Indian businesses’ manoeuvre for sustainability
Indian companies are undergoing a significant transition driven by the growing awareness among consumers and investors about the importance of sustainability. Both, consumers and investors are nowadays more inclined to support companies that show a strong commitment to sustainability.
About 82% of Indian business leaders in a survey conducted by IBM and Morning Consult, have expressed a strong intent to hire professionals with expertise in green and sustainability technologies.
Image Credit: Shutterstock
Preserving the health of the environment while creating long-term value for all parties involved, employees, shareholders, and the community at large- is the ultimate aim of sustainability. Sustainable business practices, on the one hand considerably speed up the country’s industrial and economic progress and on the other, have a significant impact on the environment. Therefore, companies must implement sustainable practices that have minimum impact on the environment and at the same time support the preservation of natural resources for future generations.
In business, sustainability refers to using renewable energy, appropriate waste management, and sustainable development to minimize the carbon footprint of activities/operations, processes, buildings, transportation, etc. The Experts in sustainability help businesses to deliver their goods and services in a manner that promotes sustainability.
Sustainable practices are getting prioritized
Sustainability is becoming increasingly significant to Indian businesses for numerous reasons. One major reason is that there is a growing awareness among consumers and investors about the importance of sustainability. Consumers are becoming more conscious about the impact of their consumption patterns on the environment. People nowadays are more inclined to support companies that show a strong commitment to sustainability.
Then, it is being increasingly acknowledged by companies that sustainable business practices can lead to cost savings and efficiency improvement. Businesses that adopt sustainable practices can cut down on waste, save energy, and reduce resource consumption, which could eventually result in considerable cost savings in the long run.
Furthermore, sustainability helps businesses in the process of risk management and developing resilience. Climate change, water scarcity, and social unrest are some of the systemic risks that can impact business operations. Businesses can reduce these risks and establish more resilient operations by implementing sustainable practices.
Astute businesses nowadays acknowledge that a strategy based on sustainability can significantly impact their lifecycle by expanding and prolonging the growth and maturity phase and delaying the decline phase.
Sustainability in the Indian context
As sustainability becomes more and more crucial to their business operations, Indian companies are undergoing a remarkable transition. Driven by the growing awareness of environmental concerns, businesses are increasingly looking for candidates who are capable of helping them improve their green credentials.
An astounding 82% of Indian business leaders in a survey conducted by IBM and Morning Consult, have expressed a strong intent to hire professionals with expertise in green skills and sustainability technologies. In the survey, the companies stated that they will hire people with green and sustainability tech skills in 2024. (Green skills include technical knowledge, expertise and abilities that enable the effective use of green technologies and processes in professional settings. They draw on a range of knowledge, values, and attitudes to facilitate environmentally sustainable decision-making at work and in life.)
As sustainability becomes more and more of a priority, green skills have become increasingly important across industries including infrastructure development in the defence, banking processes, and education methodology. The emphasis on expertise in sustainability technologies suggests that corporate India is moving fast towards more environmentally friendly practices.
IBM and Morning Consult report, however, reveals a significant skills gap in the industry despite the growing eagerness to embrace sustainability. Nearly 75% of the business leaders expressed confidence in their organization’s plans to invest in IT sustainability training by the end of next year. This suggests that there has been recognition of the need by the businesses in the country, to upskill their current staff so as to meet the demands of a continuously changing green landscape.
The IBM-Morning Consult study covered more than 250 business leaders in India.
Justina Nixon-Saintil, Vice President and Global Chief Impact Officer at IBM, emphasized the urgency of acquiring green skills. Noting the current shortage of AI (Artificial Intelligence) worldwide, she highlighted that among the essential skills needed for the evolving ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) scenario, AI needs to be emphasized more.
IBM’s collaborative ventures in India
IBM, the global tech major, is actively supporting sustainability causes in India. The company has collaborated with The University of Chicago Trust in Delhi for its ‘Sustainability Accelerator’ program. The University of Chicago Trust in Delhi will,
- aggregate water quality information in India;
- build and deploy tools designed to democratize access to water quality information; and
- help improve water resource management.
IBM plans to launch its pilot project in Maharashtra before expanding to the other states. Through collaboration, the tech giant will provide technologies including Watsonx, and an ecosystem of experts. Ensuring that everyone has access to clean water including the vulnerable and under-represented communities, is the primary objective of the project which is part of the sustainability accelerator program. In response to the skills gap, the company is introducing a comprehensive roadmap for sustainability skills courses.
IBM has also devoted itself beyond the corporate domain. Northern India’s farming community receives active support from the company. There the company is promoting regenerative farming practices by bridging the knowledge-action gap with technology and data. Regenerative agriculture prioritizes the climate, water quality, human health, and relationships within and across ecosystems to improve farmer profitability while safeguarding long-term sustainability.
By the end of the year, IBM could possibly impact over 25,000 hectares of land, with over 1,000 farmers already on board. According to Saintil, “India’s agriculture being a global contributor to food security, necessitates forward-thinking solutions for environmental sustainability.”
Indian businesses should prioritize sustainability to ensure a positive impact on the environment, society, and the economy. Prioritizing sustainability can help businesses enhance their ability to handle future difficulties, as well as build long-term value for all stakeholders.