by  SoftServe Team

Sustainability Must Be Systemic

clock-icon-white  8 min read

Sustainability has become more than just a buzzword. It’s become something that companies must include to remain competitive. To truly be successful at it, you need to incorporate sustainability throughout every aspect of your business. And while 90% of executives agree that they need to make sustainability part of their overall corporate strategy, most don’t know where to start.

To help support organizations in their sustainability journey and incorporate initiatives into their business, members of the AWS Sustainability Team hosted a Sustainability Day in Texas. This event provided thought leadership, panel discussions, and solution demonstrations — all centered around promoting sustainable initiatives and accomplishing sustainability goals.

SoftServe’s own Dr. Yulia Kuvitanova took part in a panel called “Women Reinventing Sustainability,” moderated by Patti Carroll, Senior Business Development Specialist for Sustainability at AWS. The focus was on how women are taking the lead on corporate sustainability and executing programs that help organizations become more agile and successful. Alongside Dr. Kuvitanova were Meagan Breidert, Global Social Impact Leader at Slalom; Natasha Dowling, Vice President of Energy and Utilities at Capgemini; Anca Novacovici Lunn, Director of North American Sustainability at Cognizant; and Dominique France, Managing Director at Deloitte.

Afterward, we sat down with Dr. Kuvitanova to dive deeper into the exciting discussion the panel topic had kicked off.

The first question many likely have is why highlight women specifically when it comes to sustainability?

Dr. Kuvitanova: It’s simple — women are more impacted than men by climate change. Studies and data repeatedly prove this. According to the UN, of the people climate change has displaced, 80% have been women.

But despite making up the majority of the impacted, women have historically been left out of the discussion about how to best fix these issues.

Thankfully, in recent years, women have taken on roles as agents of change. This is true within SoftServe as well — our environmental sustainability team is 100% women! We believe that empowering women enables a brighter, cleaner, and greener future.

Is there a connection between women entrepreneurs, sustainability efforts, and economic development?

Dr. Kuvitanova: Absolutely! There’s a strong correlation between a country or company’s legal and economic frameworks and female entrepreneurship. When countries and companies give women more access to financial backing, they create significantly more opportunities.

Research has shown us that women often face greater restrictions when accessing financial backing. Even when they do receive it, they usually get less favorable terms. Reducing these constraints would level the playing field and open up more opportunities for women entrepreneurs.

Economic Support

It simply makes sense for those who support economic development, as women-led businesses generate over 60% more value for investors than male-led startups. And women-led teams have a 35% higher return on investment than all-male teams.

Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

It simply makes sense for those who support economic development, as women-led businesses generate over 60% more value for investors than male-led startups. And women-led teams have a 35% higher return on investment than all-male teams.

Clearly, empowering women entrepreneurs provides economic growth, and with women being disproportionally impacted by climate change, supporting women-led sustainability efforts is a win across all fronts.

What do you see as the biggest issue with corporate sustainability efforts?

Dr. Kuvitanova: Many corporate leaders think implementing certain technologies and tools will automatically make them more sustainable. While those things are important and do make an impact, what’s truly going to create change is to have sustainability “built-in” across both your people and your business.

So much of the discussion is often focused on building sustainability on top of corporate efforts already in place. That won’t generate the level of change that incorporating it within all business aspects ultimately will.

Deloitte surveyed corporate leaders and found that most are not “implementing actions that demonstrate they have embedded climate considerations into their cultures and have the senior leader buy-in and influence to effect meaningful transformation.”

Obviously, the tech industry can boost climate action by employing technology to tackle sustainability issues. But we also need to work with people and look at their trends and habits. We don’t want to simply focus on one area or one solution — we must incorporate multiple solutions if we’re to succeed.

Sustainability Must be Systemic

The best way to make the biggest impact is to embed sustainability into every aspect of your business and your life. Sustainability must be systemic. And to do that, you need diverse points of view. It’s essential that people who have often been underrepresented have a say in designing the world we want to achieve.

We’ve seen this work within SoftServe. By having sustainability built into the framework of our company, we can also incorporate multiple viewpoints to make even greater strides.

So, how does DEI intersect with corporate sustainability?
Sustainable Worker

The more diverse viewpoints given a seat at the table, the more ideas and methods for incorporating sustainability and creating change. Innovation thrives when you have different perspectives and people contributing to a solution.

In fact, research has shown that greater diversity leads to business growth and higher profits.

I’ve seen it first-hand here at SoftServe. As a voluntary participant of the UN Global Compact, our commitment to environmental and social goals means we take the same systemic approach toward diversity, equity, and inclusion as we do for sustainability.

We incorporate it into every aspect of the business — from our culture to our projects. As a global, diverse, and multicultural company, we know our DEI policies and practices have contributed to our success.

How can technology further contribute to sustainable initiatives?

Technology could be applied in millions of ways to create sustainable systems. From something as small as using video conferencing to reduce travel, to projects as large as using AI to tackle decarbonization.

Nearly every part of the tech industry could contribute to greener outcomes, so find an area you are passionate about and work from there! how to find opportunities involving technology and sustainability?

The market for sustainability-related jobs is booming. But while there’s been a tenfold increase in the number of jobs with the word “sustainability” in the title, there’s still a lack of people with the right skills.

Some of the biggest growth for sustainability jobs have been in the tech world. If you want to set yourself apart from the rest, being more involved in STEAM-related events and improving your technical knowledge is crucial.

That’s part of why SoftServe supports and promotes IT and development opportunities for women globally. We aim to engage more women within the tech sector and empower them to make an impact.

Be sure to attend events focusing on bringing diverse voices to the tech world. That’s where you’ll find companies that are on the right path to diversity and sustainability.

And outside of technical skills, developing your analytical, project management, and communication skills will help ensure your success. Do you have any final thoughts you want to share?

Dr. Kuvitanova: Just to reiterate that sustainability must be embedded into every aspect of business and even life to be successful. My goal is to make that approach more widespread.

As I mentioned earlier, sustainability has to be systemic. And to do that, you need diverse points of view. We must all take part in designing the sustainable world we want to achieve. By being more inclusive and having more diverse viewpoints, we will ultimately produce a more sustainable and equitable system.

Ready to discover ways to integrate sustainability throughout your business? Let’s talk about how SoftServe’s sustainability and technology expertise can deliver innovative solutions for your toughest problems.