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Have undertaken ambitious emission reduction targets across all scopes: Bose Varghese of Infosys

Have undertaken ambitious emission reduction targets across all scopes: Bose Varghese of Infosys

Infosys voluntarily committed to carbon neutrality in 2011, long before the birth of the Paris Agreement, and turned carbon neutral in FY2020.

Since 2008, Infosys has reduced Scope 1 and 2 emissions by over 70 per cent. Since 2008, Infosys has reduced Scope 1 and 2 emissions by over 70 per cent.

As large, listed companies and their value chains contribute to the national and global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the companies have a big role to play in taking the lead and setting the pace of climate action, according to Bose Varghese, Head - Green Initiatives, Infosys.

"Their role is not limited to cutting emissions within their own business operation and value chains; they can create tools, models, and solutions that the rest of the country and the wider world can adopt in fighting climate change. They can support innovation and leverage technology to facilitate and scale up climate action," Varghese told Business Today.

The corporate sector, especially the top listed companies, can play a leading role in both these spaces by committing (and investing in renweable energy) to use more renewable power in their business operations and supporting afforestation and forest conservation. For instance, Infosys voluntarily committed to carbon neutrality in 2011, long before the birth of the Paris Agreement. The company turned carbon neutral in FY2020, 30 years ahead of the Paris Agreement aligned timeline.

"We designed our carbon neutral program around three pillars: energy efficiency to reduce emissions, use of renewables to avoid emissions, and carbon offsetting to address emissions that cannot be removed," explains Varghese.

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Since 2008, the company has reduced Scope 1 and 2 emissions by over 70 per cent, and increased the share of renewable energy to nearly 47 per cent. Through a successful energy efficiency drive, the company claims to have reduced its per-capita electricity demand by more than 55 per cent between 2008 and 2020. Infosys has also invested in 60 MW of solar power capacity. In addition, it has implemented community-based carbon offset projects in rural villages by providing sustainable cooking solutions to replace traditional firewood cooking.

"Although we have been carbon neutral since FY2020, we are not stopping there. We are committed to continue to be carbon neutral going forward. We have also undertaken more ambitious emission reduction targets across all scopes of emissions under Infosys ESG Vision 2030," adds Varghese. Being a carbon-neutral company, the carbon load from Infosys' operations in India as well as outside India is zero.

Infosys has identified three key material topics or focus areas under the environment through a detailed materiality assessment. These are energy/emissions, water, and waste. For each of these topics, Infosys has set goals and built programs around them. For instance, energy and emissions are treated as the two sides of the same coin. Traditional electricity available in the grid is mostly thermal power and, therefore, there is certain CO2 emission associated with grid power. Infosys consumes large quantities of power to run its office spaces, totalling over 50 million square feet. Therefore, the company has energy efficiency program to reduce electricity demand.

"This is achieved by building highly efficient and smart new buildings and deep green retrofitting of older buildings. Since 2008, our energy efficiency program helped us reduce our per capita electricity consumption by more than 55 per cent. We are committed to complete transition to renewables," says Varghese.

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Infosys is the first signatory to the global RE100 campaign, and as of last year, over 47 per cent of its electricity came from renewables. On the water sustainability font, Infosys has reduced freshwater demand through water efficiency measures and preventing losses, enhancing freshwater supply through use of harvested rainwater, 100 per cent recycling of used water, and campus-wide rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharging, reducing per capita water demand by over 63 per cent since 2008.

"Although we are not a waste-intensive industry, all wastes are managed in accordance with applicable regulations and follows state-of-the-practice procedures. We follow the 3R strategy -- reduce, reuse, recycle -- to manage wastes," says Varghese.

He says Infosys campuses are equipped with biogas units to process the food waste. The biogas thus generated is used to replace LPG in its food courts for cooking. Besides, the e-waste is recycled through authorised recyclers who are audited periodically to ensure strict compliance. "We are committed to reduce plastics waste and to completely avoid single-use plastics. We reduced single use plastics by over 90 per cent and reduced plastics waste by over 40 per cent since the launch of the program in 2018." The company is also committed to zero-waste-to-landfill.

However, a big challenge in sustainability is that it is not isolated and contained within a company's premises. Many areas of action require multiple stakeholders to act. Besides, any goal achieved today will be enhanced and built upon or replaced with a more relevant goal.

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Published on: Nov 21, 2021, 5:28 PM IST
Posted by: Vinay Rai, Nov 21, 2021, 5:02 PM IST