Sustainability can help companies become more profitable: Accenture CEO

Building a sustainable business can help enterprises become more profitable and successful, and provides an opportunity for companies to differentiate themselves from others, Accenture CEO Julie Sweet said on Friday.

Speaking at the 29th Nasscom Technology and Leadership Forum, Sweet said while the pandemic has impacted lives and businesses globally, people have continued to connect and engage deeply with each other.

“Our prediction is that every business will be a sustainable business…we believe that being a sustainable business makes you actually more profitable and more successful,” she said.

She cited a research that said companies that have combined sustainability into their business strategy are 2.5 more successful than those who have not.

Sweet said sustainability includes areas like re-skilling people, becoming more energy efficient and making business more agile, and these efficiencies can help in increasing productivity that eventually impacts costs.

“Sustainable business is one where you are constantly reskilling employees and keep your organisation more agile and have the ability to adjust,” she noted.

She added that the company invests a billion dollars a year and millions of training hours, and this is part of its commitment to sustainability.

“And so we really believe that every business will become a sustainable business and the opportunity as a company is to differentiate to get there first and be more successful. And that financial performance comes because employees care about it, and customers care about it, and there’s an effect on the bottom line,” she explained.

Sweet spoke of sustainability initiatives undertaken by Accenture across areas like climate change and recycling waste.

“We’re going to, by 2025….net carbon emissions will be zero, 100 per cent recycling of our waste and a significant reduction in our water usage. In India, we’re already recycling our water, 75 per cent recycling of our waste.

“We are making huge progress and using renewables in our centres and we know that not only do our clients care about it, but we are attracting great people who want to be a part of a company that has these kinds of values,” she said.

In October last year, Accenture had announced its commitment to sustainability, including achieving net-zero emissions by 2025.

During another session, Cyient President and Chief Operating Officer Karthikeyan Natarajan said carbon neutrality by the mid-21st century is very much essential and technology has a significant role to play in creating sustainable initiatives.

“Corporates have a responsibility in taking ownership of their carbon footprint. Companies that understand the triple bottom line of social, environment and financial and impact of greenhouse gas emissions have enough reason to work towards carbon neutrality,” he added.

He pointed out that the company is working towards helping clients with design for circularity; and environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) consulting areas to improve their contribution towards creating a decarbonised planet.

“Decisions that businesses like us make will determine the course of where we are by 2040,” he added.



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