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Cindy Jaudon of IFS: Five Strategies Our Company Is Using To Tackle Climate Change & Become More Sustainable

Keeping kids in the know on sustainability topics is also a great way for adults to inspire the next generation in change. News around the topics of sustainability and the environment often get a bad reputation, but it’s not all scary. It’s important to know we need to help the environment, but it is equally important to show this generation the news that show how their actions are already helping make a positive change.

As part of my series about how companies are becoming more sustainable, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cindy Jaudon, Regional President for the Americas, and a member of IFS.

As regional president for the Americas, and a member of the IFS Senior Leadership Team, Cindy Jaudon is responsible for growing the IFS footprint in the world’s largest and most demanding markets. Cindy has more than 25 years of consulting, sales, and management experience in the enterprise software market. She also held positions at several mid-size and Fortune 500 companies, including Mitutoyo, C.N.A. Insurance, and Deutz-Allis. Cindy completed her MBA from Benedictine University in 2003.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

As President of the Americas, I lead one of the fastest growing markets for IFS, a leading enterprise software solution provider. At IFS we develop and deliver ERP, EAM, FSM, and ESM to businesses worldwide.

When I reflect on my career, it’s certainly been an interesting journey. I’ve worked across several traditionally male-dominated markets like technology, aerospace and defense, and manufacturing. Within that time, I also had a variety of roles that brought me so much closer to customers. For example, my career path went from supporting to selling software, to even working at the customer site as a consultant; it provided a 360-degree view of the customer’s experience when implementing new technology. This is insight that I use regularly, especially given the nature of my current role as a regional president responsible for all of the key IFS industries!

What is the mission of your company? What problems are you aiming to solve?

Our mission at IFS is to make sustainability a permanent part of our core business strategy and to inspire and support our customers in their sustainability plans too. As consumers have started to demand more sustainable practices from companies, greenwashing, or marketing a product to seem more sustainable than it really is, has been a real issue. Having just one-off sustainability practices is simply not enough; we have taken huge strides in recent years to address both our own ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) practices and that of our customers. In terms of our own business, we recently launched the IFS sustainability microsite, which showcases our sustainability initiatives while using as little energy as possible. In addition to being on track to be carbon neutral by 2025, we have identified several key areas that are part of the ten principles of the UN Global Compact that we are integrating in our core strategy.

But it doesn’t stop there, we decided to look bigger than just implementing more sustainable practices in our own business, we have also launched several initiatives to support and encourage our customers in their sustainability ventures. To celebrate the customers that are already making significant strides within sustainability, we launched the Change for Good Sustainability Awards to showcase the incredible work our customers are doing not only in their own businesses, but how their practices encourage their customers to implement sustainable practices as well. The awards will take place annually to continue celebrating our customers across all industries. To assist our customers in keeping track of the tangible change their initiatives are making, we launched the IFS Sustainability Module that now comes as a standard for all IFS Cloud customers. The module will help users monitor, manage, and report on their own sustainability goals and commitments. We will also be donating a share of the license revenue to sustainability causes.

As a global company with more than 10,000 customers worldwide, IFS believes that we can make a significant impact on business sustainability and inspire other organizations to follow suit.

Can you tell our readers about the initiatives that you or your company are taking to address climate change or sustainability? Can you give an example for each?

In addition to adopting ESG practices, we’ve put in place a three-year sustainability plan which not only looks at how we can help customers achieve their sustainability goals, but how we as a company can cut down our own carbon emissions, with the objective of influencing the industry to operate sustainably.

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In this plan we have built-in commitments including being a carbon neutral company by 2025, launching IFS Cloud, which includes a sustainability module to assist in business practices moving towards a circular economy, and appointing the UN Patron of the Ocean, Lewis Pugh, as our sustainability ambassador who will be influencing and celebrating sustainability best practices. But there’s more that we’re doing to encourage our employees. IFS is dedicated to volunteering and all employees are given the time and opportunity to invest one workday per year to volunteer for a program of their choice. By the year 2023, we aim to have three years’ worth of sustainability work invested by our employees.

Leading by example is key to our mission and we have a program to help spotlight the progress our customers have made in their own initiatives. Early in 2021, we announced our inaugural Change For Good Sustainability Awards. The awards are part of a new annual event that celebrates and showcases the great work of our 10,000+ customers in five ESG categories. These are customers that not only promote sustainability, social responsibility, and green initiatives in-house, but also inspire their own customers to embrace these values.

