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Storytelling Series: Meet Mary (Sustainability Programs Manager)

Posted by Neno Duplan

*Introducing the Storytelling Series: a series of blog posts featuring fictitious characters with all too familiar workplace challenges.

“Oh no, what happened?” Mary murmured to the chrysanthemum plant on her desk, whose leaves had begun to brown and wilt over the weekend.

She stood there frowning at one of the many sources of green in her office, hands on hips, as if waiting for it to answer her. Mary had thought the sunlight from her office window would be enough for the little plant, but apparently she was wrong. After replenishing its water supply, along with about ten other plants in the room, she circled behind her desk, sat down, and opened her email.

Dalia had forgotten to use her personal email address again, because there sat a notification about the latest stop on her worldwide adventure. “Currently making my way across Ireland! Miss you!” Mary really didn’t have the time to be jealous of her baby sister’s latest exploit in the wild outdoors. While Dalia was out enjoying it, she was (in some small way) trying to change it for the better.

Work had been enough to keep her mind off of her semi-sedentary lifestyle lately— with her being at the forefront of her company’s sustainable future and all. Like so many others, the retail giant had recently chosen to put a heavy focus on sustainability, and part of her job was to define exactly what that meant, quantify their goals, and determine how they could reach them. This was truthfully very exciting for her.

Exciting, yet challenging.

She had so many ideas yet no metrics to present in order to get them approved. Sustainability was an area where the higher-ups in her company were interested, but it didn’t present immediate cost benefits so it wasn’t a priority. Sustainability was more like a ‘let’s do the right thing and plan for the future’ pursuit, which everyone supported in theory, but it didn’t speak quite as loudly as some of their other projects… at least not in terms of dollar signs.

Another challenge was the prospect of having to manage things such as their CO2 emissions, water and waste discharges across their hundreds of facilities worldwide. Mary knew that improving upon these things could not only get her company some positive press, but would also provide important long-term benefits— promising a significant return on investment for the upfront cost and effort.

Mary needed a way to prove that making their operations more sustainable was really worth investing in. She imagined a solution that would help the company oversee and manage sustainability across numerous locations— something that could make her own abstract goals and ideas more visual, that would easily produce all the necessary graphs and reports, and that would provide concrete, accurate means for upper management to follow their improvements and achievements along the way.

Can you relate to the issues that Mary is experiencing? Find out how Mary’s solution could help your organization.

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