Vincent Desclaux
Managing Director - Palo IT
Vincent’s introduction

I have been working in Asia for the past 12 years (Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore since 2014) within the digital and technology space.

I have founded and run several companies in different sectors such as IT Consulting, Education, and the F&B business.

I am passionate about how to use technology as a force for good.

As Palo-IT Singapore Managing Director, you were the instigator of the B-Corp certification. Could you tell us more about this project? Why did you choose B-Corp? What were the processes you put in place?

PALO IT changed its company vision to Harnessing the power of technology for the greater good 5 years ago.

To translate our vision into tangible actions, we needed a framework to measure our impact. We looked at several ways to benchmark our commitments and initiatives, and the B-Corp certification was the most complete and well recognized of all. Plus, we really wanted a way to marry purpose and profit. Lastly, it was quite a challenging certification that, we were sure, would bring us to the next level.

To become a B-Corp, we dedicated an entire project team (8 people part time, covering the 5 pillars) that worked extensively on this for 6 months. It took us 18 months to get the certification. 

What did it change for your company? internally and externally?

Internally,

  • We have deployed new policies, procedures, and processes.
  • We have changed our communication, incorporating more frequency and transparency. 
  • We have used new ways of selecting our suppliers and clients (score card, GO - NO GO sessions).

Externally, 

  • We have worked with some customers, solely because we are a B-Corp.
  • Some candidates are applying to join our company because we are a B-Corp. 
  • We get invited to events and panels to share our sustainability story.
What is the impact of being a B-Corp in terms of HR practises? Did you adopt new HR processes, matrices or KPIs (key performance indicators)?

We had a strong and forward-thinking People function before the B-Corp certification. It did tremendously help us to score high in the “worker” section. Here are a few examples:

  • Happiness bundle: A comprehensive employee benefit package
  • An internal coaching program open to every employee
  • Personalised career path and training plans
  • Dedicated mentorship
  • Leadership SWAT/club: A space to sharpen your leadership practises
  • Work from overseas/Hybrid working model
You have working hours dedicated to external matters (NGOs, self-training…). Could you explain the purpose of this and the value it brings back to Palo IT?

The purpose of working with NGOs and social businesses was to:

  • Fulfil our Tech for Good vision
  • Offer learning paths for our Palowans in their careers
  • Help organisations that are defending causes close to our values (around Education and the role of Tech)
  • Raise awareness among our Palowans as well as within the community on some societal issues
You are a digital company and, as you know, our worldwide digital footprint accounts for 4% of GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions and is predicted to double before 2025. You have recently introduced a Green Pledge and have started to train all your teams with the Climate Fresk. Could you tell us more about this?

In 2021, we launched Our climate ambition strategy. It covers multiple aspects:

  • Measure our Carbon Footprint
  • Design a GHG emission reduction roadmap (60 action items so far)
  • Conduct Climate Fresk and Digital Collage workshops: An effective way to raise awareness and interest among our colleagues, partners, and clients
  • Design for impact: An open-source design toolkit that PALO IT created to measure the impact of every sole product that we design and build
  • Change our procurement to refurbished machines: from 2021 onwards, all the IT machines we purchase are refurbished and second hand
  • Improve our Office waste management: Making sure that we recycle all our office trash
  • Reduce single use plastic in the office: supplier/sourcing, pantry items, stationeries...
  • Add an Onboarding module on our climate ambitions: Every Palowan joining our organisation is going through an introduction session on our company climate strategy
  • Start an Offsetting strategy with a local partner
How did you calculate your carbon footprint? Which methodology and standards did you follow? What were the challenges?

We followed the GHG Protocol methods to calculate our carbon emissions, and used the Scope 2 and 3 of the approach (no real estate assets or vehicules). We could accurately backtrack our data from 2019 year. 

To cover all required data points, we made some assumptions and extrapolations (e.g. numbers: we used surveys, polls and sampling methods). Thus, the total emissions we got are reference points and, by no means, accurate absolute numbers. Once we collected and input the data in a massive Excel spreadsheet, we transferred the data into Toovalu Platform, which is our emissions tracking tool, offering us an analytics and reduction strategy framework.

Here are the main challenges we faced:

  • Finding data required a lot of manual work, meaning a lot of resources. There are no existing online centralised data sources for emission factors to cover our entire value chain (suppliers to clients).
  • Choice of data calculation methods
  • Democratising and educating employees on climate change

Our Key success factors : 

  • We worked with an external consultant, which allowed us to fast track the approach drafting, the data collection and the adoption of our reduction and offset strategy. 
  • We had a dedicated team and identified champions across the organisation. 
  • Our climate ambition initiative is fully part of the company strategy and metrics. It is embedded in our value chain + Business strategy. Straight from our vision. 
  • We created our ecosystem of partners.
  • We ran it as a client’s project.

Our GHG emissions calculation is a benchmark that helped us drafting and deploying a concrete reduction and offset strategy. It is now embedded in our company's overall goals.

We are currently in the process of B corp recertification, where they greatly updated the environmental pillar of the assessment, including the GHG protocol ways of carbon calculation. The fact that we followed that approach helped us to save precious time.

How do you plan to help your clients decrease theirs? And especially if they use your products?

There are several streams that we are currently exploring and embedding into the value chain we offer to our clients:

  • Awareness and training with Climate Fresk and Digital Collage: we are proposing these workshops as awareness tools.
  • Green IT: We built a prototype measuring and translating machines power consumption into carbon emission.
  • “Design for Impact” is a toolbox that our team created to measure the positive and negative impact of any product we would build at the individual, company, and society levels.
  • We are also revamping and supercharging our digital transformation offering (Agile and ways of working, becoming DevOps, Cloud migration, new tech stacks adoption and data driven organisations) to include a 6th pillar covering the sustainability dimension to all our client’s digital transformation.
What are you most proud of?

I am proud of our team of Palowans, brilliant humans who are working towards building a greener and brighter future.

What would be your top 3 pieces of advice to The Matcha Initiative (TMI) users?
  • You have an impact, even at your own scale! Let's start small and scale.
  • We do not have a planet B. We are all accountable for its health.
  • Leverage the community. You will find relays and support among like-minded people.
How could you help The Matcha Initiative (TMI) users?

I could help them on several aspects:

  • Launching their B-Corp journey.
  • Starting the climate ambition pledge.
  • Corporate hacking and governance.
  • Starting a business.
  • Transforming their organisation.
  • Brainstorming/ideating with them on their business challenges.

Vincent kindly accepts to answer your questions.
If you need additional insights, you can send him a message.