This year, the awards were judged by an expert panel including Michelle Lancaster, Director, Sustainability at Microsoft, Jacqueline de Rojas, President at TechUK, and IFS Sustainability Ambassador, and UN Patron of the Oceans, Lewis Pugh. I’m delighted that we could recognize our clients pioneering sustainable work in transport, fashion, food technology, and home energy.

Because IFS had a strong presence at this year’s COP26 summit, we invited representatives from all of our award winners to the event and to meet some of the judges. They have been invited to become founding

members of the IFS Sustainability Council — a new advisory group, that will meet with key IFS

decision makers to support our sustainability product strategy and development.

How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or example?

I see three distinct areas where an increased sustainability focus can drive profitability.

Firstly, when we’ve looked at the profitability of going-green, there’s certainly a link between consumer retention and sustainable practices. With consumers now preferring sustainable practices from a business, it’s never been more important for a company to demonstrate sustainability in order to stay competitive. In fact, since the pandemic, 96 percent of businesses say there has been a shift towards a consciousness of sustainable practices.

Secondly, in response to this recent shift in consumer behavior, stakeholders are now moving their investments to businesses that are already operating sustainably. From a business angle, you’re more likely to receive an investment from a stakeholder if you can demonstrate that your organization operates sustainably.

The third example of how a business that embraces sustainability can see an increased profit, is through technology. One of the key areas for improvement in a circular model is reverse logistics. For most service firms, it involves removing an asset or part from a customer, repairing or replacing it, and then getting that part back. To manage the repair-remittance cycle, businesses can use IoT-enabled sensors to automate everything from re-ordering to organizing returns and replacements. This collection of data enables focused asset management, which helps businesses avoid costly and unexpected breakdowns and the associated cost of spare parts and service engineers.

ERP software itself has a key role to play. It can help businesses manage the return of scrapped parts by taking into account the new return considerations. These can range from managing the various methods of recognizing returning inventory, including return material authorizations, to keeping track of material returning from field service reverse logistics channels as technicians service equipment and replace parts or components. Greater control over this process allows businesses to drive efficiencies and identify opportunities to implement more sustainable practices.

When a company uses this kind of technology, they obtain the power to unite operations from a single platform, making sure their sustainability plan is viable and effective in terms of not only time, but also money. The chain reaction of this is simple — technology makes your sustainability plans do-able, resulting in customer-retention, and therefore an increase in profits. It really is a win-win on all sides!

The youth led climate strikes of September 2019 showed an impressive degree of activism and initiative by young people on behalf of climate change. This was great, and there is still plenty that needs to be done. In your opinion what are 5 things parents should do to inspire the next generation to become engaged in sustainability and the environmental movement? Please give a story or an example for each.

The youth lead climate strike has certainly been impressive, and I hope that these youth-led campaigns continue for years to come. It’s this generation that will soon start to make their way into boardrooms across the world, it’s important their passion for sustainability continues to grow.

To inspire the next generation in staying engaged in sustainability initiatives there are a variety of things parents and guardians can do, but here are five to start.

  1. Leading by example is an easy one. When children grow up to see the adults in their life caring about sustainability, this is something that will quickly become the norm for them. Leading by example can be as simple as recycling at home or planting a garden in the backyard.
  2. Keeping kids in the know on sustainability topics is also a great way for adults to inspire the next generation in change. News around the topics of sustainability and the environment often get a bad reputation, but it’s not all scary. It’s important to know we need to help the environment, but it is equally important to show this generation the news that show how their actions are already helping make a positive change.
  3. Inspire change in children by volunteering at community clean ups together. Doing your part, even if it’s small, is all part of the bigger picture. Who knows, as they grow up and possibly move away maybe they will volunteer at similar events in their new community.
  4. Creating an environment where kids feel empowered to make a change is vital. Many kids are not exposed to jobs that have an influence on the environment, as a parent it is important to make the next generation aware that they can utilize their passions and interests in a career that can keep the sustainability movement going.
  5. Listen to their ideas. Quite simply, to keep the momentum going in the next generation’s passion about sustainability, parents and guardians need to find what aspects of sustainability their kids are interested in to keep them engaged in years to come. If your child has recently learned about the importance of reduce, reuse, recycle then take that lesson past sorting paper into a blue bin. Brainstorm with your child how you can reuse items that are typically thrown away, whether it be finding a new purpose for that item or creating some crafts.

