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Corporate sustainability innovation turns competitors into collaborators

Behind the scenes of Convoy’s Business of Sustainability interview series

As more companies begin shifting their operational structures and processes toward what is beneficial for both climate change and bottom line, it becomes evident that there’s no one right path. 

On Monday’s episode of FreightWaves NOW, Danny Gomez, managing director of financial and emerging markets at FreightWaves, interviewed Jennifer Wong, Convoy’s head of sustainability, about the Business of Sustainability ⁠— Convoy’s interview series featuring insights from companies like Ikea, MGM Resorts, Flex and Cigna. 

“When the series started 18 months ago, I started talking with more sustainability leaders and realized there was a pretty wide lack of clarity in terms of what sustainability means in a corporate environment because sustainability is really dependent on material issues for a company,” said Wong. “While one company might care about environmental priorities, another company might focus on social impact. The series highlights best practices from companies that have been focused on sustainability for 25 years, as well as advice from companies that are just getting started.”

Since efforts in sustainability require all hands on deck, companies that would have formerly been considered competitors become collaborators in innovation. Wong reflected on a conversation with Norfolk Southern Chief Sustainability Officer Josh Raglan, who introduced the concept of having an employee advisory board specific to sustainability to influence the direction of progress. 

“Employees are such a big stakeholder in this area of the business,” said Wong. “You don’t have to have a background in sustainability to create this kind of change. At Convoy, we have so many ideas that come from leaders in engineering and product and operations. They’re able to spot opportunities and see mutually beneficial outcomes.”

From conducting over 25 interviews with companies across the globe, Wong has learned that goal setting helps companies mitigate the daunting nature of sustainability initiatives. Also, she emphasized the importance of relying on data and insights to track progress so that companies aren’t only making progress within their own ecosystem but are in alignment with more universal metrics.

Corrie White

Corrie is fascinated how the supply chain is simultaneously ubiquitous and invisible. She covers freight technology, cross-border freight and the effects of consumer behavior on the freight industry. Alongside writing about transportation, her poetry has been published widely in literary magazines. She holds degrees in English and Creative Writing from UNC Chapel Hill and UNC Greensboro.