ITU News recently caught up with Sandeep Chandna, Chief Sustainability Officer at Tech Mahindra, after the company’s announcement of its commitment to fight climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 20 per cent by 2030 and 50 per cent by 2050. These emission targets are in line with the level of decarbonization required to keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius, as approved by the Science Based Target initiative, which mobilizes companies to transition to the low-carbon economy and aims to makes science-based target setting standard business practice by 2020. Here is the Q&A with Mr Chandna.
De-carbonizing our business makes financial sense.
Tech Mahindra is striving to move towards a low-carbon future while ensuring business growth. Our commitment and performance is demonstrated by external recognition we have received in the form of awards like DJSI (Dow Jones Sustainability Index), CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project), OEKOM, FTSE (Financial Times Stock Exchange), etc.
Our approach towards reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is to not only improve our energy efficiency, but also increase the share of renewables. The commitment from our leadership in the form of corporate targets demonstrates our dedication to curtail GHG emissions.
To reduce our emissions we have adopted short, medium and long-term targets, which have been approved by SBTi (the Science Based Target initiative). We have developed a low-carbon business model, adopted low-emission technologies by increasing renewable energy sourcing and efficient equipment sourcing, and we are developing innovative green solutions like Smart Grid, IEVCS (Intelligent Electric Vehicle Charging Systems) and others.
“We have set a 5-year target of increasing renewable energy sources by 10% by 2021 and have already achieved the target this year.”
Our employees are also committed to environmental activities. We have employee volunteers across Tech Mahindra offices rooting for the cause of environment and sustainability. These volunteers undertake activities and advocacy campaigns; they advise the associates on preventing wastage of food, water, electricity; and they encourage external vendors to use less plastic in their businesses.
Every sector has a unique set of challenges and opportunities when it comes to reducing their carbon footprint. The trick is to find which set of technologies (from installation of solar plants, efficient equipment, climate bonds, renewable energy certificates (RECs), green tariffs and power purchase agreements (PPAs) work best for the organization today, and in the future.
“Many companies now prefer to do business with only those firms that are taking adequate steps to reduce harmful environmental impacts.”
Setting realistic targets, which had to be achieved in a given time frame, was a challenge. However, we were able to accomplish this with proper planning, execution, consistent sustainability investments and by adopting best practices.
Adopting low-emission technology and replacing existing ones will be costly, but in the long run, we will be able to save operational expenses by saving energy and saving increasing commercial cost associated with grid consumption. Over the next few years, energy efficient equipment and clean technology will play a decisive role.
We have set a 5-year target of increasing renewable energy sources by 10% by 2021 and have already achieved the target this year itself.
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware about climate change and other socio-environmental challenges. This increased awareness is influencing their buying decisions as well.
Many companies now prefer to do business with only those firms that are taking adequate steps to reduce harmful environmental impacts. Similarly, our investors and other stakeholders are also keen to know about our sustainability initiatives and achievements. Thus, leadership and recognition in sustainability initiatives is giving us a competitive advantage.
We have focused on reducing our water and carbon footprint across our facilities. We have adopted Science Based Targets which helped us accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy and avoid the adverse effects of climate change.
We have reduced our operational expenses through installation of energy efficient equipment, adoption of solar installations and open access. Sourcing from renewable energies has saved us around 22000 MWh of electricity consumption from the grid. And our sustainability initiatives are improving our brand reputation.
International standards like ITU’s green standards for ICTs, GRI standards and various frameworks like TCFD (Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures), CDSB (Climate Disclosure Standard Board) and others help us in sector-specific benchmarking towards: environmental and water stewardships; adopting sustainability best practices; quantification, measuring, monitoring and reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions; recognising climate change risks and finding ways to mitigate these; moving towards clean, affordable technologies and climate actions to reduce the carbon footprint arising from energy generation; hazardous and non-hazardous waste disposal, building construction, business travel, and logistics.