For more than 40 years, Sage has helped businesses of all sizes navigate complex business environments. While many of its larger customers have the means and the structure to support climate initiatives, many of its smaller customers do not.
Sage wanted to help its SMB customers get ahead of future climate regulations and meet consumer expectations. And building carbon-footprint evaluation and mitigation tools would also dovetail nicely with Sage’s own climate aspirations: cutting its own emissions in half by 2030. Together, Sage and IDEO investigated how the company could leverage the data in its platform to calculate its customers’ emissions, both direct and indirect, and how that information could spur action as they aim to hit net zero.
To get started, the design team went deep with customers running all kinds of businesses—from a taxi company to a champagne bar to a falconry center. Business owners shared that their focus often has to be on the day-to-day, a series of small decisions that when added together, lead to business success. For many, taking on a problem as complex as climate change just felt too big. IDEO and Sage synthesized those insights and began working across verticals and products, bringing together experts from marketing, tech, sustainability, and operations to build out new concepts. With the help of two carbon accountants, the team worked to figure out how existing data could inform customers about both their direct and indirect emissions, which can be harder to track. Given how tight SMBs’ margins are, they focused on how that knowledge could fuel emissions-cutting changes that also save money, giving businesses extra incentive to take action. Together, the team created a roadmap of customer outcomes and experience guidelines to help shape future products. Sage has taken that work forward, launching Sage Earth, a platform that aims to help businesses measure, manage and mitigate emissions—even across supply chains. The product is currently available to 1.5 million SMB businesses in the UK.