The UN climate change conference 2021 is looked upon as a defining moment in the history of climate change. Amidst the rising number of deaths due to natural disasters like flash floods and forest fires, both developed and developing countries came together to discuss and outline their climate action plan in Glasgow. The goal is to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius (if not 1.5 degrees) compared to pre-industrial levels. However, the tall claims and ambitious plans laid out by world leaders have failed to allay the fears of the environmentalists. The scientific community has warned that we might not achieve the 2-degree Celsius target even if countries successfully execute their climate action plans. The battle for saving the planet needs to be fought on multiple fronts, and business organizations play an essential role. Unsurprisingly, global organizations are busy incorporating sustainability into their businesses and organizational strategy.
Sustainability plans and strategies are vital, but sustainability must go beyond just a strategy or way of doing business. It must become a lifestyle made of several conscious, sustainable decisions our clients, partners, vendors, and even our employees take every day. Our sustainability journey has already begun with Nagarrians toiling to save the planet. Aligning with the UN sustainable development goal number ten —making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable, we collaborate with local authorities to facilitate sustainable development in our cities. At the same time, we are also working towards making Nagarro a green company with a minimal carbon footprint.
Making our cities more sustainable
Our team in Gurgaon has constantly engaged with the local authorities over the past few years on air pollution, sustainable mobility, and protecting the green cover. In 2018, the state government proposed a 20-crore revamp for the 2.2 km long Anath road next to our office. The development authorities proposed a 6-lane highway and planned to cut down ~300 fully grown trees that provide shade and lower pollution - without any research on the characteristics and needs of the road users. Nagarrians and other private stakeholders launched a campaign against the proposed redevelopment and saved the trees. Given that an average grown-up tree can absorb 21 kgs of carbon emissions a year, the campaign cut down the carbon emissions in the city by 6300 kgs a year. We went a step further and collaborated with local agencies and other private organizations to draw a green and pedestrian-friendly design for the 2.5 km long stretch. The project is currently in the planning stage and will begin soon. We also intend to plant nearly 2000 additional native species trees along the same stretch.
Sustainable mobility is a cause we also care about deeply. We have taken up several projects to further the cause, such as participating in Car Free days, where selected roads are closed for traffic on Sunday mornings. This doesn't just cut down the vehicular emissions but also decongests the streets, making them NMT (non-motorized transport) friendly. Gurgaon is the tenth most polluted city in the world. To help the city in its fight against air pollution, we sponsored several air quality monitors. In 2020, Nagarro created the Scout application that allows users to report air pollution sources via WhatsApp, automatically flagging them to the appropriate pollution control authorities. We are always ready to support NGOs or researchers, or governments in this area.
Sustainability lessons for the next-gen
'Children are one-third of our population and all of our future'. We realize how essential it is to educate the children about the importance of sustainable living and its role in saving the planet. We are regularly engaging the children of our colleagues through different sustainability initiatives. In one such project, the Nagarro Romania team collaborated with two NGOs, Food Waste Combat Cluj, and Clujul Sustenabil, to create a manual titled 'respect for resources' for middle school students. It is Romania's first sustainability education textbook that is used for teaching in schools in 2021. In addition to the interdisciplinary thematic content that aims at a basic literacy in sustainable development and the introduction of notions of sustainability in the Romanian school curriculum, this course aims to stimulate curiosity, critical thinking, and collaboration among students. People can even purchase it as a reading book outside the education system to better understand the effect of our daily choices and the complex environment - economy - society interactions. We are also starting a project named Climate Heroes which has been designed especially for kids and teens between the ages group of 8-18. The kids will undergo a journey of 6 weeks, where they would learn about several interesting topics such as sustainable eating, waste recycling, production of clothes, mobility, climate protection, animal husbandry, and many more.
Workspaces – Charity begins at work
Within Nagarro, our efforts for a sustainable living stretch across geographies and sectors. We track our water consumption in all our offices. We recently restored a water body in Palwal, India, with the help of a well-known environmentalist.
We triage waste at all our offices and dispose of it according to the local municipal guidelines. For e-waste, we work with vendors to reduce waste. Our printer cartridges, for instance, are sent to the manufacturers for recycling. Being a technology company, we need to update our computers constantly. To manage the old laptops, we either return the hardware to the manufacturer or donate it to charitable organizations. In Austria, we work with the social and green IT organization AFB, which employs people with disabilities to recondition the hardware and re-market the devices.
Clubbing together employee engagement and sustainability initiatives, offices in all geographies hold regular workshops open to employees' families. Our colleagues in Romania recently held a seminar on reducing food wastage. It offered tips and tricks on cooking the correct portion sizes, reducing food wastage, and innovative ideas to use leftovers. In water-scarce regions, we collect rainwater and use it to replenish the water table and use recycled wastewater for horticultural and other purposes. We provide glass bottles to all employees across countries to cut down the use of plastics. Recently, we have converted a part of our office cab fleet to electric vehicles and have set up electric charging stations on our campuses. Nagarro is an advocate of non-motorized transport and has worked on several campaigns promoting cycling and walking.
Where do we go from here?
Global firm Arabesque S-ray did our first ESG rating in 2020. The ESG report states, "Nagarro shows strong performance through commitments to achieve an efficient and sustainable use of resources within business processes and buildings." The ESG report reflects our commitment to the cause of sustainability. Our efforts were sincere, we did well, but we can do better. To that end, we plan to start tracking and reporting company-wide energy consumption starting 2022. We are currently in the process of defining the procedures and protocols required for a reporting framework. Simultaneously, we are moving towards green office spaces. Our building in Cluj, Romania, is one of Romania's most environmentally friendly buildings. It has been rated outstanding according to the BREEAM methodology. Similarly, a large under-construction building in Gurugram is designed to LEED Platinum guidelines.
But, as we said before, the battle to save the planet needs to be fought on multiple frontlines, and we can not do it alone. We invite you to take that first step towards sustainable living so that we can save the planet for current and future generations.