Author:
CP GURNANI
Former MD and CEO, Tech Mahindra

When we speak of sustainability in business, we’re often met with a barrage of questions:

  • Is it profitable?
  • Does it make economic sense?
  • Will business suffer because of changed timelines?

At a time where the road to economic recovery is still uncertain, these concerns are valid. However, the issue here is the notion that sustainability is a choice, when, in fact, it is an imperative. Of course, profits do matter, but the reality is that all the profits in the world would not matter if we have an unlivable planet. If we’re to reach net-zero emissions by 2030, sustainability needs to become a mission for every enterprise with growth rooted in people, planet, and profits.

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals Report shares that the global GDP per capita is slated to increase by over 3% in 2022, thanks to various aids, policies, and vaccine rollouts to combat the pandemic. Clearly, we’re taking steps in the right direction, but there is an urgent need for more action. We need to double our effort – using our capabilities, resources, and knowledge to create next-generation solutions that can help resolve environmental challenges. Without solving them, progress – in terms of both people and planet – cannot happen, and an increasing number of people are beginning to realise this.

At Tech Mahindra, in 2021 alone, our associates volunteered thousands of hours of their time for our many sustainability initiatives. I am also pleased to note that this is a recurring theme across our industry, partners, and customers. There is definitely an alignment between organisational and personal commitment to sustainability.

We, however, need to do more. We need to work together – with our people, our customers, partners, stakeholders – to build sustainable operations that help us all transition from a low-carbon to a no-carbon, sustainable growth economy.

Set ambitious science-based sustainability goals

It is not enough just to pledge for carbon neutrality—our actions need to be louder than words. Most companies today are setting ambitious science-based goals and integrating sustainability principles into their decision-making, realizing their short and long-term value. As a technology conglomerate, it has been critical for us to make a swift transition to a sustainable future of operations, to respond with agility to climate risks that are becoming increasingly evident.

Tech Mahindra has adopted a set of science-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets, making us the fourth company in India to be validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).  Being one of Corporate Knights’ global 100 most sustainable companies driving innovation, we aim to reach 50% GHG emissions reduction by 2035 and net-zero by 2050.

As we move forward on this path toward sustainability, we continue to efficiently improve our science-based targets, leverage technology as a key enabler to attain climate goals, and ensure close collaboration between stakeholders, government, and industries.  

Innovate, innovate, innovate

To meet our sustainability goals, innovation is the real key. We need to find and leverage new-age solutions that are transforming businesses in a greener and more profitable way. Form partnerships and learn from each other’s fields of expertise to make room for newer forms of innovation. From intelligent sensors that can optimize an entire supply chain to smart emissions trackers that enable efficient operations and reduce our carbon footprint, the possibilities to drive sustainability with technology are endless.

As a brand with a purpose, we are keen to discover new and emerging ways to practice sustainability through collaborations across industries today that can reconfigure the way we operate tomorrow.

Keep the planet at the center of every strategy

The pandemic shattered the notions of traditional corporate roles and responsibilities; what truly mattered were decisive actions to pivot and respond to the need of the hour. For instance, we transformed our offices into COVID-19 care units. Our parent company repurposed its manufacturing facilities to produce personal protective equipment that was in short supply. Our HR and location leaders enabled partnerships with NGOs to support nationwide efforts to combat the virus, including facilitating the set-up of oxygen plants.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, our innovation team has played a critical role in our pandemic mobilization, conducting extensive COVID-19 research that has led to several breakthroughs. Our R&D unit, Makers Lab, has leveraged artificial intelligence to conduct research and discover potential therapeutic drugs for the treatment of COVID-19.

As we continue to drive innovative ventures, our commitment towards a balanced, sustainable ecosystem remains our focus. It has been a matter of great pride for us to be awarded with the Terra Carta seal that acknowledges the hard work and persistence of our associates, partners, customers, and stakeholders.

At the heart of it all is a simple idea: to be better and do better. If we truly want to see a better tomorrow for future generations to come, it is high time our enterprises take the planet into consideration. Creating a business that caters to sustainability goals, is not just good business, it is a matter of survival – of humankind, of our planet, and of our own organisations. We are now officially in the business of being sustainable, and it is no longer an option.