Navigating the Sustainability Transformation: Key Insights from HCLTech

Written by Malvi Goyal

The business landscape has witnessed profound transformations in recent years, mirroring the shifts in our environment and society. The climate crisis demands a radical overhaul in how companies operate and strategize different units internally, to  empower all stakeholders to contribute towards the sustainability transition journey.

Shalmalee Nath, APAC Head Climate School at AXA Climate recently spoke with Santosh Jayaram, Global Head of Sustainability at HCLTech to try and shed some light on the evolving challenges of the sustainability transition and learn how HCLTech – a global information technology company headquartered in India – has responded to them.

Here are five key takeaways from the discussion, providing a roadmap for businesses embarking on their own sustainability journey.

1. Leadership’s role is crucial in championing sustainability:

Having the business leadership’s commitment to sustainability is pivotal, echoing the transformations witnessed in employee management and engagement in response to the Covid health crisis.

At HCLTech, the leadership’s role goes beyond mere good intentions; it set out a vision and created a governance structure for sustainability, as demonstrated by its ESG Committee.

Leaders at HCLTech demonstrate a number of key traits for sustainable thinking. These include having a long-term mindset, the ability to inspire and influence their teams, and a readiness to navigate complexities and uncertainties in their sustainability journey.

2. Employees will need motivation and upskilling:

Much like the evolving role of HR in fostering employee engagement in remote and hybrid working models, sustainability requires a similar, if not greater, level of employee involvement.

HCLTech’s Sustainability School, powered by AXA Climate, serves as an exemplary model, providing training and awareness programs to help employees become agents of sustainability initiatives. This initiative highlights the potential of approaches of engagement, like gamification, to boost participation and awareness.

Moreover, by enabling employees to see the impact they can make individually, businesses like HCLTech inspire them to drive broader change within their communities.

3. Sustainability must permeate through every business operation:

In response to the climate crisis, HCLTech has seamlessly integrated sustainability into its core business operations and client service model.

It employs a three-pronged strategy: flagging sustainability impacts in every service, adding a sustainability metrics to existing services, and developing new solutions focused on sustainability challenges.

By embedding sustainability into every business discipline in this way, it ensures that it becomes an intrinsic part of the company’s fabric, making it everyone’s collective responsibility.

4. Collaboration is key:

In line with the multi-faceted challenges posed by climate change, HCLTech emphasises the importance of collaboration and stakeholder engagement. As a company that operates globally, it must comply with international and regional regulations.

However, despite there being regional nuances, many of the climate regulations and challenges around the world are very similar, requiring a homogeneous and collaborative response between HCLTech and its customers. A unified approach, combining global and local knowledge, will have the most impact and allow for regional flexibility to meet location-specific climate challenges.

5. Measurement is necessary to track progress:

HCLTech’s commitment to sustainability is further reinforced by their systematic approach to measurement and reporting. They utilise a set of metrics identified through stakeholder engagement, ensuring transparency in their progress.

This joined-up approach is vital for companies wanting to track their sustainability journey, while aligning with regulatory requirements and ethical demands to reduce carbon output.


Looking ahead

The path to corporate sustainability is multifaceted. It involves blending visionary leadership with skilled and empowered employees, integrated strategies, and collaborative efforts, as evidenced by HCLTech’s sustainability journey so far.

Businesses embarking on this sustainability path can learn from HCLTech’s experience, acknowledging that a successful sustainability strategy must be part of the core business function, not a peripheral effort. As we advance towards a sustainable future, it is crucial that businesses drive change, with every sector and function playing a pivotal role in this global endeavour.


Watch the conversation in full, and learn more about HCLTech’s sustainability journey.

If you want to learn more about how AXA Climate School can help your organisation on its path to becoming more sustainable, please get in touch.