How tech companies can take a surgical approach to their Net-Zero ambitions

This year’s scorching heat and incredibly high surface temperatures remind us that climate change is a harsh reality. To avoid the consequences of global climate change, the world must halve CO2 emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.

Businesses around the world have responded with determination. As a result, the commitment to net zero by 2050 has grown from just 16% in 2019 to over 70% of the global economy today. With their broad reach, social cohesion, and easy access to innovation and talent, tech companies are well placed to solve this dilemma. According to Bloomberg, America’s biggest tech companies are taking unprecedented action against climate change. A significant number of technology companies around the world are following suit. Telecommunications and technology companies have a huge role to play in this journey. They can lead change and pave the way for emissions reductions throughout the value chain by improving the efficiency of their company’s operations and supplier relationships. Here’s how:

1. Do not hesitate to invest in climate change – It is encouraging to see investments in positive climate action gaining momentum among businesses around the world. At a cost of less than €600 per metric ton of CO2 equivalent, energy efficiency initiatives can contribute around 40% of the total global greenhouse gas reduction potential. It’s a great investment that pays for itself over time, with the added benefit of lowering energy costs and increasing the energy output of the economy. Companies should invest in green initiatives that reduce emissions for long-term gains.

2. Integrate sustainable sourcing – The Government of India aspires to promote positive impacts and push activities towards sustainable development, including the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through various policies and regulations. For companies, the first step is to educate the management team and the rest of the staff. Measures such as multi-stakeholder efforts with a local focus, to improve influence. strong supply chains, hazard identification are good starting points. Additionally, companies need to make significant functional changes, such as ensuring sustainability is well-integrated into all procurement processes, moving from extensive audit programs to smarter audit programs, and implementing programs that encourage suppliers to act more sustainably.

3. Helping communities adapt to a low-carbon lifestyle – Environmental concerns born out of the drive for development have posed serious challenges to civilization over the past century, thanks to rapid economic growth. The depletion of natural resources, the deterioration of the quality of the environment and climate change are all serious global concerns that everyone should pay attention to. Overall, circular economy approaches can bring more value. Companies can, for example, participate in the global plastics recycling industry. Companies can use their marketing influence to nudge consumer behavior towards a more sustainable, low-consumption path.

4. Prioritize Net-Zero – Net Zero targets have become the focus of major Indian climate change think tanks. Net-zero, rather than being a fanciful vision of a distant future, is an essential necessity for the survival of the human race. Instead of approaching the problem with a broadsword, it is important to demonstrate changes in day-to-day operations. Renting, sharing, exchanging, repurposing and servicing products should all be part of the business model. Technological advancements will be needed for the development of such business models, but fundamental shifts in consumer culture will be needed to keep them alive. The majority of past corporate sustainability efforts have been customer-focused, while net-zero emissions goals require companies to take a consumer-centric approach to proactively influence consumer culture. Businesses must intentionally grow and expand their net zero customer base.

“As a Zero Waste to Landfill (ZWL) manufacturer, STL pursues a cradle-to-cradle approach to reusing industrial by-products across the value chain”
As one of the world’s leading digital networking companies, STL has practiced all of the above tirelessly. Since its inception, the company has included sustainability in its business approach. In a physically diverse and climate-challenging region, its low-carbon strategy has safeguarded shareholder interests while simultaneously providing a healing touch for millions of people across the subcontinent. Environmental goals such as zero waste to landfill, positive water, sustainable sourcing and net zero emissions by 2030 are central to STL’s response to the threat of climate change. To enable the results, the company conducted a comprehensive carbon footprint study that covered 100% of its operations in India and will be extended to global operations over the coming year. Thus, STL has launched several projects that go beyond the simple transition to renewable energies.

As a Zero Waste to Landfill (ZWL) manufacturer, STL pursues a circular economy approach focused on the reuse of industrial by-products in the value chain. It recycled, reused and co-processed 97% of the waste generated, thereby optimizing the emission profile of its manufacturing operations and avoiding harmful methane emissions from landfills. STL’s commitment to net zero goes beyond its organizational boundaries, as the company is committed to helping communities adapt to low-carbon lifestyles. He has undertaken massive reforestation campaigns and promoted smart farming practices to offset carbon emissions, even in rural areas. For example, its Mission Green program, among many goals, involves local communities in protecting trees around Aurangabad and Pune. While leading to more than 170,000 plantings to date, the initiative has improved green cover in these regions and is creating sustainable livelihoods through smart farming practices.

STL demonstrates that incremental changes in day-to-day operations and targeted solutions, rather than just huge investments in renewable energy, can greatly help global tech companies and even MSMEs deliver the environmental dividends we all seek while ensuring the sustainability of the net zero vision.
Some companies create their own methods to track emissions and other environmental factors. It’s a natural extension of how most companies start out, by measuring and collecting their own carbon data. Companies that want to leverage this skill to gain a strategic advantage should consider investing in a robust, bespoke solution that aligns with global reporting frameworks. The carbon footprint of the company’s operations is huge. As the magnitude of their power consumption is increasingly recognized, data centers in particular are coming under increasing scrutiny. Corporate technology leaders will increasingly have to consider sustainability when making decisions, and they could become role models for other functions within the company.

As they aptly put it, “like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries”.

(Author – Akanksha Sharma, Global Head of ESG)