Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has directed India’s top 1000 companies by valuation to report on Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR). It’s voluntary for FY 2021-22 but mandatory by the next financial year.
In India, the Mahindra Group, Reliance Industries, L&T Finance, and the Bajaj Group have committed to report on BRSR.
According to a recent research by Capgemini, organisations, which have taken concrete steps as a part of their sustainable agenda have reported tangible business benefits. “Over six in ten organizations in the consumer product, retail and energy sectors said that they have already generated a revenue increase from sustainable operations. For instance, Unilever’s ‘Sustainable Living Brands’ are growing about 70% faster than the rest of the business and delivering 75% of the company’s growth. Nearly 80% of executives pointed to an increase in customer loyalty as a key benefit from sustainability initiatives,”
According to another report from Capgemini Research Institute, titled “Sustainable IT: Why it’s time for a Green revolution for your organization’s IT”, the organizations which have built a comprehensive roadmap to accelerate sustainable IT implementation have realized improved ESG scores (61%), seen improved customer satisfaction (56%) and witnessed tax savings (44%) as a direct result of sustainable IT practices.
Yet, organizations are still largely unaware of how to implement sustainable IT practices and proactively address the environmental impact of enterprise-IT: only 6% of firms have achieved a high level of sustainable IT maturity. Express Computer spoke to some IT companies on what has been their experience on how organisations are carrying forward their sustainable agenda – with a focus on Information Technology related resources.
A.P. Moller – Maersk is assisting its customers with decarbonising their supply chains with the launch of an Emissions Dashboard.
The analytics provides customers with the opportunity to get a detailed overview of their opportunities to lower emissions from the transport of their products. At the same time the data creates a solid basis for logistics emissions reporting which can be used in corporate sustainability reports.
Around half of Maersk’s 200 largest customers have set – or are in the process of setting – ambitious science-based or zero carbon targets for their supply chains.
The Emissions Dashboard has been tested by 10 key customers of Maersk who have provided valuable and positive feedback. Among these are leading science-based agricultural technology company Syngenta.
At a conceptual level, AP Moller calculates energy consumption at the Tank to wheel (TTW), level, “which takes into account the emissions footprint of fuel consumed in the carrier engine and Well to wheel – which is the GLEC recommended standard for 2021 – takes into account TTW plus the footprint of making and transporting the fuel to the point of consumption. So it is a bit higher than TTW but more accurately credits the overall emissions footprint to specific cargo.” says Gaurav Nath, Business Product Owner, Visibility and Data Products, A.P. Moller – Maersk.
The technology companies are also working at various levels to reduce their carbon footprints to enhance their performance on the sustainability metrics. Sajith Kumar, CIO, Happiest Minds Technologies informs on the below initiatives :
Printers – All the printers are AD (Active Directory) Authenticated, this has ensured that people print only what is necessary and this has reduced the consumption of paper, toner and overall usage of the printer. This has also extended the overall life of the printer.
Backup – Tape backups involve a significant portion of time of the IT personnel to physically manage data backups, maintenance of the backup equipment, safe storage of the tapes, troubleshooting, testing, and helping coworkers locate lost or corrupted files. Moving this to a cloud-based solution reduced all of the above drastically as there was no more need to physically manage any backup or help people locate their files.
Compute Devices – Moving all compute devices from desktop pcs to laptops helped reduce consumption of power, personnel required to move desktops from one location to another location, better manage ewaste, etc. Recyclability of a desktop or laptop remains the same, the life of a desktop is also much more than a laptop but the amount of e waste that a desktop generates is much more than a laptop. Laptop also helps reduce clutter at the desk and desks are cleaner, thus reducing both effort and energy required to clean desks.
Virtualization – Optimizing use of server hardware by use of virtualization has ensured that the server power (CPU, Storage, Memory etc.,) has been better utilized by multiple services offered by the organization. This also has the advantage of using lesser space by virtue of consolidation of multiple servers on one physical server.
