2022 UNGC Communication on Progress

September 6, 2022
Article

Our actions to integrate the Global Compact and its principles into our business strategy, culture, and daily operations.

As part of our commitment to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), we are sharing our Communication on Progress (CoP) (Jan 1, 2021 – Dec 31, 2021).

As per the current CoP Policy, below you will find key information including the minimum requirements:

  1. A statement by the chief executive expressing continued support for the UN Global Compact and renewing the participant’s ongoing commitment to the initiative.
  2. A description of practical actions the company has taken or plans to take to implement the Ten Principles in each of the four areas (human rights, labour, environment, anti-corruption).
  3. A measurement of outcomes.

1. Statement of continued support by the chief executive officer

August, 2022

To our stakeholders:  

I am pleased to confirm that Sustain.Life, a pending B Corp, reaffirms its support of the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact in the areas of Human Rights, Labor, Environment and Anti-Corruption.  

In this annual Communication on Progress, we describe our actions to continually improve the integration of the Global Compact and its principles into our business strategy, culture, and daily operations.  

Over the past year, we have made significant investments into the functionality of our software to help companies decarbonize their operations and value chain. At the same time, we’ve grown our fully remote workforce, expanded our benefits offering, and begun measuring our own impact.  

We’re committed to sharing the details of our progress through our primary channels of communication and we invite stakeholder feedback.  

Sincerely,
Annalee Bloomfield  
Chief Executive Officer

2. Description of actions and measures of outcome  

Labor practices and human rights  

Our fully remote team is distributed across several U.S. states with external engineering support in the UK and Ireland. At the end of 2021, we employed eight permanent, salaried employees and one hourly contractor. Our lowest calculated hourly wage during the reporting year was USD 48.08, meaning that our entire workforce was paid above living wage rates for families. Our employee retention rate was 100% in 2021.

We had no reported work-related safety incidents and expanded our health and wellness benefits to include the following:  

  • Employer paid or subsidized (80%+) health care coverage
  • Paid holidays and sick days
  • Unlimited vacation time with a 2-week required minimum
  • Paid parental leave
  • Domestic partner benefits
  • 401(k) with an SRI fund option

All full-time employees hold ownership interest in the company.  

At onboarding, we share our policies with new employees, including non-discrimination, anti-harassment, and grievance resolution. We’ve had no reported instances of workplace harassment or discrimination during the reporting year.

As a start-up company, we’ve not formally launched a diversity, equity, and inclusion program. However, our CEO has joined CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion and we plan to formalize a program soon.

Three pie charts breaking down Sustain.Life's employees by gender (50% female, 50% males), race and ethnicity (75% white), and age (88% between ages 20–50)
Infographic highlighting Sustain.Life’s female to make manager ration (4:1)

Based on our hiring practices and operating geographies, we’re not at risk of human rights violations in our direct operations. In 2021, we attempted to assess labor, human rights, fair business, and environmental risks in our supply chain. We reached out to 42 suppliers but received no responses. This is a common challenge for start-ups with limited purchasing power, exacerbated by operating in the digital space where supplier relationships don’t always exist due to automated service subscriptions. We intend to pursue supplier risk assessments again as we become more established.

Environment  

As a remote first company, Sustain.Life doesn’t operate any facilities, company vehicles or other fuel-consuming equipment. Therefore, we didn’t generate any scope 1 or scope 2 emissions during the reporting year. We also had no direct water use and so far, haven’t generated company waste. We evaluated the home office energy consumption of our remote workforce, including contractors, to better understand the indirect impact of our distributed workforce. We considered IT hardware use, cooling, heating, and renewable energy from green power purchase programs and onsite solar installations.

Bar graph highlighting Sustain.Life‘s home office energy consumption (25.34 GJ of total energy and 5.64 GJ of renewable energy)

We estimated water use based on average household consumption and average household size from the U.S. EPA and prorated usage based on 8 working hours per day and 240 working days per year.

