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It is becoming imperative for organizations today to effectively manage ESG: Zaheer Abbas C, Indium Software

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In today’s financial landscape, ESG factors have taken center stage for banks, offering multifaceted benefits. They play a pivotal role in  risk mitigation, regulatory adherence, bolstering reputations, facilitating capital access, fostering long-term sustainability, and promoting positive societal and environmental impact. Embracing ESG principles is the cornerstone of responsible and sustainable banking. Indium Software, a company specializing in ESG compliance solutions, has recognized the immense potential in this domain and has developed solutions to capitalize on it. Express Computer spoke with Zaheer Abbas C, Senior Vice President, Banking & Financial Services, Indium Software, who shares more details.

Some edited excerpts:

With the growing emphasis on sustainability and responsible practices, how does Indium Software help banks and BFSI companies align their operations with ESG mandates? Could you share some specific examples or strategies?

Organizations today are increasingly leveraging industry standard frameworks to baseline, set targets and disclose their ESG reports. This needs to be done while keeping into context the risks associated with capital access only to environmentally and socially responsible companies, given the stance being increasingly taken by investors.

We envision to initiate and support our BFSI customers on their sustainability journey. This would need strong collaboration with the regulatory bodies to accelerate the ESG measures and drive towards a net-zero economy. Indium is a fast-growing, nimble IT services organization committed to environmental protection and socially responsible bringing in equality through our workforce strategy and transparent approach.

Here are few solutions that we have implemented for our customers:

1. Automated ESG reporting for a Large Financial Services Organization with presence in North America, thereby reduced the person-hour efforts resulting in cost savings. This also helped save scope 1 emission.

2. Built an accelerator to help calculate carbon emissions across scope 1, 2 & 3. This included the visualization and analysis of the underlying data. This would help our customers baseline the data as they initiate the ESG journey.

3. Leveraged low code platform to build mobile and desktop apps for tracking carbon offset and waste diversion in the foodservice and hospitality industries.

Data governance plays a critical role in ensuring accurate and reliable ESG reporting. How does Indium Software approach data governance to support banks in meeting their ESG goals?

It is becoming imperative for organizations today to effectively manage ESG and report them as part of the business timelines to demonstrate that it is an integral part of their ecosystem.

With the lack of standard reporting and harmonization required for a global framework, Organizations are looking for the “how” aspect while there is a top-down consensus on the “what” and “why”. Adding to that is the need to prevent greenwashing, bringing the focus from regulators to the data transparency and the perceived impacts.

Typical financial organizations are facing the issue of organizational complexity and structure, data quality and integrations and constraints by the legacy system. This brings to the forefront addressing the data modernization and management aspects, effectively leveraging the cloud ecosystems, and driving AI/ML capability on the same. Indium is committed to support financial customers drive their ESG goals through helping them with the technology enablement and driving various solutions to derive the desired business goals.

ESG mandates are evolving rapidly. How does Indium Software help architect core banking processes and operational transformations to stay adaptable to these changing ESG requirements?
As I mentioned earlier, it is important for organizations to drive their business transformation initiatives, and it requires them to have an incremental and disruptive approach through technology modernization. We have in-house domain and technology SMEs continuously exploring the existing ESG landscape and guiding our team to solve the business needs of our BFSI customers. Indium also brings in the required capability in the Digital Engineering and Data Modernization Ecosystem to help achieve those business goals, keeping in mind the time to market and business priorities with the given regulatory and standardization requirements to mature in the ESG.

Banks face various risks associated with ESG non-compliance. Could you elaborate on how Indium Software’s solutions assist banks in mitigating potential negative impacts on their operations, reputation, and financial performance?
Environmental and Social aspects as part of the ESG initiatives are not any kind of “optics” as perceived earlier. Today, there is a wider acknowledgement and traction on the ESG investments, and regulators bringing in stringent norms to drive consistency on reporting and stopping greenwashing, if any. Though the impact of non-compliance on environmental and governance aspects is widely known due to the regulatory push, there is a lack of awareness about ‘social’ non-compliance. Indium is an equal opportunity partner and has diverse candidates across various roles on the spectrum. We have a dedicated prevention of sexual harassment (POSH) committee comprising of our senior leadership and an external consultant as well. We are a strong advocate of the above practices during our client meetings and conferences as well.

There is also a need to integrate and simplify the legacy systems, drive domain-driven structures, bring better integration, improve data quality and management, use cloud-based architecture, and AI systems. Indium is committed to support their financial customers drive their ESG goals through helping them with the technology enablement and driving various solutions to derive the desired business goals.

Could you provide insights into the technology support that Indium Software offers for reporting ESG risks, supervising, and managing ESG-related data? How do these technological solutions enhance the accuracy and transparency of ESG reporting?

Indium’s ESG solutions offers comprehensive technological solutions tailored to reporting ESG risks, supervising, and managing ESG-related data. We have 3-pronged approach towards this.

1. Through advanced data analytics platforms, we enable organizations to gather, validate, and analyze diverse ESG data points in real-time, ensuring accurate and up-to-date reporting. Our solutions streamline the collection of environmental, social, and governance metrics, enhancing the efficiency of data aggregation.

2. By automating the process, manual errors are minimized, bolstering the accuracy of ESG reporting. Additionally, our robust data visualization tools facilitate clear insights into ESG performance trends, helping stakeholders comprehend complex data effortlessly.

3. Ultimately, our technological support elevates transparency, as organizations can confidently share credible ESG reports that reflect their commitment to responsible business practices and compliance with evolving regulatory standards.

Indium Software has re-engineered the entire workflow to fight Food Waste and Climate Change. What are some key features or benefits of this solution?

In a world challenged by pressing issues of food waste and climate change, Indium Software has spearheaded a transformative initiative that redefines the way we approach these critical concerns. Through innovative re-engineering, we have crafted an end-to-end workflow that tackles food waste head-on while making a significant impact on mitigating climate change.

Some key features or benefits are –

Environment (E of ESG). We have assisted the client to be in compliance with UN SDG points 11 (municipal solid waste), 12 (food is being lost or wasted) and 13 (Rising global greenhouse).
Social (S of ESG). Client organization is owned by a female. We are empowering women run orgs to succeed. UN SDG goal 5 (Progress in women’s access to leadership positions).
Governance (G of ESG). Built dashboards to enable co.’s meets their CSR targets.

Specific to India, what trends do you foresee in the intersection of technology and ESG for the banking industry in the coming years? How is Indium Software preparing to address these trends? What are the major opportunities for your firm?

ESG trends will be similar for all major growing economies, however specific to India there are a few major areas that we need to focus upon. These are – Water Management & Conservation, Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives, Electric Mobility Adoption, Carbon Emissions, Corporate Governance Reforms etc. Implementing these ESG principles will need higher investments in technology. Few areas where we envisage the intersection of technology and ESG are –

Data managament

Streamlined Data Collection and Management – Data finder, Data Transformation, Data Governance, Data optimization.
Validate, Trace and Audit – Compliance monitoring tool, BCP.

Measure and Track GHG Emissions – Track your own emissions.

ESG reporting

Global Sustainability Reporting – Follow Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

Custom ESG Reports – Customize the reporting for your clientele.

Detailed Insights and dashboard – Power BI, tableau solutions
Identify and Prioritize ESG Issues – Compare the identify the issue affecting your organization.

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