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How Tech Companies Can Go Surgical About Their Net-Zero Ambitions

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How Tech Companies Can Go Surgical About Their Net-Zero Ambitions

Businesses worldwide have reacted with determination. As a result, the pledge to reach net-zero by 2050 has risen from only 16 percent in 2019 to over 70% of the world economy now.

How tech companies can go surgical about their net-zero ambitions
How tech companies can go surgical about their net-zero ambitions

This year's blazing heat and incredibly high surface temperatures are reminders that climate change is a harsh reality. To avert the consequences of global climate shifts, the world must cut CO2 emissions in half by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050.

Businesses worldwide have reacted with determination. As a result, the pledge to reach net-zero by 2050 has risen from only 16 percent in 2019 to over 70% of the world economy now. With their broad reach, social cohesion, and easy access to innovation and talent, technology businesses are positioned to address this dilemma. According to Bloomberg, the largest tech corporations in the US are exhibiting unprecedented action toward climate change. A sizable number of the technology company’s across the world are following suit. Telecom and Tech companies have a huge role to play in this journey. They can lead the change and show the way for emission cuts across the value chain by enhancing efficiency in their company’s’ operations and connections with suppliers. Here’s how:

1. Don’t shy away from climate change investments - It is heartening to see investment in positive climate action gaining traction among companies across the globe. At a cost of less than Euro 600 per metric tonne of CO2 equivalent, energy efficiency initiatives can contribute to ~40% of the total global greenhouse gas reduction potential. It's a very appealing investment that pays for itself over time, with the extra benefit of lowering energy costs and enhancing the economy's energy production. Corporates should invest in green initiatives that reduce emissions for long-term gains. 

2. Integrate Sustainable Sourcing - The Indian government aspires to promote positive impacts and push activities toward sustainable development, including the fulfillment of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through various policies and regulations.  For corporates, the first step is to educate the leadership team and the rest of the staff. Steps like multi-stakeholder efforts with a local focus, to improve influence. robust supply chains, hazard identification are good starting points. Additionally, businesses must make significant functional changes, such as ensuring that sustainability is well integrated into all procurement processes, transitioning from broad auditing programmes to more intelligent auditing programmes, and implementing programmes that encourage suppliers to act in a more sustainable manner.

3. Help communities adapt to a low carbon lifestyle - Environmental concerns originating from the desire of development have posed serious challenges to civilization in the last century, thanks to fast economic growth. Natural resource depletion, worsening of environmental quality, and climate change are all serious global concerns to which everyone should pay attention. Overall, circular economy approaches can provide more value. Companies can, for example, participate in the worldwide plastic recycling industry. Businesses can utilise their marketing clout to push consumer behaviour toward a more sustainable, low-consumption path. 

4. Prioritise Net-Zero - Net Zero targets have become the focus of India’s top climate change think-tanks. Net-zero, rather than being the fanciful vision of a distant future, is a necessity central to the survival of the human race. Instead of approaching the issue with a broadsword, it is important to demonstrate changes in daily operations. Product leasing, sharing, swapping, repurposing, and servicing must all be part of the business model. Technological advancements will be necessary for the development of such business models, but fundamental changes in consumer culture will be required to keep them alive. The majority of prior corporate sustainability efforts were customer-driven, while net-zero emissions targets need corporations to take a consumer-driven approach to proactively influence consumer culture. Companies must intentionally develop and expand their net-zero customer base.

“As a Zero Waste to Landfill (ZWL) manufacturer, STL pursues a cradle-to-cradle approach to repurposing industrial byproducts into the value chain”
As one of the world's leading digital networking companies, STL, has been practicing all of the above relentlessly. Since its inception, the company has included sustainability into its business approach. In a physically diverse and climatically demanding region, its low-carbon strategy has preserved shareholder interests while simultaneously delivering a healing touch to the subcontinent's teeming millions. Environmental targets such as zero waste to landfills, water positively, sustainable sourcing, and net-zero emissions by 2030 are at the heart of STL's reaction to the threat of climate change. To enable the outcomes, the company conducted a complete carbon footprint study that covered 100% of its operations in India and would be expanded to global operations in the coming year. As a result, STL has launched a number of projects that go beyond simply switching to renewable energy. 

As a Zero Waste to Landfill (ZWL) manufacturer, STL pursues a circular economy approach focused on repurposing industrial byproducts into the value chain. It recycled, reused, and co-processed 97% of the waste generated, optimizing the emission profile of its manufacturing operations and as well as avoiding harmful methane emissions from landfills. STL's commitment to net-zero goes beyond its organizational boundaries as the company is resolved to help communities adapt to the low-carbon way of life. It has undertaken massive afforestation drives and promoted smart agricultural practices to offset carbon emissions even in rural areas. For instance, its Mission Green program, among many objectives, involves the local communities in the protection of trees around Aurangabad and Pune. While leading to over 170,000+ plantations to date, the initiative has improved the green cover in these regions and is creating sustainable livelihoods through smart agricultural practices. 

STL demonstrates that incremental changes in daily operations and targeted solutions, rather than only huge investments in renewables can go a long way in helping global tech companies and even MSMEs deliver the environmental dividends that we all seek while ensuring the sustainability of the net-zero vision.
Some businesses create their own methods to track emissions and other environmental factors. This is a natural extension of how most businesses begin, by measuring and collating their own carbon data. Companies who want to leverage this skill for strategic advantage should consider investing in a robust, tailored solution that aligns with global reporting frameworks. The carbon footprint of enterprise operations is enormous. As the scale of their energy usage has become more widely recognised, data centers, in particular, have come under growing scrutiny. Enterprise technology leaders will increasingly need to consider sustainability when making decisions, and they may become role models for other functions inside the company. 

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

(Author- Akanksha Sharma, Global ESG Head)

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