In celebration of Earth Month, we sat down with Sandy Eapen, Director, Sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and Phil Foti, Director, Product Strategy & Innovation at Coupa Software, to talk about what companies can do to be a part of the solution to this global challenge.
Coupa Supplier Community (CSC): What is your role at Coupa?
Sandy Eapen (SE): As the Director, Sustainability & CSR, I collaborate with colleagues across the company to build and implement our corporate Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) programs and help Coupa drive positive impact in the world. It’s my dream job. I’ve been fortunate to have a diverse career, from being a chemical engineer to a management consultant, and no matter what role, I have always been driven to give back to the world.
Phil Foti (PF): I help companies understand and leverage the power of their ESG spend. Using data in their supply chain management systems, I encourage procurement execs to become active influencers towards achieving positive social goals.
CSC: How do companies get started?
SE: I love that question because it signals that businesses recognize they need to take action. Sure, every tiny step matters, but it’s essential to prioritize and focus efforts on initiatives that make the most significant impact given your business model. Companies need to understand how their operations, products, and supply chains can impact the environment. For example, as a cloud-based software company with over 2600 employees, our biggest area of opportunity is energy and emissions, which can come from our offices, business travel, and operating on the cloud. We are focused right now on understanding how all of that activity impacts our carbon footprint, which is the first step in developing a climate strategy.
PF: I see two paths forward. First, as Sandy suggested, I recommend that companies look at themselves and their operations. They should find partners who can help them understand their current environmental and social impact and build a plan to address it. Second, they should think about how to incorporate sustainability and social responsibility into the spend and supplier processes. Do business with companies that are taking on the challenge themselves. Look for green certifications, sustainability ratings, and diversity status.
CSC: Do employees play a role?
SE: Absolutely. Businesses can empower their employees to make a difference at the workplace and at home. For example, we recently launched Coupa Green, a company-sponsored and employee-run group comprised of passionate people driving environmental initiatives in our offices and inspiring colleagues to have a sustainable lifestyle.
CSC: What about suppliers? Are there things that they can do to help the movement and grow their business?
PF: Sustainability is a board-level priority. Suppliers can tap into that focus by posting their certifications, policies, and status and ensuring that their ESG vision is woven into their company story. At Coupa, we’ve built a digital supplier directory, and we encourage suppliers to include their sustainability initiatives and certifications as a way to stand out.
CSC: What challenges do you face as a supplier trying to support programs that positively impact climate change proactively? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.