Traveling with my family across Canada and Alaska in recent years, I witnessed the devastating impact human beings are making on the planet. We saw ancient rainforests severely impacted by long droughts and fast-melting glaciers at Glacier Bay—both the result of climate change. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to use my knowledge and expertise to support the fight against climate change.
It might sound cliché, but all of us, including the corporations we work for, have a responsibility to make a positive impact on our environment. We need to ensure future generations will be able to enjoy our beautiful planet. The main impact I can make, besides changing my own behavior, is to help my company become more sustainable.
At ServiceNow, we’ve become very serious about how we support the fight against climate change. In 2020, while drafting our environmental goals as part of our global impact strategy, our intention was (and still is) to drive environmental value for ourselves, our customers, our partners, and our global communities.
Starting from a blank canvas
I’m proud of what we’ve achieved in a very short time. In the spring of 2020, we published our first Global Impact ESG Fact Sheet, detailing our environmental, social, and government (ESG) practices. And today, we released our first Global Impact Report and our updated ESG Fact Sheet. We’ve officially embarked on our environmental journey.
Key to a successful journey is the education of our more than 13,000 employees on our environmental approach. As Chief Financial Officer Gina Mastantuono noted in her blog announcing the launch of our report, a milestone in our employee educational journey was celebrating Earth Day for the first time on April 22. That day, we unveiled our environmental goals internally, signaling our commitment to, and raising awareness about, climate change.
Raising awareness is one thing; determining how to fight climate change is another. Industry best practices informed the foundation for our plan of action, and we’ve set ambitious targets to become a global leader in this field.
Becoming a leader in sustainability
What does it take to become a leader in sustainability? From my perspective, three tenets will help us become the environmental leader we aspire to be:
1. Leading by example
As a corporation, we can only do so much to decrease our operational carbon footprint. By educating and engaging with our employees, customers, partners, and other stakeholders on the topic of sustainability, we can drive positive change. This is the “multiplier effect” the world needs to drive true global transformation.
2. Staying true to our values
Acting with integrity and staying true to our values will help us create the biggest impact with the highest value. We earn trust by delivering on our commitments with sustainable impact. At ServiceNow, our culture is rooted in being hungry and humble. The combination of strong cultural values with a highly talented, passionate, and ambitious workforce means we have the potential to achieve amazing results for the planet.
3. Executing transparently and authentically
Being transparent and authentic in the world of sustainability is crucial to success in this industry. With a broad range of reporting standards, and with constant changes in regulation, we need to differentiate ourselves. We must master accuracy, authenticity, and consistency in our reporting, sharing both our achievements and challenges on an ongoing basis.
Driving change through innovation
Within environmental sustainability, it’s important to set long-term, measurable goals, but it’s equally imperative to focus our efforts. That’s why we started by defining our short-term goals, which include achieving 100% renewable energy and being carbon neutral by the end of 2021.
In 2021, we also committed to achieve net-zero carbon, aligned with the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). Aligning with SBTi not only ensures transparency in our journey, but it also holds us accountable to reach our targets. We’ll use 2019 as our baseline year and commit to a much more aggressive schedule than the 2050 timeline set by the Paris Agreement.
To help support the transition from fossil fuels to renewables, we’ll procure high-quality renewable energy credits (iRECs) and virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs). Where we cannot reduce or replace with renewables, we’ll invest in carbon offset programs. In addition to making indirect investments, we’ll forge other carbon reduction projects within our organization.
The biggest differentiator for ServiceNow is our Now Platform and our opportunity to workflow a better world. After all, we won’t be able to solve climate change or circularity issues alone: We need our entire ecosystem to support this effort. The way we’ll truly activate our ecosystem is by using our Now Platform to help our customers drive more sustainable outcomes.
By co-innovating, we can tackle real operational issues on topics such as circularity, energy use, waste, and water—which will ultimately help customers reduce costs and their environmental footprint.
It’s time to execute and deliver impact across our entire value chain. We’ll focus on achieving the goals we’ve set and reporting on our progress by sharing lessons learned and best practices.
Although we have much work ahead, we’re one step closer to becoming an agent for environmental change.
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