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Indian IT giants cut carbon emissions by 85% as pandemic stops travel

Spurred by pandemic-related challenges, India’s IT industry has slashed travel costs and carbon emissions through the use of the latest technology

India’s five biggest IT services companies have slashed their total carbon footprint and travel costs as the global pandemic accelerates the use of green technologies.

Spurred by the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, Indian companies have sped up their shift to more environmentally friendly operations.

A study by India-based company UnearthInsight, found that Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, HCL Technologies, Wipro and Tech Mahindra spent $370m on travel in the last financial year, 75% less that the $2.9bn spent in the previous year.

According to the findings, during this period the Indian IT services industry has cut its carbon emissions by 85%, from two million tonne to 0.3 million tonne. The Indian IT sector traditionally relies on large volumes of domestic and international travel. Over 2,000 Indian technology companies were surveyed.

While the travel limitations brought by the pandemic have contributed significantly to reductions in costs and carbon emissions the use of digital platforms have also reduced the need to travel. The Indian IT services community were already working towards reducing travel needs and using electric vehicles before the pandemic. Gaurav Vasu, CEO at UnearthInsight, said carbon reductions in the industry are sustainable.

“The outsourcing Industry was on track for the adoption of hybrid working models, electric mobility even before Covid however the pandemic and quick adoption of digital tools/technology has dramatically changed the scenario and today carbon emission reduction looks sustainable over a longer period of time,” he said.

“Covid-19 disruption also made the largest industry players move from pilot to large-scale deployment of technologies like digital campus hiring platforms which helped significantly reduce carbon emission earlier generated by travel to over one thousand campuses across the country,” UnearthInsight said.

End-to-end

UnearthInsight said up to 75,000 of new starters in the sector were hired through end-to-end digital platforms of TCS and Infosys alone.

Peter Schumacher, CEO of management consultancy The Value Leadership Group, said green issues are high on the agenda at Indian companies, and that it goes way beyond reducing travel.

“The environmental soundness and good environmental practices is of a very high priority for the Indian companies and that shows up in all their activity, and independent of Covid-19 companies in India have a focus on creating environmentally sound infrastructure,” he said. “Western companies can learn a lot from this,” said Schumacher.

He added that the rivalry and competition within India to create environmental infrastructures means progress is fast. ”Sustainable and environmentally friendly campuses that use solar power and re-use water are being built in place at a pace.”

The focus on environmental and sustainability issues at Indian companies was recently highlighted by TCS, which recently announced an innovation hub in Amsterdam focused on sustainability.

The centre, part of a network of hubs, known as TCS Pace Ports, will bring universities, businesses, startups and government together at its latest innovation hub in Amsterdam to help use digital technology to solve sustainability challenges.

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