In 2022, it could become mandatory for every company to develop and execute a comprehensive sustainability strategy, a daunting challenge that will require more focused leadership, especially here in Asia Pacific, including India.
2021 has been a boom year for the Indian tech industry. Digital transformation has become a key strategic priority for businesses, investments in the cloud have been prioritized, and companies across industries have embraced transformative technologies to develop relevant solutions. Sustainability has been another key trend as companies integrate it into their operations to tackle the climate crisis. Even the amazing unicorn walk was an exhilarating feature of the year with a variety of companies participating in the new valuation stories. Truth be told, 2021 has been a pivotal year for Indian tech and the paths for the next decade have been really bright, say CEOs of some of the biggest tech companies.
By Shailender Kumar
Sustainability is essential to 42% of business strategies in India, according to a recent Frost & Sullivan report. Indeed, beyond meeting compliance and regulatory objectives, more and more people of all ages, especially young people, are assessing the track record and commitments of companies in terms of sustainable development from a development perspective. sustainable before committing their money. In addition, companies, both public and private, are starting to do the same with their suppliers and partners, holding them – and themselves – accountable for reducing their carbon emissions.
No wonder more and more environmentally friendly raw materials are used, greener manufacturing processes and renewable energies used, wherever possible. In situations where biodegradable materials may not be suitable, recycled materials take their place. In India, we also clearly see the government pushing for sustainability in its sustainable development goals. At the COP 26 summit which has just ended, the Indian Prime Minister announced a zero emission target for the country by 2070.
Certainly, recognizing that sustainability is an important paradigm on which to act is the first important step in preserving our environment. Soon, it may no longer be a matter of choice. In 2022, it could become mandatory for every company to develop and execute a comprehensive sustainability strategy, a daunting challenge that will require more focused leadership, especially here in Asia Pacific, including India. Forrester reports in his Predictions 2022 report that among the Fortune Global 200 companies, the APAC lags far behind North America and the EMEA in appointing a sustainability manager at the vice president, director or other executive level.
In addition, according to the same report, only 30% of Global 2000 companies in Asia-Pacific are “taking action” when it comes to making their sustainability efforts more transparent, creating a funded sustainability function. and, ultimately, reduce their carbon footprint or e-waste. According to Forrester’s report, for most businesses in the region, sustainability efforts are driven by compliance and investor pressure, not strategic planning and risk management. Such a short-sighted approach ticks the box, but will not materially affect climate change. In fact, it risks misleading environmentally conscious customers and partners.
“Real action” requires companies to change some of the fundamentals of their business. Oracle, for example, has pledged to leverage all cloud regions that power its infrastructure and application servers with 100% renewable energy by 2025. And it requires all of its major vendors, both for direct manufacturing and indirect sourcing, have environmental programs in by 2025 that include emission reduction targets.
One smart idea that comes to mind, among others, about how businesses can engage customers in sustainability efforts is: what if retailers, logistics companies and other shippers of physical products offer to do their customers have delivery choices that include information on environmental impact, not just speed? What if they charge customers less or offer other incentives to choose the more environmentally friendly option? If adopted, such a practice could both make an environmental difference and enhance a company’s brand image.
Of course, companies will increasingly rely on advanced information technologies to support their sustainability efforts. For example, the Indian agricultural cooperative, IFFCO, is analyzing huge amounts of data to develop its environmentally friendly ‘nanotechnology’ fertilizer, capable of halving the use of conventional chemical fertilizers while increasing crop yields. .
Then there is BSES Rajdhani Power (BRPL) which provides electricity to over 2.7 million customers in West and South Delhi. Some time ago, he piloted the country’s first territory-wide Home Energy Reporting (HER) program. With the help of modern cloud technologies, customers have gained crucial information that could help them make better choices and manage their energy use more efficiently.
Change by so many will not be easy and there will not be one answer. It will require a change in behavior, a change in policy and regulation, a change in business model and a technological change. To make these sustainability goals a reality for the nation, every business must fit into these initiatives and work with the administration for transparent alignment. But you have to agree that it is worth it. After all, our future well-being depends only on our current sustainability.
The author is senior vice president and regional general manager, Oracle India
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