Zuora is creating a ripple effect of sustainability through modern subscription practices–from the as-a-service business models that Zuora powers, which encourage as-needed use, shared use, and re-use; to their sustainable business practices, which include reaching 100% carbon neutrality for the second year in a row and achieving 100% renewable energy for their global footprint for the first time this year. Zuora’s sustainability approach and practices are rooted in their vision: “The World, Subscribed™.”

Success highlights:

  • Produced carbon footprint in <6 weeks
  • Improved accuracy with 60% more primary data in Scope 2 emissions
  • Maintained Carbon Neutral status & sourced 100% renewable energy for global offices
  • Built a cross-functional, culture-rich ESG team–including an active employee group
  • Co-founded Sustainability Subscribed Accelerator program fueling climate tech innovation
Sustainability Founding Story

Sustainability rooted in people, passion, and smart business

Zuora’s sustainability journey is anchored in passionate people who care about the planet, each other, and smarter, better business. Executives and founders put people first and believe in a subscription-based world of commerce that is inherently more sustainable. Passionate employees founded and now lead a sustainability interest group that has transformed office spaces and communities with practices like composting and recycling, removal of single-use water bottles, and community service. Zuora’s business teams actively manage and report on carbon emissions to customers and investors, who require ESG reporting and information in order to do business. Customers deploy Zuora’s subscription technology and services, helping them build and run more sustainable business models. Consumers are opting into subscription models, seeking more efficient, convenient, and environmentally conscious ways of consuming. Zuora’s sustainability goals, practices, and multi-layered impact are a direct reflection of their company mission and culture.

“Zuora’s purpose is to help people subscribe to modern ways of doing business – ways that are better for people, better for companies and ultimately better for the planet. At Zuora, we call this vision: The World, Subscribed™.” – Tien Tzuo, Founder, CEO in 2023 ESG report

In early 2021 when Luana Wolk, VP of Investor Relations & ESG, received Zuora’s first ESG inquiry from an investor, she recruited Rachael Claudio, Director of Social Impact & ESG, to collaborate and form an ESG practice that is rooted in business, planet, and people. The two published their first ESG Report for FY2022 and formed a cross-functional ESG team–including senior partners from DE&I, Customer Success, Human Resources, Procurement, Investor Relations, Marketing, Legal, Product, and more–complete with different perspectives, purviews, and insights to bring their company-wide commitment to sustainability and ESG to life.

Today, the cross-functional ESG team collaborates to achieve sustainability goals, focusing on strategy, supply chain, policies and procurement, data, communications, operations, and beyond, and works with Greenplaces as their trusted sustainability solution and partner.

“Zuora has grounded our approach to sustainability in people, passion, and business mission from day one. All of our efforts and successes embody our culture, our subscription-based way-of-life, and the greatest impact we can have on the planet. We subscribe to sustainability, and are helping companies foster more sustainable subscription-based models.” – Rachael Claudio, Director of Social Impact & ESG

Sustainability Success

Sustainability driving business, planet, and community success

Zuora’s sustainability vision is directly in line with their company vision: “The World, Subscribed™.” As a platform that empowers subscription-based businesses, Zuora is on a mission to move the world from the wasteful model of ownership to the people and environmentally friendly model of usership. In addition to being able to foster more sustainable business models, Zuora weaves sustainability into many facets of their business and culture–including everyday business exchanges, specific emission reduction activities, and investments in clean energy and future climate tech innovation. Representing a true Green Place: Zuora practices sustainability that is good for business, good for the planet, and good for the community.

> Creating subscription-based ripple effects of sustainability

Zuora’s business philosophy and platform helps to generate ripple effects of sustainability–as usership can foster a circular economy, it can inherently empower a more sustainable model of consumption with consumers using goods and services as-needed. For example, Decathlon sports uses Zuora to power an innovative subscription program that facilitates trade-ins instead of the purchase of new equipment, such as bikes for growing kids. ZePlug used Zuora to make electric vehicle charging stations more available across condos in France–saving 6,900 tons of CO2 and 4.2 million liters of fuel, and counting! Zuora also powers Nokia’s subscription-based cell phone program that incentivizes consumers to hold onto their phones for longer.