Infographic showing Sustain.Life’s total home water withdrawls (297,009 liters)

Using our own SaaS platform, we calculated our scope 3 emissions for all relevant categories, including employee commuting (telecommuting in our case), business travel and purchased goods and services, where the latter comprised over 99% of our impact.

Infographic showing Sustain.Life’s scope 3 emissions distribution (99.31% from purchased goods and services) and total emissions (76.04 MT CO2e)

We compensated for all our measured emissions by purchasing offsets to support the IdleAir Oregon truck stop electrification program, which provides advanced idle reduction services to the long-haul trucking industry and, in addition to reducing emissions, eliminates diesel exhaust pollutants.

We recognize that emissions abatement is critical, but due to lack of influence over our suppliers at this stage in our journey, we at least wanted to compensate for our impact through financial support of near-term emissions abatement elsewhere.

Anti-Corruption  

Sustain.Life organized as a Benefit Corporation in 2021, obliging us to create public benefit, to consider social, environmental, and financial factors at the board of directors’ level, and transparently report on our progress to create public benefit. Even as a start-up, fair business and ethical practices are at the core of our company.

We tried to assess corruption risk through a supplier evaluation process launched in 2021. However, a lack of response from our suppliers thwarted this effort. We can reasonably assume that corruption risk is extremely low in a company of our size and operating in the digital space but believe in the necessity of formal assessments to fully understand and address potential risk factors. We’re committed to re-launching our supplier evaluation process as our company grows and gains influence.  

In the meantime, we’ve developed a supplier code of conduct and a set of policies outlining our expectations of value chain partners going forward. We also stipulate compliance obligations in supplier contracts.

We engaged with reputable investors and service providers and experienced no instances of corruption during the reporting year.

3. Measures of outcome

While tracking our own impact is important to us, we also plan to assess the influence of our software on the decarbonization progress of our client companies. We expect to share our first set of progress measures in our 2022 impact report.

2021 was Sustain.Life’s first full year in operation and our base year for data collection. We expect our footprint to increase as we scale, both in terms of digital environmental impact and in terms of achieved impact reduction by users of our software. We plan to report year-over-year intensity metrics and introduce formal targets by 2023.  

In 2021, Sustain.Life became a pending B Corp and a GRI certified software partner.

If you have any questions about this report, please contact us.

Data summary

Labor and human rights
Percentage of permanent employees 89%
Percentage of independent contractors 11%
Percentage male employees 50%
Percentage female employees 50%
Percentage gender nonconforming, genderfluid, transgender, genderqueer, intersex 0%
Percentage ethnic or racial minority 25%
Percentage white 75%
Percentage 20–50 years of age 88%
Percentage < 20 years of age 0%
Percentage > 50 years of age 12%
Percentage female managers 80%
Employee retention rate 100%
Parental leave return-to-work rate 100%
Minimum calculated hourly wage USD 48.08
Percentage participation in healthcare coverage 80%
Occupational safety incident rate 0
Instances of harassment or discrimination 0
Environment
Total home office energy consumption (gigajoules) 30.98
Home office energy from fossil fuels (gigajoules) 25.34
Home office energy use from RECs and onsite solar (gigajoules) 5.64
Home office estimated water consumption (liters) 297,009
Scope 1 emissions (MT) 0
Scope 2 emissions (MT) 0
Scope 3 emissions (MT) 76
↳ Business travel emissions (MT) 0.07 (0.09%)
↳ Employee commuting emissions (telecommuting) (MT) 0.44 (0.6%)
↳ Purchased goods and services emissions (MT) 75.53 (99.31%)
Offsets (MT) 77
Anti-corruption
Instances of corruption 0
Supply chain
Supplier risk assessments requested 42
Supplier risk assessments completed 0

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The takeaway

Our CoP report includes:

  1. A statement by the chief executive expressing continued support for the UN Global Compact and renewing the participant’s ongoing commitment to the initiative.
  2. A description of practical actions the company has taken or plans to take to implement the Ten Principles in each of the four areas (human rights, labour, environment, anti-corruption).
  3. A measurement of outcomes.