Nasdaq Talks to...CA Technologies about How to Build an Effective Sustainability Program
Publication Date: March 13, 2017

This article is the second in a series that spotlight Nasdaq-listed companies successfully tackling corporate governance challenges.

As competition for natural resources and skilled labor heats up in an increasingly globalized economy, investors and publicly-traded companies alike are focusing on environmental, social and governance matters. With this focus in mind, CA Technologies (Nasdaq: CA), a global leader in software solutions, enthusiastically subscribes to the "triple bottom line" mentality, concentrating not just on profits, but also on people and the planet. A member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index since 2011, CA is consistently recognized as a leader in sustainability, ranking in the top 100 of Newsweek's Green Rankings, one of the world's most recognized assessments of corporate environmental performance.

Nasdaq recently spoke with Andy Wu and Jillian Lennartz of CA Technologies' Corporate Social Responsibility team to find out why the triple bottom line matters, how companies can develop a CSR program that's right for their organization, and how CA successfully integrates sustainability throughout their business.

Why the Triple Bottom Line Matters

CA recognizes that we operate in a global economy, and organizations are constrained within the larger context of resources available in people, in society at large, and the planet. The impetus for CA adopting a triple bottom line approach was a desire to conduct business in a socially responsible and environmentally conscious manner, because when people flourish and the environment flourishes, we flourish as well.

Toward that end, the company took a systems approach in analyzing what enables success for our business. We looked beyond our core products, services and workforce to examine where and how we interconnect with society and the environment. Sustainability doesn't have to come at the expense of profitability: by serving the communities that we live in and improving the efficiency of how we operate in the environment, CA Technologies believes it can create opportunities to innovate and grow our business.

From an investor standpoint, it's about the communities that we serve and how we operate in the environment in which we live and then how we can give back to the community. For example, we partner with Springboard Enterprises and the Anita Borg Institute to encourage girls and women to pursue careers in technology; with 100Kin10, an organization uniting the nation's top academic institutions, nonprofits, foundations, companies, and government agencies to train and retain excellent STEM teachers; and with Pratham, an organization that helps improve the quality of education in India.

How to Develop the Right Corporate Social Responsibility Program for Your Organization

1. Conduct a materiality assessment. This is critical to understanding the key issues within your organization and your industry. If a full materiality assessment isn't feasible for your company, you can benchmark against competitors and other companies within your industry to see what issues they're focused on from a sustainability standpoint.

Another option is using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Compass as a guide to help narrow down the vast number of sustainability topics. This comprehensive document is presented by the U.N. Global Compact to help companies find the most relevant links between their business strategies and the SDGs.

At CA, our program was designed on the fundamental premise that you can't manage what you don't measure. Our program started when CA first reported to the CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) in 2006. At that stage, we were identifying what exactly our sustainability issues were, understanding our impacts, and building the processes necessary to collect and analyze the data regarding those impacts. We then set targets and goals to resolve the impacts we had identified and baselined.

As our program evolved over the past decade, CA Technologies began designing its software products with sustainability built into them, which helped us reduce our own carbon footprint by over 35% percent (or 33,974 metric tons of CO2) and reach our greenhouse gas reduction target four years ahead of our 2020 goal.

2. Align potential sustainability issues with your company's business needs. There should always be a business case for sustainability efforts, even if a company is starting a sustainability program due to external pressures from activists or business partners. The SDG Compass has an iterative process built into it to help identity those potential issues that align most closely with your business needs.

For example, CA Technologies operates in the technology sector, so it wouldn't make sense for us to focus directly on food or agriculture related sustainability issues because it's not in line with our core business. We focus on the internal and external social and environmental impacts that will help our business—and the industries we operate in—grow.

As our sustainability program has matured, we've really hit a resonance frequency because we've aligned our giving practices, our social work, and our environmental goals with our industry expertise. Everything that we're doing with regards to sustainability reflects back to a business need. For example, we're aligning our energy goals, not because we're an energy intensive company, but because we operate in an energy intensive industry that very much relies on energy continuity: for the internet to run, for software to run, for electronics to run. We have a vested interest in the sustainability of energy and the security of our energy infrastructure going forward. To this end, we're now looking at our renewable energy portfolio to determine options for building that out through direct purchases and renewable energy certificates. We're starting to look internationally as well, exploring where the infrastructure is in place to purchase renewable energy.

3. Embed sustainability into the culture of your organization. CA Technologies' sustainability program has been a success because it's a core value of our corporate culture. We employed a top down and a bottom up approach to sustainability implementation. It's not one way or the other but rather approaching it from both ends of the spectrum that is critical. You can only get so far if you do not weave it into the fabric of the organization and have that top down support.

Our Corporate Governance Committee plays an important role in governing our sustainability program at the board level, and includes a diverse group of folks from a gender standpoint but also from an experience and expertise standpoint. At the mid-level, CA Technologies' Corporate Social Responsibility team works in collaboration with the Corporate Governance Committee and upper management to develop and implement fiscal year sustainability plans, as well as identify goals and targets for the long-term. At the grass roots workforce level, we also have Green Teams, which are employee-led groups that volunteer their time to manage local office-greening activities. As our sustainability program matures, we are exploring how to expand employee engagement within the framework of our Green Teams to include philanthropic and social initiatives as well.

Andy Wu is a Principal at CA Technologies in the Corporate Social Responsibility group where he co-leads the sustainability strategy and initiatives for the company. He heads the CA's annual sustainability report and Dow Jones Sustainability Index submission.

Jillian Lennartz is a Principal at CA Technologies in the Corporate Social Responsibility group, and an honoree of the 2016 GreenBiz 30 Under 30 Sustainability Professionals list. She co-leads CA's sustainability strategy and initiatives, and manages the company's carbon accounting and reporting.

To learn more about how CA Technologies is improving the sustainability of the planet, its business and the communities it serves, visit us on the web 

Read CA Technologies 2016 Sustainability Report – Executive Summary here >>