Focusing on a Sustainable Future

By Sandeep Chandna, Chief Sustainability Officer, Tech Mahindra

Sandeep Chandna, Chief Sustainability Officer, Tech Mahindra

Headquartered in Pune, Tech Mahindra caters innovative and customer-centric information technology services & solutions, enabling enterprises, associates and the society to grasp tangible business value.

There is a new interest about sustainability and increased curiosity about what constitutes sustainable development. From Environment protection to maintaining a sustainable governance policy and long term relationships with its stakeholders is also crucial hence in a simple language it can be said that following 17 SDG’s(Sustainable Development Goals) by United Nations can define the scope of Sustainability.

With increasing global warming and decreasing natural resources, responsible business  have to now mean sustainable business and include practices that  ensure growth today without jeopardizing similar growth in the future. Organisations have to design and implement policies and strategies that ensure sustainable development on all dimensions- social, economic and environmental and establish a commitment towards a sustainable business growth. The strategy is to focus on next generation solutions for customers; attract, mentor and retain the right talent through affecting an assured career development path and a feasible work-life balance; and identify & emphasise a green eco-system through its environmental goals- thus ensuring a sustainable business value for all its stakeholders.

Recently India has ratified the Paris agreement with its INDC’s (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions), the Global and National efforts will align to reduce Carbon emissions and other Green House gas emissions. This will happen as per the targets set for CO2 reduction and promotion of renewable energy. It is indeed a challenge and an opportunity for the businesses and will ensure advancements both technologically and economically.

Organizations of the world today have to look at combating carbon emissions and global warming in a phased manner. Companies could set up internal carbon reduction targets with emphasis on carbon emissions, carbon pricing and aim to becoming carbon neutral, all backed up with robust measurement mechanisms. Investing in alternate sources of energy, recycling waste, reducing emissions and implementing waste treatment all lead up to the reduction of carbon footprint. Ensuring conservation of water, maximizing recycling and reuse of waste water, ensuring protecting the diversity of your surroundings, all go towards making your organisation environmentally sustainable.

The initial investments in clean energy sources may marginally affect the company’s bottom-line but the ROI in the long run fully justifies this effect and helps an organisation in their long term vision of being a sustainable organisation. Even in the initial periods, there are obvious and visible non-monetary benefits. The company is appreciated for its various ESG (Economic, Social and Governance) friendly initiatives, their impact on the organisation and its surroundings, the brand image improves and there is a feel-good factor about the organisation internally and externally.

Another factor driving low-carbon ambitions would be the company’s global client base. More and more Investors and customers are discussing and valuing the importance that an organisation gives to their ESG parameters. Similarly an organisation should insist on including their vendors and customers also in their stand on approach to sustainability.

Companies could also look at other options that are being discussed globally. Eg. they could commit to science-based emissions reduction targets which are in line with the level of de-carbonization required to stop global temperatures from rising by more than 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels. Or companies could look at committing to 100 percent renewable electricity through RE100, a collaborative global initiative working to massively increase demand for and delivery of renewable energy.

Sustainability doesn’t necessarily have to mean very expensive or resource intensive projects. There are various projects, initiatives and processes that can be implemented with more involvement and communication between key personnel within the organisation. Encouraging employees to understand and get involved with green initiatives also help the sustainability of various initiatives that could target carbon emissions. The mantra of Reduce, Recycle and Reuse has never been more important for people to understand and inculcate than it is now. Encourage sustainability in their day-to-day lives, whether it is travelling to office by foot or shared or public transport or saving the natural resources like water. Enthusiastic -personnel can become your company’s Green warriors who will bring awareness of conserving the planet and its resources in the best way possible. Employees could also contribute ideas on conservation through internal portals or interactive forums which can be adjudged and implemented across the board if they are impactful. Once this is part of the DNA of the organisation, everyone will spearhead the cause of environment and advocate sustainability across the organisation.

But this path is not without challenges. Sustainability also has to be linked with commercial logic for an organization to come out and add its voice to business demands for decisive action on climate change. Sustainable energy goals for individual business operations and environmentally responsible policies across the organization should be implemented. It is a good intention to buy power from renewable sources but finding reliable power generators at sufficient scale and price viability is no easy task. There is limited influence on the supply chain and customer base and it is here that a large proportion of the company’s overall carbon impacts lie.

Sustainability should be made part of an organization’s DNA and sustainable practices should be an integral part of the way a company does business. Organizations should plan to not only make business processes more efficient and optimize hardware utilization but also enable clients to improve their operational eco-efficiency. The focus on next generation solutions, retaining the right talent and identifying and meeting environmental targets ensure a future that is economically viable, environmentally friendly and socially just.

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