These simple actions can amount towards kid’s developing a passion towards positive change to tackle sustainability challenges.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

Never stop learning. I have been in the technology field for over 30 years, but I still haven’t learned everything there is to know. The great thing about technology is that it is constantly evolving and we, along with our customers, are always learning new and creative ways to utilize it to solve today’s business issues.

Build your network and utilize it. I wouldn’t be where I am today, professionally or personally, if it wasn’t for the people I have gotten to know over the years. It is vital to foster strong relationships with peers, customers, and partners; they will each impact your career, whether it is directly or indirectly.

Know your value, but don’t forget your roots. We all start somewhere. Good leaders and mentors should always be ready to roll up their sleeves and get in the weeds with their teams. The example you set in those moments will continue to foster growth in your team’s skills and give them comfort knowing that they’re not alone in figuring out complex issues. As women in STEM, we must remember that our actions are inspiring future generations of women.

Get out of your comfort zone. I Sometimes you will find yourself in uncharted territory, this is where you will grow. It is so easy to stay in your comfort zone, but if it isn’t challenging you, it isn’t changing you. When you limit your exposure to new issues, you also limit your exposure to new ideas and new solutions, which ultimately limits your personal growth.

Surround yourself with people who think differently than you do. You may have a good answer to an issue, but a good answer isn’t always the best one. It is important to collaborate with your peers, especially those that have different backgrounds and perspectives. When you have diverse minds working to solve one issue, you will be able to find that the best solution might be one you didn’t even think of.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Dan Long, President of Effective Management Systems, was one of my very first mentors. I was hired by Dan very early in my career, but despite me just starting out, Dan instilled in me that every employee, no matter how small they may think their role is, should think and act as if they owned the company. It was this mindset that Dan empowered that drove accountability and responsibility throughout the entire organization. Dan made me act and think like a leader before a job title made me one, I wouldn’t be the leader I am today if it wasn’t for him.

You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring the greatest amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

If I could inspire a movement, it would be to combine two things I am extremely passionate about; helping under-developed communities and countries become more self-sufficient and encouraging more women to enter a career in a STEM field. The combination of the two would mean bringing higher education STEM opportunities to women in these under-developed communities and countries, enabling them with greater life opportunities.

Here at IFS, I already see movement around my passions making an impact. We’ve set up the IFS Foundation, a charitable trust that helps tackle the poverty cycle in Sri Lanka. By investing in several projects in partnership with local communities in remote areas, we’re helping them gain better access to water, renovating hospitals, and updating their school buildings. The modernization of these schools will be the foundation for creating the opportunity for more STEM related topics to be taught and in turn expose more young women to the field. For IFS, we think it’s important to give back to the countries we operate in, and by enabling the underdeveloped communities of Sri Lanka to become more autonomous, we can then move to other communities and have a wider outreach.

IFS has also implemented a CSR day, where employees can take paid leave and volunteer for a charity of their choice — expanding our philanthropy across local communities worldwide, in addition to our larger efforts in Sri Lanka. This initiative has a global magnitude of approximately 32,000 hours of community service across our organization.

Seeing the wonderful things we have been able to accomplish in Sri Lanka, makes me want to take that momentum and bring it to other parts of the world as well.

Do you have a favorite life lesson quote? Can you tell us how that was relevant to you in your own life?

The largest driver for me has been, and still is, to “never settle for the status quo”. While perfection isn’t realistic, there’s always an opportunity for continuous improvement across your business, in your products, and within yourself.

Within our business at IFS, our customers entrust us with their businesses to drive greater business value through operational efficiencies, new revenue opportunities, and delivering amazing Moments of Service™ for their customers — and we must live up to that promise every single day. This means adapting to our customers market drivers and demands while also shifting with the societal and economic climate changes.

Personally, this mentality is what pushed me in my career to continue to challenge the stigma of women in STEM and generally in the workforce. It’s driven me to achieve “having it all” — a successful career in one of the fastest growing companies in the software sector to date, all while raising a family.

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?

I’m on LinkedIn and Twitter, but I also recommend following my company’s social channels to stay tuned on the latest and greatest IFS sustainability news and initiatives. We’re on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

This was so inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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