Sustainability at CSC: the Capacity to Endure
Learn more about CSC Corporate Responsibility.
by Susan Pullin
Wikipedia defines sustainability as the “capacity to endure.” I like that definition, but as the latest buzzword of corporate social responsibility in today’s business world, sustainability gets overused.
We all want to endure, but what are we really talking about when we use sustainability in our business language? As CSC’s vice president for corporate responsibility, I am asked daily about our sustainability program, and I constantly have to stop and figure out what each person is really asking.
Do they wish to know more about how we provide sustainability services to our clients? Are we trying to help them reduce their carbon footprint, to measure their environmental impact and therefore, create cost savings? Is the question really directed towards how we manage a responsible supply chain to ensure our suppliers are green?
Is the focus on learning about CSC’s own environmental and social impact on the world, such as the carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions of our offices and data centers? Do they mean to ask about the sustainability of our talent pipeline, employee well-being and development — in other words, the lifeblood of a services company — our people?
These approaches highlight four distinct arenas of sustainability, yet they are all inextricably connected. Each of these has multiple data feeds, multiple owners globally, so providing one aggregated story to the marketplace can be quite a challenge.
We are primarily a business-to-business services company, and I have heard people opine that because we don’t produce anything, our environmental impact is not as relevant as a manufacturer’s. They may not understand this is a new and sustainable business world. Clients and investors are holding all suppliers to higher sustainability standards. Questions from interested parties can run the gamut from environmental issues such as our water usage, to our views on human rights.
Recently, a client asked me if I could assure them no child labor has been utilized in the production of the hardware we procure for their account. This question demonstrates the depth of the cascading effect in a supply chain when it comes to corporate responsibility for an IT business-to-business services company.
Manufacturers have been dealing with environmental and other sustainability questions for years. They were not even on our supply chain radar a few years ago. We have to be fluent in this new language of sustainability in order to deliver our services to our clients who are more sustainability-conscious.
CSC is fully committed to client collaborations that address critical issues such as climate change research, green supply chain optimization and cost-effective compliance programs that meet regulatory standards. We are speaking the same language as our customers, so we can help them endure and assist in the sustainability of their business.
Examples of this include our collaboration with SAP on our GHG/Carbon Management solution, one of CSC’s Enterprise Compliance and Sustainability offerings. We also worked with Orange, a French telecommunications company, to transform its process for collecting old phones into an environmentally friendly program that provides inexpensive mobile phones to developing countries.
In addition, we are partnering with DuPont to build a unified framework for enterprise compliance and sustainability using common business processes and are extending the solution to greenhouse gas emissions and carbon management. Finally, we collaborated with BAE Systems to develop and implement a new approach for recycling and reuse. There is a corporate consciousness growing around sustainability.
This is what our customers care about. We are competing in a socially responsible global marketplace and we all must persistently prove our capacity to endure.
SUSAN PULLIN is CSC’s vice president for corporate responsibility.