While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about negatives like illness, death and decline in economic activity, it has also led to some positives and has contributed to India’s $194 billion outsourcing technology industry in FY 2020-21. towards reducing carbon emissions.
The pandemic has reduced carbon emissions by 85 percent from outsourcing technology companies, including IT, ITeS, engineering, GIC/GCC and startups.
This reduction means a drop in carbon emissions of about three million tonnes from pre-pandemic levels. If we look at it on an annual basis, then this decline is 20 lakh tonnes.
The decline in carbon emissions has been attributed to factors such as the adoption of COVID-induced work from home, digital platforms, electric vehicles (EVs) and digital campus hiring platforms.
Only $750 million has been spent by the outsourcing industry on travel costs, travel costs and international travel in FY 2020-21 as compared to $2.9 billion in FY 2019-20. The top five IT services companies – TCS, Infosys, HCL, Wipro and Tech Mahindra – spent about $ 370 million on travel costs in FY21, which is 75 percent less than $1.4 billion in FY20.
At the same time, only four to five percent of the approximately 44 lakh employees in the outsourcing industry are traveling for work. An estimated 20 percent to 25 percent of employees will be back at work early next year after full immunization of employees and households of global and domestic IT firms.
The post-pandemic (mid-next year) will see more deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) along with AI transportation tech platforms. Tech companies aim to take about 5 percent of employee travel on EVs from 25 percent to 30 percent by 2025.
The report suggested that adopting digital devices to meet the needs of future domestic and international travel along with a consumer-grade experience would also help reduce carbon emissions.
Gaurav Vasu, Founder and CEO, UnearthInsight, said in a statement, “The outsourcing industry was on track to adopt a hybrid working model, electric mobility, even before Covid. However, the pandemic and rapid adoption of digital devices/technology have changed the landscape dramatically and today the reduction in carbon emissions appears to be sustainable in the long run.
In addition, the report revealed that COVID prompted large industry stalwarts to deploy technologies such as digital campus hiring platforms, which significantly reduced carbon emissions generated in terms of visits to over 1,000 campuses across the country is.
By 2025, 75 percent of campus hiring for the technology industry is expected to be through advanced end-to-end digital platforms/tools. This will also force other Tier-1 and Tier-2 IT firms to create digital platforms to attract graduate talent from across the country.
Vasu said the COVID-19 disruption has made outsourcing organisations, customers and employees more environmentally friendly, helping them reduce carbon emissions and accelerate their journey towards the digital workplace.
In this way, there is a possibility of reduction in carbon emissions in the coming times.
More than 2,000 outsourcing technology companies in India were included in the study conducted by UnearthInsight for the financial year 2020-21. The findings are based on companies’ annual reports, primary research and the UnearthInsight database.