Businesses view sustainability as an opportunity to create more products and services, says Infosys

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Businesses view sustainability as an opportunity to create more products and services, says Infosys

Greentech Lead India: Sustainability is not optional but
a business imperative, according to Infosys. The IT major collaborates with clients
and governments to develop sustainable solutions and governance frameworks. The
company looks at sustainable practices as an opportunity to apply their core
strengths for social good, and innovate to create winning solutions.

Rohan Parikh, head of Green Initiatives and
Infrastructure, Infosys, recently interacted with Greentech Lead at length on
Infosys’ sustainability initiatives. Our exchange follows:

What are the new green initiatives of Infosys?

At Infosys, we started focusing on our sustainability
journey in January 2008 and have seen significant results till date in the
areas of water and energy savings, reduction of carbon emissions and
encouraging employees to be more conscious of the environment.

We believe in consuming natural resources responsibly to
protect the environment. We have made a voluntary commitment to become carbon
neutral across our India operations by the end of 2017. Our efforts towards
reducing our ecological footprint with sustainable practices, has already led
to a carbon footprint reduction of 26% over the last four years:

Energy Conservation: Over the last four years, we have managed
to reduce the per capita electricity consumption by 32.67%, which is a saving
of 290 million units of electricity or saving $32 million in electricity bills.

Carbon Emissions: Reduction in carbon emissions in the
last four years was to the tune of 293,454 metric tons of CO2e. The GHG
emissions in fiscal 2012is 3,24,956 metric tons

Water Efficiency: We have reduced our per capita water
consumption by 22.87% over the last four years. We sequester more fresh water
into the ground than we consume through our rain water harvesting initiatives.

Preserving and promoting bio-diversity: We aim to plant one
new tree for every new employee.  We have
planted 200,000 trees over the last four years.

Green Power: During 2011-2012, 20% of the total electricity
consumption came from renewable sources.

Waste management: We have set up a biogas plant in our
Mysore campus to recycle food waste. We are also in the process of setting up
similar units across our other campuses.

Green Infrastructure: Infosys has constructed the first
commercial radiant-cooling building in India at its Hyderabad campus, which is 66%
more efficient than any other building at Infosys. All other buildings
constructed post 2008 have been registered for LEED certification; over 1
million square feet of our built up space across India is LEED Platinum


The sustainability team works closely with partners and
clients to co-create solutions that improve the quality of life, protect the
environment and transform business. Some of the solutions developed by this
group to lower carbon footprint, include:

Plug Load Management Solution – which helps to measure
energy consumption of plug-in devices

Intelligent Server Room Monitoring Solution – a
cost-effective environmental monitoring solution for real-time monitoring of
key environmental parameters in enterprise server rooms

Enterprise Digitization Initiative — This helped Infosys
move to a paper-less by digitizing physical documentation

Working jointly with a U.K. based office and IT solutions
provider, Infosys developed a private cloud with two fully resilient T3 super
hubs to deliver the platform on a modern infrastructure with 100%
virtualization; this helped to reduce the server count by close to 1,400
servers, lowering their carbon emission count

Infosys has also developed an Enterprise Sustainability
Reporting solution to provide both a high level view to meet external reporting
requirements and a detailed view to manage data and activity at the lowest


How do you ensure that you are getting support from
employees to achieve green targets?

Infosys has over 1, 50,000 employees globally from across
89 nationalities and therefore, we have the opportunity to influence a large
stakeholders community. We invest time and effort in educating our employees,
instilling a mindset of environmental awareness to create a sustainable
environment. Any new employee joining Infosys is briefed and trained about the
energy efficient practices at Infosys. The Green Initiatives team also works
with the existing employees to try to influence their consumption patterns
(E.g. switching off the computers when not in use, turning off the lights) and
help in reducing our environmental footprint. We also provide employees an
opportunity to calculate the carbon footprint from their travel and printing,
which is published on our intranet. Through this we hope to help them make
informed decisions about their consumption patterns.


We encourage public transport and employ buses for our
employees to commute to work. Long distance travel is reduced by the use of
video conferencing facilities wherever possible.         


What are your achievements in carbon emissions? What were
the main tools to achieve your targets?

In 2008, we made a commitment to become carbon neutral by
the end of 2017. Since then, we have reduced our carbon footprint by 26%. A
number of initiatives have helped us surpass our yearly goals to achieve these

We are pioneers in adopting mass transport options for
the daily commute of the employees

The use of video and audio conferencing facilities have
reduced the travel requirements of employees

All our developments centers have Eco-Clubs working on
environmental issues on campus and within their communities

We are taking emerging technologies out of the lab and
scaling them in our buildings to reduce energy consumption across our campuses.
We recently constructed India’s first commercial radiant-cooling building at
our Pocharam campus in Hyderabad, which is 66% more efficient than any other
building at Infosys.


How are you progressing on your carbon emission goals?

We have committed to becoming carbon neutral by the end
of 2017.For FY 2013, Infosys has pledged to reduce our per capita carbon
intensity by 7% compared to FY12.


Are Indian corporates becoming more aggressive about
sustainable projects?

With the internet making information available and easily
accessible to everyone, the level of transparency is increasing and the
end-consumer is becoming more aware of his/her rights and duties. This in turn
puts pressure on governments across the world to introduce regulations for
companies to become environmentally conscious.


Businesses are also working to stay ahead of the curve by
adopting sustainability as an opportunity to create more products and services.
In today’s business environment, an organisation has an extended set of stakeholders
to cater to; sustainable practices give enterprises a chance to give back to
the society. Also, businesses must drive this from the forefront, taking
leadership in showing the way forward for others to follow.  Companies must continue to drive sustainability,
not just in their own operations but also in their interactions with local


What are the main responses from your clients / partners
towards Infosys’ green plans?

We have always adhered to sustainable practices in our daily
operations and are also helping clients conduct their business in a sustainable
manner. As part of our new strategy, we have identified sustainability as a key
business focus area and are developing sustainable solutions to help our
clients reduce their carbon footprint – combining sustainability with engineering
to develop green products and services.

We also work with partners and collaborate with clients
to bring integrated responses to sustainability challenges. Our clients also
have been very supportive of our initiatives and continue to partner with us in
our goal of making the world a better place.

Working from home and video conferencing are two
important ways to become green. What are your plans on this?

As discussed earlier, video and audio conferencing play a
significant role in reducing employee travel, thereby contributing to debasing
our carbon footprint. The use of video and audio conferencing facilities has increased
steadily by around 12% and 36% respectively from the previous year, indirectly
cutting down the travel requirements and hence the carbon footprint.


Green buildings are adopted by several corporate in
India. What are your new plans?

Our new buildings currently consume 90 KWh of electricity
per square meter per annum making them one of the most efficient IT buildings
in the world. Considering that we add 1 to 2 million square feet of additional
floor space each year, we have the opportunity to keep innovating and pushing
new ideas and technologies.  We hope to
redefine the building efficiency benchmarks globally.


What is the main aim behind green – CSR or cost

Through our journey to become carbon neutral, we realized
that going green does not involve an extra cost. In fact, it helps one save
more money in the long run. The main aim for corporates going green was, for
the longest time, CSR. However, in today’s dynamic environment, increased
consumer awareness has provoked corporates to think and stay ahead of the curve
by implementing initiatives to protect the environment. Today, sustainability
is more about being a responsible corporate citizen first, over all other

Rajani Baburajan

[email protected]


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