Acting on Climate Change: The New Business Strategy | Tech Mahindra

Acting on Climate Change: The New Business Strategy

Even before the pandemic hit, we were on a path to explore the exponential potential of technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), AR/VR and so on that can establish a smarter, more sustainable way of living. When put into action, a small step towards implementing the right technology can lead to massive positive change.

Take the case of a small rural village in India. In the process of turning this village into a smart city, we embedded sensors in community waste bins that could alert the central dashboard or system when it’s full, making the whole trash collection automated and predictable. This helped create fuel-efficient routes, and we discovered the opportunity to collect food waste during the supply chain process, convert it into energy that could power at least 18,000 homes. If we can do this with one city in India look at the opportunities that lie ahead of us if we were to replicate this across India and across the globe.

For Mahindra Group, this is one of many small actions we are taking to ensure sustainability in everything. This endeavor goes beyond what we know as corporate strategy; it is a movement that can redefine not just how a business operates but also the environment we exist in. And while as a conglomerate, we will always think of the bottom line, it will be harder to scale and grow if sustainability did not go hand-in-hand with profitability.

Closing the gap on climate action

We are all acutely aware of how rapid, widespread, and intensifying climate change has been. And it’s heartening to note that India has promised to cut its emissions to net-zero by 2070. This puts more pressure on companies across industries to practice sustainable ways in delivering quality services while reducing the carbon footprint.

At this juncture, it only makes sense for a business to strategize keeping in mind its many sustainability practices and policies. Here I can only reiterate some familiar key tenets that, in my experience, have gone a long way in making Tech Mahindra one of the most sustainable companies in the world:

  • Integrate sustainable value creation into every management process, system, and practice through your people. It is critical to make sustainability a personal agenda; the impact goes beyond business and impacts the quality of work and services we deliver.
  • Align your business strategy with sustainability. This demonstrates commitment and creates the momentum you need to ensure your business is resilient.
  • Build green practices and deliver solutions that take you on the path of sustained, responsible growth; invest in modernization efforts and digital transformation that can steer you steadfastly into the future.
  • Explore the potential of technological innovation—low emission tech for heating, cooling, and electricity, more efficient irrigation methods, green buildings, energy-efficient water purification devices, and business processes that minimize waste and pollution. Reduce the excess usage of non-renewable resources, reuse whatever you can, and recycle to avoid wastage.

At Tech Mahindra, we service Fortune 1000 customers where we incorporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) into everything we deliver as services. In one instance, we implemented an online solution for a leading Canadian bank where the bank’s customers could avail mortgage worth $1 million without ever having to visit a bank branch. It takes 40 minutes to fill up a mortgage application, and fund disbursement takes place within four days. An analysis shows that we have saved 35% paper usage with this initiative and dramatically reduced the number of trips that a customer has to make to the branch, thereby saving carbon footprint. We are about to launch a platform that will enable any enterprise to find out what their current carbon footprint is.

Making a collective mission towards sustainability

In the end, this needs to be a collective effort. These challenges around achieving sustainability are complex and require the expertise and resources of various bodies, policymakers, organizations, citizens. This requires collaborations that encourage sustainable practices, innovations, and new ways of operating within communities. These sustainability practices and initiatives must align with the greater mission of achieving a zero-carbon economy.

As an organization, we must work towards implementing internal carbon pricing, achieving approved science-based targets, investing in green technology solutions, inducting our employees to advocate and spread awareness of climate change, and encouraging green activities within and outside the business. Small steps that make a lasting, sustainable impact into the future of our existence.

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About the Author
Lakshman Chidambaram Author
Lakshmanan Chidambaram (CTL)
President, Enterprise Americas Tech Mahindra