A COVID Success Story: Linagora's transition into a GOODTechforGood CompanyJune 4 2021
Imagine you had the chance to reinvent yourself and your company. What would you do?
One October night of 2020, Alexandre Zapolsky, CEO and Founder of Linagora – a twenty-year-old French tech company, was confronted by this question. Covid 19 had him laying down in a hospital bed with a ventilator, reassessing his life goals. It was then he had an “AHA” moment and decided it was time to turn things around.
This is a story of how Covid led to the rebirth of Tech company, into a GOODTechforGood company.
Now, what do we mean by GOODTechforGood?
Let’s start from the beginning. Linagora is an open-source software company. We invent, develop and support free, open-source and ethical software as an alternative to proprietary software provided by tech giants like GAFAM or BATX . This choice is especially important for public/governmental institutions and companies who value their data privacy and security. (GAFAM is an acronym used to identify USA tech giants = Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft; BATX stands for Chinese tech giants - Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, Xiaomi ).
Right… but what is Open-Source?
Open source refers to a project, often a software or IT development project, with freely available code and permission to make edits, bug fixes, alterations, and enhancements. Open-source software efforts have been behind some of the most popular applications and operating systems available, including the Android OS for smartphones and the Firefox web browser. Did you know Chrome is based on Chromium, which is the open-source project from which Google draws the source code that it uses to make Chrome? Ultimately, Open-source relies on community engagement, trust, and permissive licensing strategies.
Thus, GOODTech refers to the free, ethical and open-source technology. TechforGood refers to the positive impact on people, society and the planet. #GOODTech4Good
Transforming Linagora into a GOODTechforGood company meant transforming our mission statement to “ Invent and develop ethical and open source ‘GOOD’ Tech to make the world a better place by having a maximum positive impact on people, society and the planet.”
To fulfill our mission, we are working towards achieving three major goals:
- Contribute to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations with specific actions.
- Become carbon negative by 2025 and remove all our historical carbon emissions by 2030.
- Engage, empower and support the global TechforGood community.
How are we doing it?
Firstly, appointed a Sustainability Manager responsible for leading and coordinating all the GOODTechforGood efforts.
Secondly, we organized a Working Group which meets every week to discuss the GOODTechforGood strategy and action plans. This group includes Linagora’s CEO, our Sustainability Manager and leaders from the marketing and communications departments.
We formed a GOODTechforGood Board, composed of members of the working group plus two slots open for all Linagora employees on a rolling basis, currently occupied by employees from the commercial and product development departments. We are planning on opening these two slots to members from key partners in the future. Every two months we meet with the Board to present our strategy progress, receive feedback and brainstorm on performance improvements.
What is our methodology?
Contributing to the SDGs:
We use the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals framework to identify the focus areas of our efforts, define actions, objectives and impact metrics, all reflected in our Action Plan. We refer to the B Impact Assessment tool as well, when selecting our actions - which evaluates how the company’s operations and business model impacts employees, community, environment, and customers. Additionally, we are in the process of becoming a member of the UN’s Global Compact network. Our membership will formalize our commitment, helping us become officially part of the business community contributing to the SDGs.
Reducing our carbon footprint:
To become carbon negative by 2025 and remove all historical emissions by 2030 we first did a Carbon Footprint Assessment, thanks to the support of On A Mission non-profit. Now that we know how much we need to compensate, we are developing a plan to lower our carbon footprint with the best carbon offsetting options.
For supporting the TechforGood community:
We joined the “Responsible Innovation” working group led by Cap Digital - a business cluster, started in 2006, as a French public agency they are dedicated to the development of an Innovative Economy in the Île-de-France region and France.
The purpose of this working group is to deliver a white paper on what Cap Digital and twelve member companies are doing in terms of Responsible Innovation in France– this includes the use of technology and its relationship with privacy, ethics, Artificial Intelligence, innovation and Sustainability.
This is just one of the many initiatives we will implement to support the TechforGood community.
Why are we doing it?
Truth is, many organizations are going through a low carbon transformation to support the fight against climate change. There are also many with a B-Corp certification to balance purpose and profit. A few open-source companies are standing up to governmental dependence on private big tech and supporting innovation through Tech for Good movement. However, Linagora is the only company combining all the above-mentioned initiatives and transitioning into a #GOODTech4Good company.
This transformation was sparked last year after Linagora’s CEO went through a life-threatening Covid experience. He was inspired by his recovery to give back and spearheaded a change in the company’s mission to a purpose-driven mission with a strong commitment to people, society and the planet. By going through this transformation, we believe we must inspire and pave the path for other companies looking to take this route. For this reason, we are tracking our progress on each of our commitments on fantastic-enterprise.com - our platform to share our journey towards transitioning into a GOODTechforGood company.
We hope our story can inspire you to start your transformation!