Lakshmanan Chidambaram (CTL)
President, Enterprise Americas
Tech Mahindra

Sustainability as a concept has long existed in corporate practices. Over time, this concept evolved into a critical focus area for businesses to act on across industries. With the pandemic especially, most organizations have realized practicing sustainability is just as critical as maintaining profitability – it is the only way to endure and thrive now and in the future.

However, practicing sustainability requires decades of persistence—it requires actions rooted in core values, flexible policies that evolve based on environmental, social and economic factors, and a focus that goes beyond the bottom line.

Having been part of the Mahindra Group, our core purpose has always been to build enduring businesses that rejuvenate the environment while enabling our stakeholders to Rise. We call this the Mahindra Sustainable Framework that is focussed on three essential Ps in business—People, Planet, Profits.  At Tech Mahindra, we have always nurtured practices that have helped us, our partners, and customers harmoniously balance sustainability with business profitability.

Rise Against Climate Change

There’s much that needs to be done for us to address the climate crisis. One thing is clear though—every action that impacts the environment also impacts humanity. Sustainability management must be an integral part of the organization that extends beyond economic, legal, or regulatory motives. We need to consider the social and ecological impact our business can have on this planet.

As digital technologies evolve and emerge in new forms, it only makes sense to leverage new-age solutions that can transform businesses in a cleaner, greener, and more pragmatic and profitable way. Take the example of intelligent sensors, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), that can help plan, monitor, and optimize delivery routes or the overall supply chain by reducing labour costs, fossil fuel and raw material usage for many industries.

In another instance, enterprises can rely on solutions that can track and manage CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions across the value chain – from sourcing materials through manufacturing to final distribution. The data collected here would help in generating better insights, allowing suppliers logistic, operations to consolidate, analyse and manage the carbon footprint of individual products and services more effectively.

Once on this path, organizations can discover new and more effective ways to practice sustainability through partnerships, learnings, and keeping up with various developments. It’s about reconfiguring businesses today to operate viably within planetary boundaries. This is the next frontier that we must scale. It is a humongous transformation that presents big opportunities and has enormous risks. For us here at Tech Mahindra, this translates to an even bigger aspiration—what we call NXT.NOWTM.

We work with our customers worldwide to improve agility in rolling out and support networks of the future more sustainably while increasing the returns on investment (ROI) for such technology-led transformations. We achieve this by integrating several world class technologies and platforms in areas like AI, blockchain, BizDevSecOps, big data analytics, and 5G.

Ensuring Profits with Purpose

The moment you start seeing sustainability as a concept starkly different from profitability is where the problem begins. Sustainability and profitability are two concepts that are closely linked to an enterprise’s long-term survival. Every corporate milestone whether by the larger Mahindra Group or at Tech Mahindra is followed by a humane one. And this includes creating a people-first workplace, engaging with our communities, empowering employees to experiment and innovate, and so on.

This sustainability journey began nearly 12 years ago, nudged by an investor query on the ‘triple bottom line’. Shortly after, we went from understanding what this means to becoming a pioneer in scaling practices that benefit the business and the planet. Our initiatives have since then helped drive energy efficiency, clean energy, water efficiency, zero waste to landfill and afforestation. We have invested in climate-friendly businesses like electric vehicles, shared mobility, green buildings, automobile recycling, micro-irrigation, waste to energy and sustainable cities; and are driving social development programs like girl child education, integrated watershed management, and community health interventions.

We have pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and 50% renewable energy mix by 2025. We are a Signatory to 1.5degree supply chain and ESG Centre of Excellence. In 2020, we ensured carbon emission reduction by 31%. And we aim to reach 50% GHG emissions reduction by 2035 and net-zero by 2050.

A Step Closer to a Sustainable Future

Today, Tech Mahindra is at the top of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Climate charts. Mahindra Finance and Mahindra and Mahindra have featured consistently in DJSI’s Emerging Markets Index. Most recently, The Wall Street Journal ranked Mahindra at #17 in a list of the ‘Most Sustainably Managed Businesses of the World’ after sifting through 5,500 corporations.

We remain rooted in our people, planet and profits.  And we continue to be recognized globally for the same—from being one of Corporate Knight’s global 100 most sustainable companies to receiving HRH ‘The Prince of Wales’ Terra Carta Seal in recognition of the company’s commitment to creating a sustainable future.

And while we continue on this path, we cannot act in isolation. This has to be a collective drive across all types of organizations, big and small, to protect this planet. Our actions and genuine commitment to this planet will guarantee a comfortable human habitation now and in the many futures to come.

We are a presenting sponsor at
WSJ CEO Council Summit 2021

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