Cloud based Applications – Usage of multi-tenanted cloud based applications ensures that the physical hardware is most optimally used and this again helps in saving power by virtue of consolidation of multiple servers on one physical server.
Automation – Repetitive manual tasks have more or less been automated, this has helped reduce manpower and associated compute devices, the server usage also has been consolidated due to virtualization. Thus, reducing overall power consumed.
Consolidating Servers – Use of a higher-powered server to consolidate multiple database servers into one single database server and multiple web servers into one webserver with logical separation.Larger disk drives are more efficient and improve utilization as well.
Seema Ghanekar, Global Head of Sustainability, Industrial and Consumer Products, L&T Technology Services
There are three key areas where technology organizations are attempting to optimize their carbon footprint, with the use of cutting-edge, innovative solutions:
Firstly, companies are optimizing energy management through operations. This has been achieved by either developing energy efficient offices and plants or transitioning towards renewable or local electrification solutions. Also, by enabling technology-driven management solutions, organizations are effectively handling water consumption and waste management.
Secondly, companies are investing in integrated digital platforms and equipment to ensure optimal operational efficiency.
Moreover, substantial innovation is underway to identify reusable material, so much so that by the end of its lifecycle, the product remains eco-friendly instead of adding to environmental burden. While such investment and R&D is underway, companies are also focusing on the auxiliary element of sustainable packaging and light weighting of products, thereby making their products more and more energy efficient.
L&T Technology Services (LTTS) is enabling such organizations to meet their sustainability goals by introducing innovative solutions for energy conservation and waste management. For example, LTTS’ proprietary building automation framework i-BEMS enables energy conservation and rehabilitation of existing buildings to operate more efficiently by optimizing the overall energy consumption through HVAC, lighting control and power monitoring.
Our Energy Manager solution helps track energy losses across manufacturing plants and provides visibility into utilities and plant equipment to drive decision support in energy management.
With sustainability initiatives and environmental management systems, global organizations are taking proactive steps in defining and securing the future of this planet.
Kamal Shah, CIO, LTI (L&T Infotech)
LTI acknowledges the importance of preserving natural resources and consuming them in a responsible manner. We leverage the power of technology in various ways to reduce our carbon footprint, while preserving precious resources like energy and water across our campuses.
The growing organization that we are, it is only obvious that our requirements are going to increase. However, with more emphasis on increased efficiency in our operations, we intend to continually reduce our environmental impact. To achieve this, we engage with our associates and other stakeholders across our value chain and have initiated our journey towards a carbon neutral future. Apart from focusing on reducing consumption, we also ensure responsible end-of-life treatment of waste generated from our premises.
We monitor data using cloud technology and track indicators like energy, emissions, water, and waste. We have an EHS policy in place, a dedicated team to collect relevant location wise data and analyze the impact and map the progress of our sustainability performance, thus continuously seeking measures for improvement.
We have stringent internal targets for energy performance, aligned to our sustainability approach and roadmap. We emphasize on procuring energy-efficient equipment and sustainable habitats for reducing our energy consumption and we are committed to become Carbon Neutral for India Operations by 2030.
As an IT company, our products also enable us to reduce and manage our client’s carbon footprint of their operations through our products viz. Digital Consulting Enterprise Solutions, Data and Analytics, Application Management, Cloud, RPA, IoT.
For example, LTI partnered with one of the largest producers of timber in Africa to digitize their forestry operations. We prepared a blueprint and Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that helped in not only transforming experiences in agribusiness, but also in preventing revenue loss, artificial price suppression, biodiversity loss, and climate change.
- Prevented loss of revenue
- Prevented artificial price suppression
- Prevented loss of biodiversity and climate change
Following are some of the initiatives which are technology driven focusing on environment, health, and well-being of society:
- LTI-backed start-up Airpix Geoinformatics developed an AI-powered solution for temperature screening and social distancing to control the spread of COVID-19.
