While 2020 has brought with it tremendous challenges both personally and professionally, there have been unexpected and potentially lasting benefits of conducting operations from home. While business continuity and employee welfare have been obvious priorities for corporate leaders, many are now starting to also focus on a seemingly underrated advantage of remote work: sustainability. In recent years, the Environmental Social Governance (ESG) movement has held companies accountable for doing more than simply making a profit, ensuring that their daily operations and decisions contribute positively to the environment (and other important social causes). In fact, almost 25% of investment in the United States now goes into ESG-conscious companies, and we are seeing this trend play out for consumers and employees as they consider the sustainability of the brands they engage with and companies they work for. This demand for action, paired with the shift to remote work, is why it’s time for corporate leaders to create a plan.
We’ve been lucky enough to have some tech companies who were ahead of the curve to observe in regards to sustainability – Apple, Dell, HP – both internally and commercially before 2020. Today, we are seeing a very real connection between sustainability and the future of work – from our non-existent commuting times reducing carbon emissions to the increase of virtual meetings decreasing business travel. And it’s only a matter of time until this topic takes center stage. We’ve decided to take the opportunity before us to re-think LogMeIn’s approach to sustainability and how we could mitigate the company’s operational impact on the environment – both at the office and at home.
As a remote-centric workforce, LogMeIn is doubling down on our commitment to improving sustainability. This week, we announced a set of new sustainability goals and programs to support the environment in this work-from-anywhere era. They include moving towards net-zero by 2030, reducing business travel and mitigating all carbon emissions that we are unable to eliminate, prioritizing sustainable remote data centers, and most importantly working to ensure that our employees are as sustainable as possible, regardless of where they are working. Determining these goals has been incredibly humbling, and in the process, we’ve learned three valuable lessons that I believe corporate leaders should consider when approaching their own sustainability plans:
1. Improving sustainability at your company will be a continuous process. LogMeIn’s journey towards sustainability has evolved over time – initially inspired by grassroots, internal efforts from employees who cared deeply about reducing our carbon footprint at the office. Last year in our Boston office alone, we collected over 32,000lbs of compost from the office, equivalent to planting 172 new trees and creating 13.4 acres of forestland. Our new goalsetting process began in October 2019 in partnership with external consultants at Sustainability Roundtable, Inc (SRI) and a comprehensive diagnostic initiative to review our practices and understand how we benchmarked across their tech portfolio. From there, we created a formal sustainability governance committee, defined LogMeIn’s goals and set a strategy for the journey ahead. Of course, when COVID hit, and we decided to go permanently remote-centric, we looked at these goals and added new ones to account for the emissions consumed by our employees at home. We’ve already seen that sustainability needs to be a fluid process and while change won’t happen overnight, focusing on the things that your business and employees can control to reduce their environmental impact will contribute to the larger effort to move the needle.
2. Activate your goals with the modern remote workforce. Employees today care genuinely about how socially and environmentally conscious their employers are. During a recent internal pulse survey, 91% of LogMeIn employees shared that they believe remote work is an effective way to help the earth, and that they will commit to improving their environmental footprint. An effective sustainability strategy in today’s world will need to focus on how companies can educate, train and empower employees in building sustainable practices — whether at home or in the office. Improving sustainability is a global issue, allowing for all employees (and even their family or roommates) to be a part of the solution will make us a more sustainable and eco-conscious company and world. For example, as a remote-centric company, LogMeIn will be offsetting energy used in homes and commuter emissions now and post-pandemic. Additionally, LogMeIn has launched a campaign in which all employees are invited to complete a personal pledge to reduce their own carbon footprint while at home. For every pledge card completed, LogMeIn will plant five trees through the Arbor Day Foundation’s Time for Trees initiative.
3. The time to act is now. I believe that someday we will look back on this era and take note of the companies who chose to act to reduce their carbon footprint with urgency when presented with the facts. The UN believes that 14 out of its 17 sustainability goals can be solved or advanced with remote work, and I believe ours can too. As leaders, and frankly, as global citizens, we are much more aware of the impact of climate change, and the need to do something about it – whether as individuals or companies. We’re already seeing that employees and investors are looking to work with companies who are making eco-friendly decisions as they operate. LogMeIn is no exception as most of our employees surveyed this week also claimed that our programs and commitments to sustainability are a factor in their decision to stay at LogMeIn.
Sustainability is more than a political issue. It is a growing concern that requires the full force of the world’s corporate leadership behind it. Given the very nature of what we do, empowering businesses and people to work from anywhere with our tools, LogMeIn is ready to roll up our sleeves, and our announcement today is only the first step. While this will be a continuous process for all of us, it will be worth it to do everything in our control to make the earth a safer place today and for the generations to come.