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Greening the outsourced CX services industry

Sophie Chelmick, SVP Spain and Romania, TDCX

The significant threat posed by climate change has led to it being called the challenge of our generation. In response to this, more firms are taking the step of appointing Chief Sustainability Officers (CSOs) to drive and to manage their organisation’s sustainability goals. According to a report by The Weinreb Group, there were more CSOs recruited in 2020 among Fortune 500 companies than the previous three years combined.

Does this then mean that the sustainability challenge lies largely in the hands of large corporations with CSOs? We certainly think otherwise.

At TDCX, we are committed to delivering positive outcomes for our clients. This extends to our role as a responsible corporate citizen. As such, we have taken a proactive approach in our sustainability efforts, culminating in TDCX achieving carbon neutrality in August this year.

No initiative too small

As an omnichannel customer experience services provider, our carbon footprint is correlated to our growth. The more we scale, the bigger our workforce grows and our carbon emissions increase accordingly. Hence, we needed to ensure that everyone in the organisation understood the importance of being sustainable – right down to their individual footprint.

Hence, we took a bite-sized approach to introducing the topic of sustainability so that all 13,000 of our employees knew why we were championing the cause. We did that through initiatives such as implementing recycling programmes at our offices and choosing sustainable products where possible. This then paved the way for the acceptance of larger-scale initiatives.

Making sustainability an essential part of our operations

As people became familiar with the topic, next was to formulate our sustainability strategy.

In 2019, we wanted to accelerate our efforts and formally added sustainability as one of the pillars in our Corporate Social Responsibility. As our people had been involved in previous initiatives, they recognised the importance of doing so and hence, were very supportive.

To determine our approach, we looked to the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as our blueprint. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for countries, companies and consumers to act.

One of the ways we incorporate the SDGs into our initiatives is in the design of our premises. For our new office in Europe, we dedicated more space to facilities such as showers to encourage employees to run or to cycle to the office.

We also opted for uninterruptible power supply (UPS) battery instead of a diesel fuel generator for our backup supply. The use of UPS is better for the environment as no harmful fossil fuels are burnt for backup power usage or during testing. These batteries can also be recycled for use in other batteries or have its components stripped for use in other items at the end of its shelf life.

Supporting decarbonisation through offsetting

We achieved carbon neutrality by taking a two-pronged approach – reducing our carbon output and offsetting what we are currently unable to reduce. This was done through United Nations’ Climate Neutral Now initiative which calls for businesses, under the Paris Agreement, to offset their non-reducible carbon emissions by supporting projects that help reduce carbon emission elsewhere.

According to McKinsey, carbon credits have an important dual role to play in the battle against climate change. One of these includes enabling companies to support decarbonisation beyond their own carbon footprint, thus accelerating the broader transition to a lower-carbon future.

By complementing our sustainability efforts with the purchase of offsets, we are not only able to account for the emissions that we continue to reduce but also contribute to global environmental solutions.

While we are now carbon neutral, our sustainability journey does not end here. We continue to work on reducing our carbon footprint and aim towards becoming climate neutral. Next on our sustainability agenda is to obtain external certification for our efforts and we aim to get a verified opinion statement of our carbon neutrality within the year.