- LTI-backed start-up FarmChain Services deployed technology to improve the farm-to-fork supply chain in a hygiene-based environment.
- Innovative solutions like xFH – ‘Everything from Home’ – a concept that very interestingly outlines LTI’s journey from simply operational from home to everything from home, and SafeRadius, a mobile app to ensure employee safety at all times, were launched to support & empower our employees. We understood the lasting changes pandemic is making to the field of software engineering and have designed LTI Canvas as our design for the future of software engineering.
- As a volunteering CSR initiative, we have recently launched the 1Step miles app which has a two-fold objective of fitness and environment conservation. Through this app, an employee contributes to planting a sapling by walking certain kms which are tracked by the app
Following are the measures in place to reduce energy consumption for IT infrastructure at LTI:
- Replacement of old cisco switches with latest generation switches which can optimized power from existing UPS/sources
· PCs are on Hibernation when there is no activity shown in the systems and this was conducted through group policy
· Consolidation of existing IT core equipment’s is in progress in order to optimize power and resource in a better way
· Tapeless backup is in progress which can faster and optimize the user data and security
· Replacement of old Firewall with next generation firewall is in progress for faster and better latest security enablement
· Redressing of cabling across floors
· Implementation of IDPA Tapeless Backup Solution & sunset all tapes media
· Implementation of Cisco IronPort SMTP email solution to control SPAM & Virus-related mails from Internet
Some additional related efforts that we undertake are also appended below:
- Building Monitoring System
One of the most basic aspects is to monitor our baseline emissions. State of the art Building Management Systems help us in understanding how much energy we consume. In case of any pilferages, we have a robust mechanism for correcting and preventing any further instances of the same. 24-by-7 monitoring of these systems help in identifying outliers or faults at the initial Stage and more effectively attending to the incident. We are also looking into upgrading our BMS wherever required to design a Global Energy Analytics Software which will provide Real-time data Monitoring through Cloud.
- IOT based Platforms
We used IOT based monitoring of Air Handling Units (AHU), as a pilot project at one of our offices, to cater to comfortable temperatures on the office floors. Thermal sensors help in monitoring temperatures at all sections of the floor and a web-based operating system can control AHU parameters to increase or decrease the temperature in the corresponding area. This solution helps in improving turnaround time for the facility team in addressing AC related requests pertaining to the employees.
3. Transport Aggregator Software
Safe Transportation of employees to and from office during odd hours, holidays, or other unforeseen situations such as a global pandemic is a high importance task for LTI. Local movement of employees also contributes to a high percentage of Scope 3 Emissions. We have been using a Cab Aggregator software to help in pool employees on the same route and localities whilst keeping their personal information masked. This helped not only in reducing the number of cabs plying on the roads but also helped in enhancing security for female employees. The software could ensure that female employees are not picked first or dropped last irrespective of the time of the day, ensuring the presence of a male employee. Through this software we were able to identify instances where we could dispatch a vehicle with higher capacity (like buses or tempo travellers) reducing overall emissions on the route.
From a cost and stewardship perspective, every watt counts. Taken together, all of the incremental improvements mentioned above can add up to a very significant energy-reduction impact.
Speaking on LTI’s carbon neutrality journey, in order to subside the emissions and meet our neutrality target, we have taken emission reduction targets for four domains, viz.
1) Conservation of energy through optimization of HVAC, UPS systems and replacement of conventional lighting systems.
2) Increasing share of renewable energy through green energy procurement and installation of rooftop solar PV.
3) Reducing travel footprint by encouraging our employees to book direct flights to avoid transit hubs and leverage videoconferencing to reduce non-essential business travel. We have introduced a ‘Green Week’ initiative to curb travel emissions where the employees are asked to not travel for a week in a month.
4) Increasing and improving carbon sink through our CSR initiatives of afforestation/reforestation and Solar PV installation in rural schools.