Recently, Cognizant set out a new milestone for its global business: we committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2030, prioritizing clean energy sourcing and energy efficiency through a variety of measures. This commitment calls for reducing emissions by 50 percent from our global operations and supply chain by 2030, and by 90 percent by 2040. The remaining emissions will be negated with carbon offsets.
Extending sustainability capabilities
In addition to accelerating our net-zero agenda, Cognizant is developing and deploying solutions enabling our clients to double down on reducing their carbon footprints, reducing waste, and sustainable product development by leveraging technology advancements in AI, data and analytics, cloud and IoT.
Among other things, initiatives include transitioning energy-intensive data centers to public cloud use; designing IoT-enabled smart buildings that manage electricity, heating, cooling and water consumption more efficiently to reduce power needs; and using IoT and cloud solutions in transportation and supply chain applications for real-time vessel emissions monitoring to improve shipping route planning and increase fuel efficiency.
Report reveals European advantage
To better understand the dynamics behind our clients’ sustainability initiatives, Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work surveyed 1,000 C-suite and VP-level business leaders across North America and Europe. The results are published in the Green Rush report. The study confirms that European companies are ahead of their US counterparts in designing and implementing technology initiatives that can help them meet a wave of impending climate legislation – leading in three critical areas:
- Taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. European companies are embracing greenhouse gas projects at a 20% greater clip. They are also ahead in the switch in the energy mix from fossil fuels (18%) to renewable energy (15%). Further, EU continues to ramp up regulations to enforce environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) reporting.
- Instrumenting spaces into smart (healthy) spaces. Europe leads in implementing smart sensors for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning in offices and factories (15% difference). Real-time sensors anchored on a data platform with effective dashboarding and AI decision-support solutions can track and control many office environmental and air quality measures.
- Laying the groundwork for circularity. More European companies are seeking to manufacture sustainably than their US peers. Forward-looking companies are preparing by adopting the concept of circular economy in their business models and low-carbon manufacturing techniques across operations. Among other things, the world’s first large-scale fossil-free steel plant is scheduled to open in 2024 in the North of Sweden
Green leadership would get us further
Despite being ahead in some critical areas, the sustainability journey is far from straightforward to any company. What are the biggest challenges inhibiting progress? Uncertainty of ROI is the no. 1 concern (74%) but our Green Rush study also reveals a lack of leadership:
66% of respondents cited a lack of senior executive commitment as a major hindrance. Without their buy-in on the importance of sustainable business, the rest of the organization won’t follow. Equally important is a lack of strategic clarity around sustainability efforts (69%). Without focus from leadership, sustainability programs will lack clear direction on outcomes or progress plans.
To summarize, while technological advancements will play an integral role in making businesses more environmentally friendly, shifting mindsets and behaviors will be just as important. And the key to this will be the realization among decision-makers that green business is good business, both communally and commercially. As Cognizant now strengthens its sustainability capabilities, we hope to accompany you on this journey.
Learn more about Cognizant’s sustainability initiatives on cognizant.com, or in our 2020 ESG report. You can also find the full Green Rush report here.