI, who are also likely reporting on similar metrics, which allows them to understand how your company stacks up against competitors.* Be transparent in disclosing ESG information—optimally through a publicly available report which covers material issues and provides an independent assurance statement as appropriate

Recruit Women Leaders to Lead ESG

Although the world of corporate responsibility is still largely male-dominated, women are making their mark as rising leaders in Asia. The reason? They tend to take a more holistic approach to ESG issues and have better relationships with stakeholders. These two traits go hand in hand in building trust among those that make decisions, which can lead to positive business outcomes down the line. As companies continue to grow and their missions expand, it’s important that they put their arms around sustainable practices—but it’s equally important that they find ways to make them feel like home for all employees.

This year more and more enterprise companies are in search of comprehensive global sustainability operating models and developing more leadership opportunities for women.

So, where do they start? To address the market needs, we are launching the WICxLEAD, the next generation Corporate ESG Women’s Leadership Accelerator, designed to empower corporate women and entrepreneurs to ignite economic access. Our scholars will learn how to lead and influence digital transformation projects through cloud and AI technology, teaching them how to grow their executive presence, personal brand identity, public speaking impact, global access creation and community development strategies giving them a powerful platform to accelerate as industry ESG influencers and purpose-driven leaders. 

Identify Digital Transformation Solution

Digital transformation, or the use of digital technologies to solve problems and create value in an organization, is a powerful tool for helping your company achieve its ESG goals. With digital transformation, you can show employees and customers that your company is committed to change and improvement—and by demonstrating this commitment through positive action, you’ll be able to prove your worth as a shareholder.

Successful companies know that taking care of their people will lead to better business performance in the long run. A digital transformation solution that focuses on creating a diverse and inclusive workplace is an excellent way to show employees (and potential talent) that they’re valued by the company.

Additionally, moving business processes online increases efficiency—which means fewer hours worked for employees who need time off for family or personal matters, less wasted materials from paper-based forms, and more streamlined production cycles. Even if the process itself can’t be automated or digitized just yet, it’s still a great idea to give employees mobile tools so they can work faster from anywhere. In other words: with less time spent doing menial tasks like paperwork or waiting around for approvals from managers at headquarters, workers have more time to focus on innovative projects and produce higher quality work overall. Here is an example of how FEDx leveraging digital transformation efforts to reduce carbon footprint.

Establish Community Partners to Scale company’s impact.

  • Co-brand and co-develop solutions with a dedicated community partner like Women In Cloud
  • Leverage social media campaigns to spread the word about your partnership and efforts, as well as its success stories.
  • Use community partnerships to help with funding your programs, particularly those in underserved communities.
  • Community partners are also useful for testing ideas before scaling up, and have access to volunteers that can be used for small-scale projects or events before larger scale implementation begins.

We believe when we work together to make our planet and people healthy through our actions, we all can accelerate our growth in ways that generate sustainable outcomes including profits.

The Women in Cloud and Fortune 100 Lunch and Learn Series is here again. 

This time, we’re excited to have Salesforce Ventures teach us the ins and outs of corporate venture investing. Whether you’re looking to raise funding from the corporate ecosystem, or just interested in learning more about investment strategies, this event is for you.

The event will take place on Friday, April 22, 2022 from 10a – 11a PT / 1p – 2p ET.  

During the event, we’ll cover topics like:

  • The Basics of Investing and How Corporate VC is different
  • Understand Deal Structures
  • How to prepare for your pitch
  • Conducting due diligence, risks, and closing the deal
  • Articulating the return on investment

In addition to these topics, we’ll also be able to ask the panelists our questions about the industry. 

Attendance for this event is entirely free— and only a quick application is required. 

100 limited spots available.  Apply early.

We look forward to seeing you there! 

Learn more here: https://www.womenincloud.com/wicxfortune100-lunch-learn-series/

On popular demand, we are excited to announce #WICxAnnualSummit2022 Corporate pass. We invite you and your company to become one of the top 200 companies championing economic access and equity for women in the technology industry. Hence, we brought our Corporate Pass option back for you to create infinite access for your employees, partners, and customers to exclusive learning and networking opportunities at the Women In Cloud Annual Summit

Women in Cloud is on a mission to change the pace and create access for female-owned tech companies, by committing to generate $1 Billion in new, global economic access for women-owned businesses in partnership with corporate companies.

