Tech Mahindra Leads Corporate India on ESG Performance

The only Indian company with a Double A score for transparency on climate change and water security, Tech Mahindra is leading the charge, says CSO Chandna

When it comes to corporate ESG transparency, 2023 proved a record year.

According to CDP, disclosure grew by 24% last year with the non-profit scoring 21,000 companies on their environmental disclosures.

This marks a tripling of the number of companies disclosing against all environmental issues, and comes as a “welcome trajectory”, according to CEO Sherry Madera.

“It is only by laying the groundwork of disclosure that companies can show they take seriously the vital part they play in safeguarding the future.”

Widely considered the gold standard of corporate environmental transparency, CDP’s annual environmental disclosure and scoring process assesses companies, allocating a score of A to D based on the disclosure, awareness and management of environmental risks and demonstration of best practices – including setting ambitious and meaningful targets.

As well as more companies disclosing, 2023 saw a rise of 14% in the number of companies awarded an A grade – totalling 400 companies.

CDP describes A-Listers as companies that “disclose actionable, high-quality environmental data” – those that offer the most accurate picture of their environmental impacts and are therefore best-equipped to take climate and nature-positive actions to mitigate them.

CDP CEO Sherry Madera.

Tech Mahindra Leads India on ESG Efforts

Among the 400 companies on the A List, digital transformation and consulting giant Tech Mahindra was the only company in India to bag a Double A score – on climate change and water security.

According to CDP’s Madera, earning a place on the A List is about more than the score – it’s an “indication of high quality, complete data that equips companies with a holistic view of their environmental impact, serves as a baseline for transition plans and – crucially – enables them to follow through on their ambitions.”

No stranger to the A List, with inclusion spanning multiple years and categories, Tech Mahindra CSO Sandeep Chandna says such recognition “reflects our unwavering dedication to addressing critical global challenges”.

“Our industry-specific focus lies in combating climate change and ensuring water security, both urgent imperatives amid escalating threats to ecosystems, communities, and economies globally," says Sandeep, who is a regular speaker at Sustainability LIVE.

“We are taking steps to reduce our environmental impact by implementing sustainable practices, reducing carbon emissions, conserving water, and investing in renewable energy. Our commitment, reflected in these efforts, is a stride towards a sustainable future, symbolising innovation, collaboration, and a resilient planet for future generations."

A US$6.5 billion organisation with more than 146,000 professionals across 90 countries, and over 1250 global customers, this is not the first time Tech Mahindra has led in sustainability among Indian peers.

The IT major is the first Indian company in the world to have been awarded the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Terra Carta Seal, which recognises global companies that are actively leading the charge to create a climate and nature-positive future.

And the IT major ranked among the top 1% of organisations in the global IT services segment in the S&P Global Sustainability Yearbook 2023.

All of these recognitions reflect Tech Mahindra’s ongoing commitment to drive its sustainability agenda across ESG principles through focused initiatives – from improved processes and policies, audits and assessments, to social engagements, the net zero transition, water stewardship projects and adoption of circular economy practices.

“Sustainability is in the very core of our organisation, with our strategy, culture, and future, all aligned towards ensuring a sustainable organisation,” says Sandeep. “Our more than a decade-long commitment towards ESG has helped us understand and develop policies that integrate sustainability and business profitability.”

Tech Mahindra – Sustainability Commitments and Achievements

Headquartered in Pune, Tech Mahindra has established a decarbonisation roadmap to ensure net-zero by 2035 – and as part of this is increasing renewable energy sources to 90% by 2030.

In FY23, it reduced its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 40% – and has made significant progress.

Among achievements, securing the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for some of its campuses, implementing an internal carbon pricing strategy, and emphasising green procurement.

What’s more, the company deployed over 5,600 water restrictors and sensors to conserve water, resulting in a 30% reduction in water consumption, with 200,024.3 kilolitres of water recycled in FY23.

As well as reducing its own emissions, Tech Mahindra is helping accelerate customer journeys towards a more sustainable business too – leveraging its end-to-end ESG offerings including consulting and advisory services along with leading digital solutions across the value chain. THe company offers its strategic IT-based solutions or businesses to manage their ESG KPIs, corporate sustainability framework, and conduct climate risk assessment.

Joining the CDP A List

Tech Mahindra is one of just 400 companies to achieve an A List ranking on CDP’s 2023 assessment.

While there was a 14% rise in A Listers on the year before, most companies are still not reporting at the level required for tracking progress, achieving targets and avoiding greenwashing, CDP reports.

Nor are enough companies disclosing against all three questionnaires – Climate Change, Forests and Water Security.

Just 2,300 companies did so, and of these, only 10 achieved A status in all three – including Danone, Kering, L’Oreal and Philip Morris International.

Just 10 Companies Achieved A-List Scoring in all Three Categories

CDP argues that environmental issues are interconnected and so must be tackled together.

“Earning a place on the A List is about more than the score,” says CDP's Madera.

“It’s an indication of high quality and comprehensive data that equips companies with a holistic view of their environmental impact, serves as a baseline for transition plans and – crucially, enables them to follow through on their state ambitions.”

CDP Continuously Raising the Bar

CDP regularly raises the bar for what qualifies as environmental leadership in line with emerging science, feedback from stakeholders and market needs for greater environmental transparency.

Just because a company achieves an A, they are by no means at the end of their environmental journey.

For example, in 2023, leading Climate Change companies needed to provide 100% verification of their Scope 1 and 2 emissions with no significant relevant exclusions – this requirement was 70% in 2022.

While leading Forests companies needed to report traceability of their entire commodity supply chain including sourcing origins of forest-risk countries, without any significant exclusions.

“We must see corporate ambition ramp up on climate and nature-positive action. This has never been more crucial,” says Madera.

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