Sustainability today plays a vital role in how enterprises look at and transform their ecosystems. Sustainability is no more an added bonus but a business requirement. This is where technology companies like HCLTech play an important role.
Over the last decade or so, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals have entered the consciousness of private sector companies. The topic of sustainability is part of everyday vocabulary as national and international climate targets have become a colloquial subject for citizens. Institutionally, the European Union is pushing for ever-increasing regulation in line with its goal of making Europe the first climate-neutral continent in the world. Change is inevitable.
This discussion has slowly reached the world of ICT and business. The challenge for many companies is knowing where to start. But start they must. It is estimated that within the next ten years, the ICT sector’s share of the world’s annual electricity consumption is expected to reach at least 6 and up to 14 percent. Some estimates go even higher, closer to 20 percent. In fact, ICTs have been estimated to account for up to four percent of European carbon emissions – on par with direct emissions from aviation.
Despite the increased carbon contribution from the ICT sector, the equation is not that simple. Digitalization also provides solutions by significantly improving efficiency in, for example, industrial production and logistics. In navigating this new era, where sustainability is a mission-critical consideration, organizations need the support of a partner that can help them achieve their sustainability goals, without compromising on productivity, efficiency, and operations.
From new regulation to taxonomy - sustainability requires commitment
More and more companies are becoming aware of the need to start on the sustainability path. Many have signed up, for instance, to the UN Global Compact, Science-Based targets, or published ambitious climate goals. It also means that companies are looking at partners who can prove their operations align with sustainability principles.
“Many of our client organizations are front-runners, take their climate commitments very seriously, and have set public goals for their efforts. For instance, the paper industry has been a front runner in linking their own activities with ambitious biodiversity and climate targets,” says Jukka Lehtinen, Regional Sales Director at HCLTech. “This is a strong signal, and as a partner, it encourages us to aim even higher on helping our customers on the road to sustainability.”
“As 2023 rolls out, the demands will increase due to international commitments and the push via EU regulation and the EU taxonomy,” he continues.
The EU taxonomy is a classification system establishing a list of environmentally sustainable economic activities. Another regulatory tool is the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). A larger pool of companies will begin reporting under the CSRD for the financial year after January 1, 2023. Both tools can significantly impact the operating environment of businesses.
Sustainability is more than just reducing the carbon footprint
Until recently, sustainability discussions have centered heavily on the environmental impact, probably for a good reason. It is easier to calculate and show causal relationships. But as the ESG – environmental, social and governance – criteria clearly show, there is more to it. HCLTech has paid a lot of attention to successfully fulfilling the requirements of ESG. As a result, the company topped the chart at the Edelweiss ESG Scorecard & Ratings for India’s top 100 Companies.
“We’ve seen an increasing interest among our clients and prospects on sustainability. Environmental perspective is already a given, but we’re also seeing more and more importance paid to social sustainability,” says Lehtinen.
“Our clients are interested in whether we are a sustainable employer. This is crucial for the reliability of delivery and, as such, a component of our competitiveness. Sustainability is a competitiveness factor also in the employee experience. Millennials entering the workforce are looking for employers mindful of sustainability in all forms, not just in terms of carbon footprint reductions. The well-being of employees is integral to success,” continues Lehtinen.
Sustainability makes business sense too
Sustainability in IT and technology starts from efficiency. Optimizing different processes, migrating to the cloud, modernizing applications, and utilizing IoT to play a key role in this. The result is a smaller carbon footprint and a more efficient system. IT is no longer a support function but an integral part and an enabler of business.
“One of our global clients embarked on a transformation program to optimize their IT landscape including applications and infrastructure. We were able to help them, for example, improve operational efficiency by 10–20%. Sustainability, then makes a lot of business sense too,” Jukka Lehtinen points out.
“As a partner, we work with enterprises to help them transition from a stage of awareness to proactively acting on defined sustainability initiatives across the value chain. We do this via our digital transformation prowess and sustainability-specific partnerships and solutions,” Lehtinen says.
Download the HCLTech 2022 sustainability report: https://bit.ly/3UkCBJK