All organisations have the potential to create a positive impact in the world, no matter how big or small. This sentiment is firmly embedded into RingCentral’s culture, from each employee through to our executive team. In recent years especially, we’ve focused on how we can create meaningful and lasting change, and that’s why we’ve deepened our commitment across the three key areas of corporate responsibility: Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG). The areas we’ve focused on include diversity, equity and inclusion, environmental impact, helping underserved communities, and data privacy and security.
The Frost & Sullivan Institute recognised these focused efforts in ESG and awarded RingCentral its Enlightened Growth Leadership Best Practices Award. This award recognises companies for “achieving sustained financial growth over a ten year period” along with their commitment and efforts to make the world a better place. Notably, this is the only award that considers the synergy between growth, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and ESG.
On top of this, we recently increased our rating from A to AA (on a scale of CCC to AAA) in the MSCI ESG Ratings assessment, moving us into the leadership category. MSCI ESG Research measures a company’s resilience to long-term, financially relevant ESG risks and the ability to manage those risks relative to peers.
We’re hugely proud that all of this started as a grassroots effort and now has the focus of our executive team. We sat down with Sonalee Parekh, chief financial officer at RingCentral, to hear her thoughts on RingCentral’s ESG initiatives and why ESG should be at the top of the corporate agenda.
What does all this recognition mean to you and the company?
It’s testament to all the hard work that RingCentral has put in over the last couple of years to make an impact in the world. We feel a strong responsibility to give back to the communities in which we operate, and this shows that the company is not just about running the business for investors or shareholders. We think about all our stakeholders; our employees and their families, customers and future employees. All of these things are at the heart of who RingCentral is.
I think we’re going to take this to even higher levels. These awards and recognitions are out there to ensure that ESG is brought to people’s attention and that this really does matter. Rapid growth and doing good are not mutually exclusive; it’s no longer just about the bottom line.
What makes Corporate Responsibility or ESG work so well at RingCentral?
It comes down to the people. We can do amazing things at the corporate level. But it’s the grassroots and the people getting involved; that’s what makes it fun, and that’s what makes it real.
It’s also because of all the people participating and investing in our employee resource groups and ensuring that ESG is something that we live and breathe every day. [The advice for other organizations here is that] it can’t just be the C-suite [that drives such initiatives]. It has to permeate across all levels of the organization.
There’s a greater focus now on ESG at a corporate level, do you think the pandemic influenced this?
When you think about anything and everything in your life, the pandemic had this unbelievable [way] of accelerating everything. And ESG was put right in the forefront. A lot of suffering came out of the pandemic, but one of the silver linings is that it put ESG firmly on the map and on the C-suite agenda, and, increasingly, on the board’s agenda. That is new.
You’re personally very passionate about Corporate Responsibility and ESG. Can you tell us more?
Not only am I passionate about it, I feel very privileged in the career I’ve had and the companies and roles I’ve been a part of. I feel a responsibility to pay it back in many ways and to ensure the next generation or cohort that comes along has the same opportunity that I had, or even more varied and better opportunities.
Along with chairing various ESG committees in previous roles, I also sponsored a math competition for middle school girls. It was called Math and AI for Girls. One of the reasons I felt so strongly about doing something in AI for girls is that girls count themselves out of roles before they have any experience or know much about it. The issue with this is that AI is the future. If women aren’t part of developing AI, then AI will end up being as biased as the world is today. We need to make sure women coming through have a role at the table, particularly that AI table.
You’re new to RingCentral. Do you have any words for anyone looking to pursue a career here?
RingCentral is an amazing place. Case in point. I love my job. I absolutely adore coming into work. It’s a very special place and it’s extremely innovative. We have a founder who is an absolute visionary. We happen to be lucky enough to be a SAAS company operating at scale and committed to doing good in the world.
In this market and environment, it’s great to be at a company that can invest in the future. It’s a fantastic place to begin a career or start a new career and I encourage everyone to come to RingCentral and join the party!
Sonalee made a crucial point during her interview: everyone has a voice and the ability to contribute. Lasting, positive change happens when people come together, and this has truly been the case for RingCentral. We share more details on all our ESG efforts so far in our latest Impact Report, which includes how we are:
- Establishing foundations for strong corporate governance
- Building diversity and supporting communities
- Taking sustainable steps forward
We are proud of what we’ve accomplished together, and we look forward to deepening our impact further in the years to come.
Originally published Nov 28, 2022, updated Jan 20, 2023