We apply the same innovative thinking and collaborative effort to environmental sustainability programs that we do to solving clients’ business challenges.
Our key environmental efforts are:
We are committed to leading our industry in energy conservation, waste reduction and recycling. While Cognizant is a knowledge-based business and is physical asset-light, we still view environmental stewardship as a business imperative.
Cognizant has set organization-wide goals for energy and carbon emissions. Our original goal was to reduce energy consumption and emissions by 40% per capita by 2015, compared with our 2008 baseline. We achieved this goal ahead of schedule by focusing on energy conservation, efficiency and productivity. We cultivated alternative energy sources, reduced energy waste and generated higher productivity per unit of energy—all of which helped us reduce per capita energy consumption by 53% over that period.
In 2016 our associate volunteers, known as Green Brigadiers, were involved in meaningful environmental projects, such as planting trees, cleaning up waterways and public spaces, collecting e-waste, encouraging green commuting and educating students about conservation.
In 2013 we began purchasing renewable energy for our campuses in India. In 2016 we procured 120,996,945 MJ of renewable energy, which amounts to 11% of our global energy consumption. In 2017 we planned to increase renewable purchases significantly, obtaining additional energy from biomass, wind and solar.
We rely on a team of energy experts who focus on energy efficiency, along with business requirements and equipment availability. We make decisions regarding new or retrofitted systems based on these factors.
As a professional services business, we do not use water in our supply chain. Accordingly, while we do not see an opportunity to significantly reduce water use, we do compile and study water usage data and look for ways to conserve water. Our operations also harvest rainwater and do not draw on any local bodies of water. We recycle water at our sites and reuse this recycled water.
We work to reduce our impact on the environment by managing waste in an efficient and sustainable manner. To help our associates contribute to this objective, we have installed e-waste recycling bins across our facilities in India, and we encourage associates to dispose of this waste responsibly. E-waste is recycled through Cognizant-authorized recycling partners.
As a global company, travel is a major contributor to our environmental footprint. We have placed a significant emphasis on reducing travel by using video-conferencing and telepresence facilities. To date, we have deployed close to 500 telepresence and high-definition video units across our India facilities, significantly reducing our air travel.
Our policies are based on internationally recognized standards and frameworks from organizations such as the United Nations Global Compact, International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). We have implemented an Environment Management System, as defined by ISO 14001 standards, in our India and UK offices, which enables us to identify and control the environmental impact of our activities. Our system has been certified at eight of our facilities in India.
Our Senior Director of Sustainability, who reports to our company’s Chief Operating Officer, oversees performance across all aspects of sustainability. This individual leads our Go Green team, which focuses specifically on our environment, health and safety performance. Our team manages our annual Carbon Disclosure Project data gathering and reporting, our ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certification processes, works with facilities management on energy efficiency and water conservation programs, and organizes our Green Brigade volunteers across the globe.
The Go Green team provides frequent company-wide communications on topics ranging from energy and resource conservation to personal conservation. We provide environmental training through e-learning and resources such as our Energy Handbook to our facilities management teams to ensure they are trained in best practices for energy management and conservation.
The Go Green team gathers data monthly and annually, following industry standard protocols for gathering and reporting environmental performance information like the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. In key areas such as energy use we produce a monthly dashboard on energy consumption, and use Six Sigma and lean techniques to work with managers at underperforming facilities to learn from the best practices employed by top-performing facilities.