As sustainability becomes a priority, how can your company decide what to optimize? PALO IT offers a way.
“A bank today is simply a tech company with a banking license,” the Managing Director of PALO IT in Hong Kong, Jing Lei, sums up the pervasiveness of technology across industries. You simply cannot escape the tech influence, which can be good and bad. Good, in that it has made work efficient, and bad, it hasn’t had the most optimal consequences for the planet.
PALO IT is leading the way in sustainable consulting by developing the Impact Tracker to address that. The company’s philosophy promotes embracing technology as a force for good, perfectly illustrating the platform.
Originally founded in France, PALO IT has expanded to 16 offices across nine countries, employing 700 experts. Lei says, “When we work with the customers, we want them to understand how we innovate, how we solve problems and how we engineer the product with the best craftsmanship and also the practice so that when we leave the company, our client can also work the way we do.”
For PALO IT, the birth of the Impact Tracker signifies their commitment to measurable, actionable sustainability rather than mere rhetoric. The Impact Tracker is a website that offers a user-friendly interface. It allows users to access dashboards and assess their organization’s sustainability performance. The platform also integrates with existing business intelligence solutions, empowering users to analyze data and make informed decisions. Customizability ensures the platform aligns with each organization’s internal processes and requirements. Lei highlights the importance of talking about sustainability and walking the talk, setting an example for others.
In this interview, the PALO IT team shares insights into how the Impact Tracker is revolutionizing sustainability practices, leveraging data-driven approaches and ensuring transparency and accountability.
Letting data be the driving force
The key to the Impact Tracker’s success lies in its data-driven platform. PALO IT recognized that data is crucial for organizational traceability, measurements and alignment. By building a platform that integrates structured quantitative data and qualitative information, PALO IT ensures the sustainability status is based on accurate data. Unlike other platforms that rely solely on external data, PALO IT emphasizes a human-centric approach, considering the knowledge and awareness of individuals within organizations.
Lei says, “That’s why, in the platform, we have a data source built around awareness—awareness in terms of measuring each member of the company, how much they know about sustainability, whether everyone understands the UN SDGs (Sustainability Development Goals).” She believes that if people do not understand the impact of sustainability on that company, it will be very difficult to deliver a real transformation.
Standardizing data for wider implementation
PALO IT tackles various data related to impact and sustainability, with a specific focus on carbon emissions. The Impact Tracker measures carbon emissions on an individual employee level and an application level within organizations. However, measuring impact is not so straightforward. The Vice President of Technology at PALO IT, Benoit Foucque, expounded, “One of the main difficulties that we could have in this type of project is that, from a data point of view, there is no unification or standardization in the size [and comprehensibility] of data. So what we need and what we are building is the capability inside the platform to connect to multiple data sources.”
For instance, he illustrated that focusing on the financial dimension can involve calculating the impact of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and extracting the financial purchase ledger or investment elements. Then, the tracker would blend this data and break it down in a standardized way.
On the other hand, Foucque acknowledges that it is not always possible for companies to become carbon-neutral. That’s when compromises come in place, as companies try to reduce their environmental impact outside their main business or in other areas of the supply chain. These areas can be identified using the tracker.
Ensuring data integrity at a time of manipulation
Addressing concerns about data manipulation, PALO IT emphasizes traceability and transparency. By presenting key performance indicators (KPIs) and operation details, the Impact Tracker provides clear information on a company’s sustainable journey.
The platform enables companies to explain the operations conducted on the data, ensuring credibility and accountability. With a single source of truth, i.e. automated data from the company, manipulation risks are reduced, promoting accurate reporting. And in the end, Foucque adds that it is about remaining realistic. The more idealistic companies try to be with their sustainability goals, the more they risk tempting fate with incorrect means.
PALO IT has already implemented the Impact Tracker in several client projects, including pioneer clients in Hong Kong. These companies, predominantly European, demonstrate a growing awareness of sustainability and a commitment to integrating it into their operations. The Impact Tracker helps these companies facilitate carbon footprint assessments, sustainability assessments and radar measurements to track progress over time. Through these projects, clients gain insights into their sustainability performance and receive recommendations for improvement.
However, the Tracker’s results are not instant. The Impact Tracker needs anywhere between six months and a year to get an accurate picture of where your company stands on the sustainability spectrum. Lei notes that the tracker does pose a learning curve for the company CEOs as they must understand the dimensions it studies. That is how they make relevant decisions.
Trials, tribulations and triumphs
Like most startups in the sustainability space, PALO IT is also learning from trial and error. Foucque said, “We learn every day, and we experiment with new frameworks. We have a clear and ambitious roadmap in the next few months to deploy a new capability to be completely transparent.”
Using the Impact Tracker internally has allowed PALO IT to gain valuable insights into its own carbon footprint and sustainability practices. It has also enabled them to refine the tool and develop it further. The platform’s iterative approach ensures that sustainability initiatives evolve gradually, accommodating each organization’s unique needs. By focusing on continuous improvement, PALO IT aims to drive meaningful change in the long term.
Lei asserts that Covid and its consequences on companies’ functioning inspired the team to take on new challenges. “PALO IT is a very positive company,” she concludes. “It’s a way to reinvent ourselves to be more sustainable and resilient, which will be a key point of differentiation in the future.”
- The Path Forward for Hong Kong’s Smart and Sustainable Development
- What Are Sustainable Development Goals and How Are Startups Meeting Them?
- Embracing Sustainability: Going Green in Every Stage of Production
Header Image Courtesy of PALO IT