Mysoft feel lucky to be partnered with a software vendor, like Sage, who aligns so closely with us on the importance of ESG.
We were fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct an interview with Rob Sinfield, Global VP and Head of Product Sage X3 at Sage, around the topic of ESG and sustainability.
During the interview, Rob went into depth on some key information around the circular economy, and how Sage’s vision aligns to this. We discussed general sustainability within the manufacturing industry and touched on the growing trends towards carbon accounting which Sage has invested in via Sage Earth. Rob also offered some practical advice and insights for SMB’s, setting out on their sustainability journey.
What key trends do you see in the world of manufacturing with regards to sustainability?
Sustainability is increasingly becoming a non-negotiable for modern manufacturers and distributors, with an increasing recognition of environmental drivers alongside business goals. Whilst profits and productivity remain front of mind, energy efficiency and environmental preservation are also pivotal motivations driving the adoption of sustainability strategies in this industry. Our report “The State of the Circular Economy” reveals concerns stemming from inaction, such as damaged brand perceptions (46%) and diminished long-term profitability (46%), are further emphasising the necessity for investment in these areas.
Moreover, the report underscores the industry’s growing attention to the Circular Economy (CE) and its associated benefits. The report highlights the crucial role of new technologies and innovations (72%) in facilitating the adoption of circular economy and sustainability strategies.
Real benefits are already helping manufacturers implement sustainable business practices today. However, the need to navigate a turbulent external market with its own immediate challenges of rising costs (72%), supply chain disruptions (71%), skills shortages (71%) and changing customer demands (68%), is consuming valuable resources that leaders could otherwise invest in future-proofing their business.
What part does the Circular Economy play in Sage’s product strategy?
The circular economy concept is helping organisations understand the benefits of minimising waste and maximising the reusing, recycling, and repurposing of materials. Sustainable business practices are now a critical concern for customers, employees, shareholders, and supply chain partners who want to take responsibility and action around sustainability. Businesses that can demonstrate that they are more sustainable are able to attract talent, drive brand differentiation and increase profits over time. That is why it is important software businesses like Sage to ensure we are addressing our environmental and social impact, and helping our customers to do the same.
For our customers, the first step to implementing a sustainability strategy is understanding what data you need visibility of to measure your businesses environmental footprint. With greater data insights at their fingertips, organisations can identify the ways that technology can help.
Recent data from our SME Climate Impact Report found that 44% of the UK’s business greenhouse gas emissions come from SMBs. The report also found that while most of these businesses want to be greener, 90% of them face barriers on their path to net-zero, which include difficulty finding the right tools to help them measure and reduce their impact.
This is where the Sage Network becomes critical to creating net-zero societies.
- The Sage Network uses AI Driven Decision making, to support Sage customers make informed decisions about their suppliers and how their procurement choices impact things like carbon emissions, transportation and the viability of a sustainable operating model. This new set of capabilities will help us to deliver Intelligent Procurement to our customers.
- Sage Earth automates the process of calculating emissions — it ingests data from a customer’s accounting software and matches transactions against emission factors, then guiding the customer to submit further data for more accurate estimates. As part of Sage, the platform will also plug into HR and ERP tools to give customers deeper insights into their carbon footprint.
- Sage X3 gives customers full visibility and traceability of their end-to-end supply chain which enables them to make more informed decisions. Traceability is about tracking and tracing your supply chain—identifying all relevant data for the raw materials used to produce and distribute finished products to their destination. With a new Preventive Maintenance module, Sage X3 users can now plan, manage and execute maintenance on critical machinery. This helps reduce unplanned downtime, costly rework activities and waste due to inefficient processes.
Is this only something manufacturers need to think about?
In short, no. Sustainability cuts across multiple industries presenting challenges and opportunities to all businesses. However, the manufacturing industry has it within their gift to shift the needle significantly.
With the acquisition of Sage Earth, our aim is to democratise climate knowledge and decision-making so that SMBs can assess their environmental impact and act in the same way that only big corporations can afford to right now.
How seriously does Sage take providing sustainability solutions to SMBs?
Helping SMBs on their journey to net-zero is a big part of our sustainability ambition – we see our connection with millions of businesses across the world as an opportunity for us to affect change across our ecosystem of customers, suppliers, and partners. There are a number of ways in which we have started to work towards this ambition – from championing SMBs’ sustainability-related needs to governments, to providing them with guidance needed to be more sustainable through our educational Masterclass series.
We also have solutions that can help businesses be more sustainable. For example, Sage Earth allows SMBs to monitor their carbon emissions, and thus, over time, reduce them. In addition, the Sage X3 Preventive Maintenance module allows businesses to regularly service and maintain their production lines reducing the impact on energy efficiency, damaged products requiring rework that further contribute to energy consumption, waste etc.
Do you have any advice for how businesses can migrate to a more sustainable model?
First, start measuring. This is the obvious one – you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Tools like Sage Earth are helpful in providing a starting point for businesses wanting to build more awareness about their carbon emissions. Define the data points that are important in helping your business to better understand opportunities to improve processes.
Second, start small. A lot of businesses become paralysed by the number and scale of potential changes they can make to become greener, and that’s understandable, given the amount of information out there on the topic. But my recommendation would be to start small – it could be as simple as switching to a more sustainable source of energy or switching to a sustainable supplier of office materials – and build on that.
Third, go beyond your business. The path to net-zero starts within your four walls but goes beyond. Make sure your suppliers and partners are using sustainable business practices and if you’re not sure, ask – at the very least, you’ll start a conversation that will benefit everyone.
Can you tell us a bit about Sage’s sustainability strategy internally?
Sage is evolving its Sustainability and Society strategy – putting our technology and expertise at the service of the planet and society. To do this, we are building trusted and inclusive digital solutions and provide SMBs with the tools they need to decarbonise.
- Protect the Planet: Our Protect the Planet pillar is our commitment to fight climate change. We are delivering on it by halving our own emissions by 2030 and becoming net zero by 2040, supporting SMBs to get to net zero and by advocating for regulatory frameworks to support the transition to a low-carbon economy.
- Tech for Good: We are committed to building a trusted and inclusive digital network. Through our Tech for Good pillar, we want to ensure everyone has equal opportunities to access powerful data and technology, while championing data protection, security, and the ethical use of customer data.
- Fuel for Business: Our Fuel for Business pillar is our approach to tackling economic inequality by supporting underrepresented groups. It supports programmes that inspire and empower a generation of entrepreneurs, providing access and inclusion to entrepreneurship and encouraging successful businesses across our communities. All of this work is underpinned by our ESG Fundamentals, including our focus on people and how we govern and manage ESG at Sage.
For further reference please visit Sage’s FY22 Sustainability & Society Report available here.