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Achieving net zero targets requires both collaboration and co-innovation across entire industry ecosystems

On the opening morning of the 2021 European SDG Summit, business leaders heard an urgent call to action for cross-industry collaboration to ensure the world’s sustainability ambitions are met.

Speaking at the State of the Union on Sustainable Industry session, Nirmalya Banerjee, Managing Partner, Tata Consultancy Services said only by working together will businesses make their full contribution to building a sustainable future. “We believe many of the elements of this journey, like circularity and biodiversity can only be achieved through cross-industry collaboration”, he said.

Banerjee also set out the TCS belief that technology can be a unifying factor in the dash to net zero and emphasised how TCS views sustainable industry through a wider lens that focuses not just on business, but how a business interacts with the community in which it operates and how it impacts on the people and society it serves.

Measuring progress, accelerating action

While the need for industry to transition to a more sustainable future is no longer in doubt, research shows some industries are struggling to move forward with the transition with purpose and clarity.

Michel Hublet, Senior Director at CSR Europe which is hosting the European SDG Summit, underlined the urgency behind the TCS call for greater cross-industry collaboration. Hublet explained that progress towards the 17th Sustainable Development Goal, which deals with collaboration and partnership, is lagging some of the other measures. He urged industry to “go faster” to ensure a stronger impact on progress towards meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals by the deadline of 2030.

Keeran Gwilliam-Beeharee, Executive Director at V.E, part of Moody's ESG Solutions shared his insights from deep-level research into industry attitudes to sustainable industry and ESG issues.

The research, which included analysis of 1,500 European companies against sustainability metrics, identified what Gwilliam-Beeharee called;  “very clear champions, companies that have set net zero targets that are aligned with the 2050 time horizon with the (European) Green Deal.”

But the V.E. research also finds, “a large number of big players who are effectively failing to disclose [...] how they're looking to tackle energy transition challenges today.”




Technology driving transition

For companies struggling to build a clear roadmap for their sustainable industry journey, TCS believes technological innovation is a central plank of any transition plan.

Nirmalya Banerjee told delegates how TCS has used its broad contextual knowledge across a range of industry sectors to develop a unique approach to technology-driven transformation.  “At TCS we have the unique advantage of sitting at a cross section of a wide array of industries. This means we can put the technology to work across industry ecosystems to enable a collective journey towards carbon neutrality and an overall sustainable future.”

Building on the theme of a technology-driven pathway to sustainable industry, Banerjee added; “we believe digital and emerging technologies can help identify a common baseline, establish targets and enable performance visibility. Then digital fabric would be the unifying factor in cross-industry collaboration.”

With Europe playing a leading role in terms of commitment to achieving net zero, Banerjee told delegates he saw much to inspire optimism across the continent, saying: “Today it is great to see organizations across Europe adopting new business models, which involve collaboration by design. As we work with our clients to build circular industry ecosystems, we believe in building in collaboration at the core.”

The TCS commitment to cross industry collaboration is just one example of how we are building on our belief that entire industry ecosystems will need to be transformed if we are to meet our target of a sustainable future in which nobody is left behind.

Banerjee concluded his address to the European SDG summit by recalling the words of the great industrialist Henry Ford, to reinforce his urgent call for industry to “act decisively together” to create a new economic model built on sustainability and regeneration.

Quoting Ford, Banerjee said; “coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, working together is success.”