Blue Yonder: A Culture of Sustainability
We know that COVID-19 has been at the forefront of peoples’ minds this year, but consumer concerns about environmental and sustainability issues will continue to shape the future of supply chain management for decades to come. With the adoption of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we have entered a period where the world’s nations have committed to ending global poverty, protecting our planet and promoting quality life for all. Businesses are in a unique position to start making smarter decisions. But the real change starts at a more granular level; within a company’s culture and the individuals behind it.
Sustainability is woven into the fiber that makes Blue Yonder and is even rooted in the company’s brand vision. It’s rather simple to understand how the company’s offerings and capabilities enable enterprises to make better social, ethical, and environmental decisions, but of equal importance is what the brand, and people behind the brand, are doing to contribute.
What Blue Yonder Is Doing as a Brand
Blue Yonder recently received a silver medal from EcoVadis as recognition of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), landing in the top 22% of the 60,000+ organizations reviewed. Companies ranked are evaluated on themes such as environmental impact, labor and human rights, ethics, and sustainable procurement. Several local Blue Yonder office buildings across the world are also LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. Available for virtually all building types, LEED provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. This certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership. While Blue Yonder is excited to be in a top tier of socially responsible corporations and facilities, we are constantly striving to improve year over year. Blue Yonder’s facilities, travel and events departments are just a few of the teams that are directly impacting the company’s sustainability vision.
Prior to COVID-19, sustainability was becoming one of the most important topics in Blue Yonder’s facilities. Most offices eliminated single-use plastic and paper items. Recycle bins were more readily available and certain offices have adopted compost bins. Some employees had moved away from printing paper documents and others have committed to using local transit to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. When Blue Yonder’s offices were open and operational, all photocopiers, drink machines, vending machines, etc. were automatically set to turn off each evening to conserve energy.
While COVID-19 currently has most Blue Yonder employees still working from home, the pandemic has certainly given many businesses a unique opportunity to give the environment a break, whether they intended to or not. As stated by Blue Yonder’s EMEA Office Services and Facilities Manager, James Cross, « we’re not currently producing any gases or waste and travel is on hold, so inherently we’re being more sustainable right now. Our primary concern at this time is planning for employees to return as safely as possible post-pandemic. » Senior Director of Global Real Estate and Facilities, Jenny Bullard, also agreed that COVID-19 has taken priority in the current climate with the global business continuity planning and return to office initiatives, but is certain that facility-based sustainability efforts will continue to be a priority moving forward.
Worldwide in 2019 employee airline flights produced 915 million tons of CO2. Blue Yonder offsets its carbon footprint by donating financially to the Earth Day Network’s Canopy Project. To support this environmental initiative, every Earth Day Blue Yonder donates $1 for every flight made by the company for the respective calendar year. In 2019 alone, this resulted in over 30,000 trees planted. To date, Blue Yonder has helped plant over 134,000 trees through this initiative.
One of the most impressive areas of Blue Yonder’s sustainability efforts has been in the event arena. From choosing to rent kiosks and overlaying graphics on signs to prevent landfill waste, to donating furniture from networking and lounging areas to battered women shelters, sustainability is taken into consideration with every event decision. Any event items that can be reused, are reused. Any leftover food from events that can be donated, is donated.
For one particular Blue Yonder event in early 2020, the decision was made to not serve beef at lunches to reduce the company’s overall carbon footprint. One senior marketing director for Blue Yonder said that they also used mostly digital signs for this event adding that, “the signs that were printed were donated to schools that didn’t have the resources or money to buy poster board or foam board for their projects. We’ve been doing that for 15 years. We’ve been doing it because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of whether anyone knew about it or not.”
What Blue Yonder Employees Are Doing
Behind every good brand are good people. Blue Yonder empowers employees to do good in their personal lives as well. Each employee is given two full paid days per year to spend doing volunteer work of their choice. Many employees choose to spend their volunteer time working on sustainability-related projects, like Blue Yonder Account Executive, Katherine Geery. As a direct result of COVID-19, the number of food-insecure people across the globe has increased. Realizing this, Katherine has chosen to spend her time over the past few months volunteering with Livinghungry.org and Hospitality Helping Hands, providing meals and farm-to-table food boxes to families impacted in her local area. Katherine is passionate about bridging the food gap between food waste and the food-insecure stating that, “I believe every action counts and together we can reduce food insecurity around the world!”
Many other Blue Yonder employees are choosing to spend their time volunteering in ways that also directly support the UN’s SDGs. From disaster relief efforts providing water, essential foods and medicine to victims of natural disasters, to promoting good health and well-being by helping the immunocompromised during the current pandemic, Blue Yonder employees are passionately committed to creating a better and more sustainable future for everyone.
Employees have initiated employee-led interest groups addressing specific SDGs, such as sustainability, food waste and volunteer work. Often, discussions from these group meetings produce ideas that turn into ways to make the company itself more sustainable, as well as ideas around how Blue Yonder products can help solve larger global sustainability challenges. As previously stated, behind every good brand are good people, and Blue Yonder is full of the best!
Beyond just being good people, Blue Yonder employees are especially passionate about topics surrounding social, ethical and environmental responsibility. As the senior marketing director said, “we’ve been doing it because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of whether anyone knew about it or not.” This statement is a great reminder that when personal values align with brand values, visions easily come to life. As both a company and individuals, the Blue Yonder culture is building upon the blueprint to achieve the vision of a better and more sustainable future for all.