The world is at an intersection of digital transformation and sustainability. We must join hands for the greater good now if we are to create a sustainable future for all.
As one of the most prominent creators of skilled jobs globally, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) believes in encouraging students to build their skills through STEM education and become tomorrow’s technology and business leaders.
Through initiatives such as TCS Sustainathon, we inspire and empower young minds to solve real-world sustainability problems using digital technology. The idea is to empower communities by connecting people to opportunities in the digital economy.
We can create longer-term value for all stakeholders and deliver a unique competitive advantage by better understanding how emerging technologies impact business performance and the world.
The Tata group’s 150-year-old legacy is rooted in the philosophy of leading with purpose and giving back to the community; that is our fundamental belief at TCS. We believe in harnessing technology and innovation to catalyse change and drive sustainable business outcomes.
Our collective future looks much brighter as we empower and equip a generation of future thinkers to create sustainable outcomes using digital technology.
To tackle the growing urgency of addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), TCS launched its Sustainathon initiative in Australia and New Zealand to encourage university students to use their design thinking skills to solve real-world sustainability challenges facing businesses in the region.
After successful editions in London, Europe, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, and India, the Sustainathon in ANZ offered university students the rare opportunity to interact with leading companies in the region. The idea is to inspire them to harness their problem-solving and design thinking skills to solve real-life sustainability issues and tackle global climate change.
Sustainathon 2022, launched with the theme of ‘People, planet, progress’, focused on finding solutions for challenges such as the availability of clean water, avoiding cabin food wastage, using sustainable packaging ideas, and more.
Over 10 weeks, students in groups of one to six designed solutions to innovatively tackle the problem statements set by the Sustainathon challenge partners. The solutions offered companies a fresh perspective on addressing the issues they face and how businesses and consumers could change their behaviour to create a greater impact.
The TCS Sustainathon invited university students to create sustainability-led solutions for leading organisations to address diverse real-world issues in social equality (people), environment preservation (planet), and sustainable economic pathways (purpose) from our challenge partners Virgin Australia, the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), Fletcher Building, ASB Bank, and Ethan Indigenous Technology.
A few entries stood out from all those entries received. The winning team from Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Waikato presented their solution ‘Unwastable’ in response to Fletcher Building’s challenge of cutting waste disposal costs and reducing the use of packaging materials that end up in landfills. The team’s solution leverages technology to create a digital resell platform that helps measure and rate the reuse and environmental ratings for firms.
A team from the University of Auckland won the challenge set by ASB Bank to help move New Zealand’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) along their climate change journey at pace. The team’s solution focussed on using organic products to eliminate other wastes. The solution leverages technology to enable customers to make fully informed decisions.
For the challenge set by Ethan Technology, the winner from Deakin University came up with an exciting way to develop sustainable technology for indigenous communities. Their solution was to provide interactive, educational maps to ‘story tell’ the history, significance of people and place, and more to create a living ‘both ways learning’ solution.
Responding to AICD’s challenge to develop solutions to help solve the water crisis in Australia, students from Deakin University created a smart water reader. It provides live data feeds into a GIS map, enabling households and industries to see the data on the website or mobile app. With knowledge comes the ability to understand, adapt, and change.
For the last challenge, set by ASB Bank, the winning team from the University of Auckland sought to help SMEs count and credit carbonate diversion from landfills. There is no established waste stream for carbonate in Auckland city, and likely among the 23,040 SMEs in New Zealand accommodation and food services. The solution, titled FlexOurMussels, leverages five different technologies to enable a carbonate waste stream. It reduces the embodied energy of construction materials that incorporate this. It will create a more circular economy and awareness of long-term carbon capture and give credit where due.
It was great to see such innovation and passion from students for a sustainable future. “It is reassuring how bright our future looks with such capable and committed future talent, who are leveraging the power of technology and innovation to pioneer sustainable opportunities,” said Vikram Singh, Country Head, TCS Australia and New Zealand.