> Securing customer trust with easy, breezy reporting

Working with leading investors and SaaS companies who are increasingly incorporating ESG criteria into their investment and purchasing decisions (as they aim to understand and optimize their own carbon footprint and supply chain), Zuora faces growing emissions reporting requests and requirements. Luana and Rachael receive frequent requests from top tier customers for carbon footprint and reporting data–via reporting platforms like EcoVadis, CDP, and RFPs–and failing to respond quickly and accurately could jeopardize key customer relationships and deals. Fortunately, with Greenplaces, reporting to customers, prospects, and ESG ratings agencies is a breeze, as all up-to-date, key information is hosted in one spot and easily shared.

> Improving accuracy and visibility = improving footprint

Luana and Rachael came to Greenplaces looking for more than just a carbon accounting tool– they were seeking a sustainability partner.

“We switched to Greenplaces because we wanted to work with an expert team focused on sustainability. Zuora needed a partner, not just software. Greenplaces goes beyond supporting our carbon accounting and helps us find ways to reduce our carbon footprint.” — Luana Wolk, Vice President, Head of Investor Relations & ESG at Zuora

For FY2023, the ESG team was focused on accuracy. Their initial 2022 footprint used 100% secondary data for Scope 2 emissions (utility and energy-based CO2e), and the team sought to improve accuracy of their data, reporting, and actions to reduce Scope 2 emissions. The cross-functional ESG team rolled up their sleeves, worked with their office property teams, partnered with Greenplaces, and incorporated 60% more primary data in the form of actual energy usage data for Scope 2 emissions than the year prior. With sharper clarity on actual emissions across their largest office locations, their actual footprint reduced, they gained clarity on facilities committed to sustainable operations, and incorporated sustainability criteria (like use of renewables, water reduction strategies, etc.) into their ESG policies for leasing considerations.

In addition to producing an accurate understanding of its carbon footprint and working to directly reduce emissions where and when possible, Zuora is committed to responsible investments to balance their carbon portfolio. Zuora is carbon neutral (for the second year in a row!), and as of 2023, sources 100% renewable energy to power its global offices–subscribing to alternative energy sources with the biggest potential impact.

> Making major investments in climate innovation

Zuora recently launched the Sustainability Subscribed Accelerator program, in partnership with Village Capital, identifying startups using recurring revenue models to tackle climate change–fostering technology and ideas from retrofitting lamp posts into smart electric vehicle charging stations, to providing carbon savings accounts (CSA) to employees via HSA/FSA like structures. Zuora and Village Capital sent nine startups through the accelerator program and awarded a $50,000 grant to each of the two peer-selected companies.

Read more about Zuora’s ESG initiatives in their 2023 ESG Report.

Looking Forward

Continued collaboration, on-going improvements, and smart investments

Luana, Rachael, and the full ESG team of cross-functional leaders and engaged employees have big plans for their future sustainability initiatives. First up, they’re focused on improving Scope 3 emissions–gathering more data from suppliers, enhancing its global purchasing policy, and prioritizing suppliers that have made commitments to reducing their own carbon footprint. They’re aiming for 100% primary data for Scope 2 emissions (building on this year’s 60% success) to further increase the accuracy of their footprint.

As the workforce returns to spend more time in the office, the team is including sustainability criteria when vetting new office space, ensuring property and facilities teams are using renewables and practicing decarbonization themselves. They’ll continue exceeding customer reporting requirements, managing and sharing carbon reporting and ESG policies from one spot–Greenplaces’ all-in-one sustainability platform.

Looking forward, Zuora’s incredible team of ESG leaders will continue to drive sustainability that fuels the company vision: “The World, Subscribed™.”

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