Does being sustainable and environmentally responsible spell less profitability? Should companies choose between sustainability and and profitability?

Julie Sweet, Chief Executive Officer of technology and consulting solutions firm Accenture, argues that there is no need to choose one of the two. “Being a sustainable business makes you more profitable and successful,” she said.

Talking on ‘Reimagining the Future: Leading Change with Responsible Business’ at Nasscom’s Technology and Leadership Forum (NTLF-2021) on Friday, she said companies that combined sustainability with their business plans and strategies were found to be 2.5 times more successful than those who had not.

“We believe that every business will become sustainable. Sustainable businesses are more efficient from energy perspective as well,” she said.

Stating that reskilling of employees held the key, she said organisations should have the ability to connect with educational institutions to make sure kids get right skills, she said.

It was important for Chief Executive Officers to articulate well on the totality of what they were doing. “It is important to integrate things at the CEO level and communicate the strategy well with the employees and other stakeholders,” she said.

Zero net emissions

On its part, Julie Sweet said, Accenture has decided to achieve net zero emissions by the year 2025. “We will reuse or recycle all our e-waste and ensure reduction in water usage,” she said.

“We see commitment from companies to make their businesses sustainable and responsible. Our prediction is that every business will become sustainable and responsible. There is a business case and there is a societal case (in becoming sustainable),” she said.

Relating the work that Accenture was doing with a power utility that is trying to provide power to remote areas, she said giving people in remote areas access to power would have a positive impact on fossil fuels.