You have an opportunity to get involved now, and help play a part in rapidly creating gender equity across the globe. 

This year’s Women In Cloud Annual Summit is taking place on January 26-28, 2022 which celebrates the collective influence and actions towards creating $1B in economic access.

Take Action: Purchase the Women in Cloud Corporate Pass Package for $695 ($50 discount) today and surprise 5 of your employees with infinite access! This offer includes 5 premium passes, all year access to content, and your company’s logo included on the event landing page and virtual event programming.

Gift of Access: Nominate yourself or a leader in your organization to attend one of our SIX Executive Dinners starting January.

Additional Speaker & Brand Sponsorship Opportunities: 

  • Sponsor Annual Summit experiences: Starting at $5,000 to $35,000. Learn More.
  • Sponsor WIC’s NEW Annual Corporate Event Sponsorship Package for $30K: Includes TWO Session Sponsorships in 2022, including the #WICxAnnualSummit, Speaking and Advisory Opportunities, Executive Dinner Invites (In-Person), Podcast Feature, Guest Blog, Access to our new Acceleration Workshops and more!
  • Interested in Sponsoring an Execute Dinner in your city in January to kickstart our Summit celebrations? Contact us for more details. 

Through this partnership we hope to strengthen our global power as women in technology and spread awareness of your company’s brand and mission. We look forward to seeing you in January for the 2022 Women in Cloud Annual Summit and will be reaching out soon to talk in more detail about the advantages of becoming a corporate sponsor!

Please contact erinn@womenincloud.com if you have any questions.

It’s the season of giving for everyone, we have an opportunity to pay forward the prosperity and access that we are blessed with. 

In response to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on women in India, Women in Cloud launched the #empowHERfamily initiative in August 2021. The purpose of this cross-sector economic relief initiative is to empower 1M women in India to have an effective future by curating actionable digital solutions to provide economic relief. 

One of the campaign’s initial successes was the launch of digital skilling efforts in partnership with Microsoft, Coursera, RV College of Engineering and IAMCP to create access to cloud jobs and opportunities.

During this holiday season, Women in Cloud and Indiaspora partnered with Give India to help to raise $1M to distribute as direct cash assistance to 2,500 women who lost the primary bread-winner in their families due to Covid-19. Funds raised will be used to provide direct cash assistance to affected women in India through GiveIndia and their network of on-the-ground nonprofit partners.  

This giving season, can we count on you to support Women in India displaced by Covid-19 with a simple gift?

You can make a difference by joining us in one of three ways:

  • Donate – Can we count on you to contribute $100, $250 or $500 towards achieving our collective goal? It only takes a few minutes to change 2,500 lives.
  • Sign up to become a volunteer to serve in a variety of roles — from business mentors to local community advocates. Get recognized as an Influential Cloud Advisor and transform their careers through the power of collective access and action.
  • Invite and inspire your professional and personal communities to join you in this cause, by sharing with your professional and personal networks.

The enthusiasm and support of our community is inspiring. The #empowHERfamily initiative is galvanizing corporate and community partners in the U.S. to raise funds to support women in India. The Corporate campaign helped raise $40,000, and we’re excited to partner with Indiaspora and GiveIndia to launch a community campaign with a goal to raise $1 million to provide direct cash assistance to women who have lost the primary breadwinner in their families due to COVID-19.   

We want to acknowledge our deepest gratitude to Vasu Jakkal, Christine Puccio, Karen Fassio, Karen Cone, Rajiv Kapoor, Barry Russell, Michelle Pruitt, Ram Dutt, Pradhyna Desh, Maria Defante, Debbie Uttech and Tejas Dixit who helped us establish $30K Match Fund to accelerate economic relief for women.  In addition, we  are deeply grateful to our community partners Indiaspora, Restart Partners, International Association of Microsoft Certified Partners, GiveIndia, Women in Technology Network, and Microsoft Alumni Network who are supporting us to accomplish the bold goal of helping 2,500 women in India who lost the primary bread-earners in their families and were pushed to the brink of poverty due to COVID-19. 

An act of Charity bestows many benefits for the giver – it develops an attitude of service; expands the heart, and fosters the sentiment of compassion for others. Will you take this opportunity to give to women like Ninghoih and Mankhanching who are struggling to make ends meet due to COVID-19, and spread light in their lives this giving season? 

