Sandeep Chandna, the Chief Sustainability Officer at Tech Mahindra, speaks about how technology contributes to sustainability
How does technology contribute to sustainability?
Technology is, undoubtedly, an enabler of sustainability in modern society. It can make operations more intelligent and sustainable by enhancing the operational performance and governance of business verticals. Also, it has had a profound impact on our culture and economy throughout history. Social structures, including our values, have been affected by technological developments. Hence, technological progress is escalating and making an acute impact on different verticals of society and sustainability is no stranger to this trend.
Some examples of how technology contributes to sustainability include Blockchain. this technology, which is most associated with cryptocurrencies has a broad potential to contribute towards sustainability. For example, the technology can bring more transparency to a supply chain or verify that a product comes from a fair-trade supplier. Companies can also use the blockchain for waste management purposes, such as tracking trash bins when they become full.
In India, EV solutions can help reduce carbon emissions by 37% by 2030. Hence, Tech Mahindra has created Intelligent Electric Vehicle Charging System (IEVCS) solutions. Tech Mahindra offers Sustainable Smart City Technology along with smart city offerings such as SMART Grid, Microgrid-As-A-Service, and Community Action Platform for Energy (CAPE), smart energy management, smart traffic management, smart lighting management, smart waste management systems, and command and control centers. These offerings can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions across multiple cities, globally.
What sort of sustainability efforts does your company practice? Examples: minimal/recyclable packaging, use of recycled material for devices, green energy, low energy consumption, digital products, and services, and so on.
In our constant endeavor to improve the operational efficiency of our facilities and promote environmentally responsible practices, we have installed motion sensors, replaced incandescent lights with LEDs, and purchased energy-efficient equipment and HVACs to reduce energy consumption. With “Work from Home” becoming the new normal, we are taking various measures to cut down our business travel and employee commute essentially focusing our efforts towards establishing sustainable business travel practices.
Making Sustainability Personal (MSP), an organization-wide initiative at Tech Mahindra is helping associates not just act sustainably but also think sustainably – at the workplace and beyond. It transcends the boundaries of our sustainability targets and roadmap to becoming a real experience and a purpose.
With sustainability being our supreme priority, we, at Tech Mahindra, have also implemented the following measures to manifest our commitment to a better planet:
- Adopted clean energy technologies to reduce emissions and improve air quality.
- Implemented a Carbon Price mechanism to boost green investments.
- Installed Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) to recycle and reuse water, thereby, preventing freshwater withdrawal.
- Fixed water restrictors and sensors to help conserve water.
Such measures have enabled us to reduce our carbon emission by 10.09% and energy intensity
by 26.62% against last year; mitigate 17,965 MTCO2e and 6,771 MTCO2e of GHG emissions through Renewable Energy and energy-efficient equipment, respectively. Additionally, we’ve recycled and reused more than 235 Mn liters of water through STPs and recharged 1.3 Mn liters of groundwater through Rainwater Harvesting Pits.
Do we need to look at sustainability beyond the use of “green energy”?
Yes, the concept of Sustainability covers a wide range of topics such as Climate Change, Energy Management, Water and Waste Management, Biodiversity, and so on. We aspire to be one of the most sustainable companies in the world and to achieve this vision, we have set goals and targets that are aligned with globally recognized standards and frameworks on Sustainability. Additionally, with a focus on doing the right thing, responsibly, we have prioritized material issues, as well as a Sustainability roadmap with defined targets.
We are focused on Energy management and energy conservation initiatives as evident from our Sustainability roadmap which reflects our commitment to energy conservation and exploration of alternate sources of energy. We have been installing solar plants across locations and exploring more options towards open access renewable energy to reduce GHG emissions and contribute towards Net zero. We’ve been able to proactively increase RE (Renewable Energy) in our Energy mix to 22.93% through the installation of Renewable energy modules across our facilities and PPAs.
How can companies reduce their carbon footprint? Are there local or regional initiatives that encourage companies to adopt best practices?
Companies can reduce their carbon footprint through investments in low-emission technologies, increasing renewable energy consumption, adopting energy-efficient equipment, increasing operational efficiency, and formulating net-zero strategies. Also, global as well as regional regulations and initiatives stimulate and encourage companies to follow best practices on sustainability.
For instance, Tech Mahindra aligns itself with the Paris agreement and Business Ambition of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by implementing the following sustainable practices across its value chain:
- Adopting low-emission technology – Replace existing equipment with more efficient and environment-friendly alternatives viz. LED, motion sensors, etc. and increase the use of renewable energy through on-site installations and PPAs.
- Supporting green solutions – Leverage our collaborative ecosystem and sustainability solutions, globally. We aim to pioneer new solutions for sustainable development while continuing to shape our business responsibly and increasing our economic success. We have developed green solutions like Smart Grid, Microgrid-As-A-Service, Community Action Platforms for Energy (CAPE), Smart Waste Management Systems, and Electric Vehicle Charging Systems. We are developing solutions and platforms to assist customers in Energy Management, Climate Action, and Resource Efficiency.
- Technology disruption – Co-create innovative solutions with IoT, Automation, Blockchain, and AI technologies in sustainability to help enable a pathway to reduce emissions and other impacts of climate change.
For instance, we have taken SBTi-approved targets to reduce absolute scopes 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 22% by 2030 and 50% by 2050, from a 2016 base year. Additionally, we’re committed to Net zero targets on SBTi and are in the process of reviewing our strategy and roadmap toward the submission of these targets. Also, the Internal Carbon price of USD 14/MTCO2e helps in funding climate-centric initiatives like the installation of solar plants, setting up of sewage treatment plants, PPAs, installing LEDs, HVACs, and other energy-efficient devices.
What challenges do companies face today in their journey toward net zero and how can technology help solve those issues?
Net zero offers an opportunity to reduce the impact of climate risks and provides benefits such as increased brand reputation, investor confidence, and so on. for companies that serve customers or businesses that are cognizant of sustainability requirements. Asset Inventorization & GHG accounting, Scope 3 emissions tracking, Supplier engagement, and alliances are some of the challenges an organization could face in their transition toward Net zero.
Technology can be an enabler in achieving Net zero targets for an organization. Adopting low-carbon technology practices and developing and co-creating innovative and sustainable solutions for all stakeholders across a value chain can help in accelerating the journey towards Net Zero emissions. Additionally, transitioning towards new technologies and implementing eco-design principles across operations not only accelerate Net Zero plans but also reduce operational costs and efforts.
What factors can help companies advance toward their sustainability goals?
At Tech Mahindra, we believe that sustainability is about balancing people, the planet, and profits.
We believe that embedding ESG principles into business strategy, prioritizing measures around the adoption of green and clean initiatives, implementing carbon prices, developing green solutions, and driving sustainability across the supply chain can drive long-term growth and profitability for an organization and mitigate environmental as well as social risks.
Also, developing strategies that have a long-term impact on protecting the planet and safeguarding communities while balancing sustainability and business profitability can advance companies toward their sustainability goals. For instance, at Tech Mahindra, we are building an enduring business by growing our revenues from green solutions, mitigating climate risks, and embracing technology. We ensure that we are a great place to work, foster inclusive development, and ensure making Sustainability personal.