Partnership goals: Zones LLC and GoDaddy on DT
Sean Hobday, SVP of Global Business Development for Zones LLC, has had a very exciting 12 months. The company is a strategic partner to GoDaddy - the internet domain registrar and hosting company based in Arizona.
He says, “The client acquisition and development teams report up through me as well as all of our foreign entities, and that includes the offices in fulfillment centres Zones has all around the world, which take care of our customers wherever they go.”
Zones offers a wide variety of solutions. At its core is their Global Supply Chain as a Service, which has been in overdrive since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Hobday says, “Making sure that businesses and enterprises can get the IT hardware, software and solutions that they need and here domestically within the US, but also all around the world, has been our responsibility,”
Hobday believes network optimisation as part of digital transformation in the hybrid public and private cloud sphere, with security at its core, is the key to agility for companies going forward.
He describes the relationship Zones LLC has with GoDaddy, as evolutionary, because it has evolved significantly since the companies formed a partnership. From working on projects in one location for the global internet and hosting company, Zones LLC now handles much of the corporation’s IT logistics.
“GoDaddy approached us because they had a business problem in one of their locations and they needed quick fulfillment of hardware to support a small office. We were able to do that efficiently and effectively.”
Hobday continues, “And GoDaddy is a company that continually acquires smaller companies within their space around the world to enhance their growth. We were a good fit because Zones has got offices and our own fulfillment centers in key locations. We’re in Canada, we cover the EU, the Nordics, Switzerland, the UK, Turkey, the Middle East and Africa, and both Israel and the UAE. We also have a very large footprint in India. That aspect is something customers see a lot of value in.”
Flexibility in the current working climate is also essential, Hobday points out. “We learn from our customers,” he says. They're adapting and trying to solve issues within their business. We make sure that at our core DNA, we have the right flexibility and processes frameworks that allow for adaptability to help clients succeed in their digital transformation”.
The work-from-home mandates have been challenging, but essentially, a success, Hobday says. “Tackling working from home around the world for GoDaddy is an enormous task. The solutions that we offer therefore bring tremendous value today and that's how that's how I see our partnership growing.
He adds, “As that grows, other solutions come together within the data centre, security and networking areas as well.”
Charting the rise of the chief sustainability officer
There has been a dramatic increase in the hiring of the chief sustainability officer (CSO) role among Fortune 500 companies, with demand for CSOs growing 228% in corporate America over the last decade, according to the latest report from CSO recruitment firm the Weinreb Group.
There were more first-time CSOs recruited by Fortune 500 companies in 2020 than the previous three years combined, with numbers of CSOs in corporate America soaring from just 29 in 2011 to 95 today, demonstrating the importance corporations are placing not just on reducing their environmental impacts, but also in supporting issues of social justice.
Businesses are increasingly under pressure to assume more responsible practices with customers, regulators and investors demanding increased transparency of business ESG performance.
And the past year in particular has been seen great upheaval, with increased new attention brought to “social justice, climate change, and an ever-widening political divide”, according to Ellen Weinreb, founder and CEO of the Weinreb Group, which has tracked the rising role of CSOs over the past decade.
CSO role is expanding and shifting
But it’s not just the number of CSOs that have changed, sustainability teams are getting bigger, with the average team size increasing from five professionals in 2011 to 15 today, according to the report.
This is in part due to the fact that the CSO role has expanded beyond simply ‘sustainability’ to incorporate social justice too. Sustainability isn’t exclusively about the environment anymore. The role has also come to incorporate social justice, especially with the rapid growth of, and increased attention on, environmental, social, and governance, or ESG.
And many roles recently have been renamed as such with Head of ESG or ESG Officer becoming increasingly prominent.
Women make up over half of CSO roles
What's also changed over the last decade is the percentage of women holding the title of Chief Sustainability Officer.
A decade ago, in 2011, the majority of CSO roles were held by men (72%), with just 10 of the 29 then CSO roles held by women. A decade on, in 2021, the percentage of women in CSO roles has almost doubled, now accounting for more than half (54%) of CSO positions.
However, according to the report ‘The Chief Sustainability Officer 10 Years Later’, despite the movement toward gender balance within the role and its expanded focus on social justice, in particular, in 2021 the CSO position remains overwhelmingly ‘white’.
Probably not surprising considering there are just three black CEOs at Fortune 500 firms.
How the chief sustainability officer role has grown
The first-ever named chief sustainability officer in a US publicly traded company was Linda Fisher for Dupont, who joined the chemical giant in 2004 as CSO, just at the time when innovative companies were looking at sustainability as a driver for business growth. Joining from the Environmental Protection Agency where she spent 13 years, Fisher was a corporate sustainability trailblazer, spending more than a decade as CSO here, and leading DuPont’s efforts to establish its first set of market-facing sustainability goals.
By 2006, a slew of firms had joined the CSO movement, including Mastercard, Nissan and Microsoft; and Kellogg’s became the first firm to replace a CSO with Dianne Holdorf taking over from Celeste Clarke. And by 2011, a decade ago, Coca-Cola, Verizon, AT&T and P&G had appointed their first CSOs.
In fact, it was in 2011 when Virginie Helias invented her idea of the perfect CSO job – to make sustainable consumption not only possible, but ‘irresistible’ – and pitched it P&G’s then CEO. A decade later, in 2021, and Helias is still in the job she first created.
The majority of CSOs have been internal hires, such as Peter Graf of SAP, who joined the software giant in 1996, and served as EVP for Marketing before being named CSO in 2009. The same is true at UPS, whose first-ever CSO, Scott Wicker, started at the package delivery giant 34 years before being named CSO in 2011. Increasingly, however, external hires are being made with organisations increasingly searching for more high-profile leading voices in the ESG forum.
In February 2021, JP Morgan hired former British high-profile Labour politician Chuka Umunna while just last month hotel chain Accor hired high-profile French politician Brune Poirson, who has previously championed the anti-waste law within the French government and was secretary of state for the environmental transition for three years.