Change a life today. Click here to Donate Now

Project Entrepreneur, a program by UBS focused on increasing the success of female founders, in partnership with Hello Alice, a multichannel platform that helps businesses launch and grow, recently announced a program designed to help level the playing field for female founders of color and close the gap in obtaining equal access to capital. The program is titled “Democratizing the Friends & Family Round,”. It will award $25,000 grants to 30 participants and reinforce UBS’s commitment to addressing wealth inequality.

EQUALIZING the playing field

Black and Latinx female founders receive less than 1 percent of venture capital. The funding gap that entrepreneurs of color experience happens well before they prepare to raise their first venture round. Nearly 40 percent of early-stage entrepreneurs raise initial funding through friends and family rather than through credited investors. Most entrepreneurs of color do not have access to a network that can provide them with the necessary funding. This is because of the racial wealth gap, which is the disparity in median wealth between people of different races. This gap prevents them from testing their innovations, hiring key talent and having the runway to grow and raise future investment.

“Funding disparities that founders of color experience represent a failure of the system, not of the founders,” said Jamie Sears, Head of Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, Americas at UBS. “Our mission at Project Entrepreneur, is to support and help level the playing field for female founders with the tools, resources and supportive ecosystem they need to succeed. This program plays an important role in closing the equity gap for female founders of color and accelerating the growth of their companies.”

“As a Latina-owned company, we know firsthand how difficult it can be to raise venture funds,” said Elizabeth Gore, Co-Founder and President of Hello Alice. “We started Hello Alice to provide access to capital for New Majority owners, and we are excited to work with UBS on this grant program to help female founders of color get a head start with their businesses.”

How Hello Alice and UBS will empower founders

Each founder will receive $25,000 in grant funding. They will also have access to virtual coaching and other skill-building opportunities with UBS and Hello Alice. All applicants, regardless of whether they’re shortlisted to the final 30, will receive free access to thousands of curated resources. They will also have access to a community of 450,000+ business owners through Hello Alice.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must be leading a high-growth company registered in the U.S. The company must have at least one founder who identifies as a woman of color. The deadline to apply is November 10, 2021 and winners will be announced in late January 2022. Full application details can be found at: Small Business Funding Center

About Project Entrepreneur

Project Entrepreneur is a flagship program by UBS. Above all, the program is on a mission to change the status quo female founders by increasing their investment readiness, connecting them to the networks and resources they need to grow and scale their companies and expand the ecosystem of support that advance women entrepreneurs. Since 2015, Project Entrepreneur has trained and supported more than 1,800 female founders. Alumni have gone on to raise more than $60M in capital.

GETTING INVOLVED

In partnership with Hello Alice, Women in Cloud is rolling out a fun giveaway to get all of you involved to support their audacious goal of reaching 1M small business owners through their new Small Business Funding Center. To get Involved here are three steps to win $50 Starbucks Gift Cards:

  1. Visit Hello Alice Small Business Funding Center
  2. Register for Hello Alice Account
  3. Apply For $25,000 Grant if you qualify
  4. Share with your favorite entrepreneurs to increase the chance to win the Starbucks card

About UBS

UBS provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. UBS is the largest truly global wealth manager. It is a leading personal and corporate bank in Switzerland. It has a large-scale and diversified global asset manager and a focused investment bank. The bank focuses on businesses that have a strong competitive position in their targeted markets, are capital efficient and have an attractive long-term structural growth or profitability outlook.

UBS is present in all major financial centers worldwide. It has offices in more than 50 regions and locations, with about 30 percent of its employees working in the Americas, 30 percent in Switzerland, 19 percent in the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 21 percent in Asia Pacific. UBS Group AG employs more than 72,000 people around the world. Its shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

About Hello Alice

Hello Alice is a free, multichannel platform that helps businesses launch and grow. Hello Alice has a community of nearly 500,000 business owners in all 50 states and across the globe. It is building the largest network of owners in the country while tracking data and trends to increase the success rate for entrepreneurs. Our partners include enterprise business services, government agencies and institutions looking to serve small- and medium-business owners to ensure increased revenues and promote scale. Hello Alice is a Latina owned company founded by Carolyn Rodz and Elizabeth Gore. Above all, we believe in business for all by providing access to all owners including women, people of color, veterans and everyone with an entrepreneurial spirit.