On Tuesday, May 3, a great crowd joined us at the Impact Hub in San Francisco for the second installment of #CSRperspectives, a series of interactive audience/panel conversations about the future of corporate responsibility and sustainability.
Our discussion this month focused on “Innovating With Purpose,” and looked closely at the ways companies are leveraging sustainability to fuel innovation – both by developing new products and solutions and by looking for innovative ways to address social and environmental challenges.
Guided by moderator Jeff Sutton (@JeffGSutton), the discussion flowed freely and included insights from Bruce Klafter (@chicagoBK) of Flex, Jill Stoneberg (@JillStoneberg) of Avaya, Elena Avesani (@Elena_Avesani) of Oracle, and Nick Aster (@NickAster) of Triple Pundit.
In case you missed it, here are three key takeaways from the discussion:
1) Capitalize on customer interest
Avaya’s products include a variety of teleconferencing and cloud offerings. The company’s sales and marketing teams have seen how sustainability is becoming a consideration in customers’ purchasing decisions. Customers are increasingly curious about environmental impacts – and this curiosity does not stop at understanding the footprint of Avaya’s technologies. Customers also want to understand how use of Avaya’s technologies can help them reduce environmental impacts in other areas of their business.
That realization on its own isn’t particularly innovative or revolutionary. After all, sustainability has long been a consideration in purchasing or procurement decisions. What is innovative is how Avaya has chosen to act on that information.
Avaya’s sales and marketing teams began by reaching out to the sustainability team – including Jill Stoneberg, Sustainability Manager – to find ways to more meaningfully integrate sustainability into sales and marketing materials.
But they did not stop there. Avaya feels so strongly about the value of sustainability for sales and marketing that they’re actually having conversations about the possibility of setting (get ready for this) revenue targets for the sustainability team.
Tying sustainability to sales isn’t an easy undertaking, and Avaya is only in the early stages of this discussion. But if they can pull it off, this kind of innovative thinking would certainly help to take the guesswork out of measuring ROI for sustainability.