Cognizant on Tuesday announced that it would achieve net zero emissions by 2030, a new milestone set out as part of the company’s ongoing environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda to become a more sustainable business.

Building on initial success in India, where over a quarter of Cognizant’s energy has come from renewable sources since 2020, the company plans to expand its use of onsite solar energy and enter new power purchase agreements with clean energy developers.

It will also continue as a member of the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, a global initiative bringing together the world’s most influential businesses committed to procuring 100 per cent renewable electricity.

The US-based IT company with large employee presence in India said that its commitment to net zero calls for reducing emissions by 50 per cent from the company’s global operations and supply chain by 2030, and by 90 per cent by 2040. Remaining emissions will be negated with carbon offsets, says a company press release.

Battling climate change

“Climate change is widespread, rapid and intensifying. As a global company, we take seriously our responsibility to leverage our expertise and resources to help address climate change,” said Brian Humphries, CEO, Cognizant. “We will also extend our expertise in cloud, IoT and AI to help our Global 2000 clients meet their sustainability goals, reduce their carbon footprints and sharpen their competitiveness,” he added.

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“We designed Cognizant’s net zero roadmap to marshal the global resources of a Fortune 200 technology services company to help accelerate the world’s movement to a low-carbon economy,” said Sophia Mendelsohn, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of ESG at Cognizant. “Through our goal, we will strengthen the demand for renewable energy and energy efficient technology.”

Cognizant is developing a science-based emissions reduction target that is aligned with the need to keep global average temperature increases to 1.5°C, and will submit this target for third-party validation with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

New investments

Over the lifetime of the goal, Cognizant will be investing in new energy efficient equipment and technologies across its owned offices and data centres throughout the world. In 2019 and 2020, Cognizant improved energy efficiency across several offices in India, replacing outdated conventional power supply systems with modular systems, upgrading conventional lighting with energy efficient LED fittings, and retrofitting cooling systems.

In addition to accelerating its own net zero agenda, Cognizant is developing and deploying solutions enabling its global client base to double down on reducing their own carbon footprints, reducing waste, and sustainable product development by leveraging technology advancements in AI, data and analytics, cloud and IoT.

“Examples include transitioning energy-intensive data centres 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,” the release said.