Sage, the market leader in cloud business management solutions, launches its ambitious new sustainability and society strategy, Knocking Down Barriers. Sage’s goal is to tackle societal and economic inequality as well as support a new generation of diverse and sustainable businesses. Sage will play its part in tackling the climate crisis, pledging to be Net Zero by 2040 across its operations and supply chain, with an interim step to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030.
Sage serves millions of small and medium size businesses (SMBs) around the world. In recent research carried out by the company, it found that the majority of SMBs are strongly committed to addressing their environmental and social impact. Over 80% of SMBs think that the recovery should be used as an opportunity to promote sustainability and a third prioritize education and skills as crucial for long-term economic growth.
To achieve this ambition, Sage is building on five years of its successful Sage Foundation with a focus on three strategic pillars:
Tackling economic inequality by supporting underrepresented groups
Starting and growing a business is a proven route to long-term employment and high job satisfaction as well as wealth creation, but many people lack the confidence, skills and financial support to seize this opportunity.
Sage will provide strong digital and financial foundations for businesses and start-ups run by underrepresented groups to help tackle economic inequality. Today Sage commits to:
· A partnership with The BOSS Network for a three-year program to provide support and guidance to help Black women across the U.S. achieve their goals with everything that’s needed to successfully start and grow new businesses.
· Support for small businesses in Atlanta, Sage’s U.S. headquarters, with business advisory and lending services for underserved and minority communities through a partnership with ACE (Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs).
· A three-year global partnership with non-profit lending platform Kiva aimed at improving financial inclusion in communities that find it hard to start or grow their businesses, initially supporting 12,000 entrepreneurs.
· And in the U.K., a three-year, multi-million pound partnership with social enterprise MyKindaFuture and Jobcentre Plus to provide digital content, mentoring and training support for people who are disadvantaged or from underrepresented communities across the U.K. to start their own businesses.
Tackling the climate crisis by powering sustainable business models
As well as supporting SMEs to understand and address their environment impact, today Sage confirms its ambition to get to Net Zero by 2040 across scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions by reducing the impact of its business operations, cutting emissions by 50% by 2030, and effectively managing its supply chain impact.
Sage is also committing to the SBTi (science-based target initiative), the UN climate change Race to Zero and signing up to the UN Global Compact Business Ambition for 1.5°C Pathway. Sage continues to participate in the annual CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) and is rated AA by MSCI and low-risk by Sustainalytics, supporting the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
To achieve its commitments, Sage will implement emission reduction initiatives, such as:
· Reducing air travel and hotel stays across the organization
· Transitioning to renewable energy in all Sage offices by joining the RE100 Initiative
· Transitioning its car fleet to electric vehicles by joining the EV100 Initiative
· Engaging with suppliers to better understand their emission reduction plans to mutually benefit our Net Zero journeys
· Investing in certified projects to offset any emissions that can’t be cut completely
Sage also announces it will build on the success of its small business advice platform, Sage Advice, which serves over six million small businesses globally, with a Sustainability Hub to guide small businesses as they address their own impact.
Tackling digital inequality for innovation, enterprise and progress
According to the World Economic Forum, 70% of new value created in the global economy over the next decade will be based on digitally enabled business models. Sage wants everyone to benefit from the opportunities created by this rapid digitalization.
Sage is dedicating its technology, time and experience to knocking down the barriers to digital equality and diversity in the technology sector. Building on its longstanding work through Sage Foundation, today Sage is committing to:
· Providing 10,000 children in the most deprived areas of North of Tyne, England, with access to STEM skills education
· Further investment in its Futuremakers program to give young people access to Artificial Intelligence education and awareness via an online learning platform
Sage CEO Steve Hare commented, “Sage is standing with the millions of small and medium size businesses (SMEs) we serve around the world by tackling the big challenges of our time. We want to knock down the barriers that hinder access to opportunity, equality and sustainability. We are upping our commitments to our environmental impact with an ambitious net zero carbon target across our entire value chain, and our social impact, using our technology, time and experience to support a new generation of diverse and sustainable businesses.”
Knocking Down Barriers Report – International SME perspectives
Sage undertook a survey of 11,504 SME decision makers working in businesses employing 250 or fewer people in the U.K., U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain, South Africa about their perspectives on sustainability, diversity, community and digital inequality. The full report can be found here.