Iron Mountain provides solutions for data backup and recovery, records management, data centers and shredding, acting as the guardian for more than 680 million cubic feet of customer records with technology that is 99.9 percent accurate.
The company stores and protects important corporate information and audio recordings, and as such is focused on “responsibility business.” As SVP of Finance Rachel Wilson said during her presentation at New Metrics ’18, “Our business is based on trust. … We’re committed to transparency and accountability.” Part of that responsibility is sustainability and corporate social responsibility efforts in accordance with GRI.
A 2016 Iron Mountain greenhouse gas report showed that electricity made up almost half of its GHG emissions, since continuous power is required to maintain its servers and other technology. In diving further, the company found that renewable energy offered a distinct advantage with price stability, and it committed to switching from fossil fuels to 100 percent renewable energy. The goal was to lock in low-cost power while meeting the priorities of the finance department, thus challenging the chief financial and sustainability officers to work together.
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Ultimately, Wilson’s team was able to work with the sustainability team to develop a business-positive solution that leverages renewable energy to help reduce expenses and business risks associated with fossil fuels. Getting to a “yes” can be uncharted territory or seem unlikely, but Wilson asserts that it can be done, so long as the teams understand each other’s goals.
“Understand the objectives internally, and have the data presented in an aligned fashion. There are no shortcuts to doing the homework,” she said.
Iron Mountain operated as a cross-divisional team with a cross-functional nature, forging a close partnership. The sustainability team put together a financial summary, highlighting the ROI. Providing information on approvals to be obtained (who and what dates) is key as well. And if the finance team comes back with a no, Wilson encourages sustainability teams to ask why. The leverage could be what costs are upfront versus phased, or the timing of the investment. Inquiring to discover missing information could inform a yes moving forward.
Take an in-depth examination of Wilson’s presentation on “An Insightful Look at ESG Opportunities from the Point of View of a CFO and Treasury Lead” at New Metrics ’18.