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AS ESG gains prominence, tech is enabling traceable compliance: Arjun Ramaraju, CEO, Conneqt Business Solutions

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As we are primarily focused on technology enabled business services, “ESG as a Service” provides a great opportunity for us to address how ESG adoption and adherence can be taken care through new-age technologies.

Arjun Ramaraju, CEO, Conneqt

With the rising anxiety in the Indian market to meet the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030, more companies are expanding their environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) programmes to stay competitive in global markets. Today, ESG is a top business priority that leaders are actively working towards to align their plans with SDG mandates. 

As difficult as it is to develop strategies because of the sheer number of factors to take into consideration, it is a larger challenge to operationalize ESG across organizations. In a conversation with Enterprise IT, Arjun Ramaraju, CEO of Conneqt Business Solutions, a leading IT and BPM services provider in India, said the company has launched “ESG as a Service” to reduce operating costs and offer a consultative approach to ESG adoption in the country. The service, launched in collaboration with BillionLives, aims to bring about a difference in how enterprises perceive and calculate their ESG output.

What is the current ESG adoption landscape in India?

The integration of environmental and financial norms has become a growing trend in India and there has been consequent awareness on ESG adoption across the country today. A number of organizations have started to assess, manage and disclose their ESG commitments. Investors and other stakeholders are also looking at traditional financial metrics along with their ESG commitments and working towards integrating environment, social and governance goals aligned with the norms that are laid out within the country. This trend is only going to grow further and at Conneqt too we have taken steps to accelerate our ESG journey. The adoption of ESG as a metric to evaluate corporate performance is going to be necessitated.

What kind of impact can digital service companies make on ESG adoption goals for organisations in the current environment?

Digital service companies have a profound impact on ESG adoption goals globally as well as in India. Sustainability related goals, targets, and performance can all rightly measured through technology. Environmental disclosures which cover various aspects including energy usage, air pollutant emissions, GHG emissions, transitioning to a circular economy, waste generator, biodiversity, and the like, can all be tracked through new-age technology. While there are several enterprises who very well understand ESG by the nature of the businesses they are in, many need professional expertise to ensure that their intent is translated into reality. With the help of new-age technology, key collaboration and our industry expertise, we hold the ability to provide business services in the market, which supports the assessment and sustainability goals for any large enterprise in the country today. We track how companies approach workplaces, communities, gender, social diversity, differently enabled employees and policies in terms of social disclosures. Apart from keeping a track of a company’s ESG performance, we also evaluate societal and investor expectations from the enterprise at large. We are able to get multiple stakeholders and functional teams within an organization to come together to see how companies can meet their ESG compliance. Hence, transformation is happening within the digital services companies to become a reliable service provide helping enterprises in their ESG journeys.

How is Conneqt helping companies realise their ESG goals? What is the tech infrastructure used in this process?

We believe that the acceleration of ESG can be a significant business advantage for enterprises, right from value creation, increased access to capital, reduced risks, and increased focus on the environment. At Conneqt, we have partnered with Billion Lives to launch “ESG as a Service”. With a deep tech platform that helps customers and enterprises addresses ESG right across the value chain, we are focused strongly on building and strengthening adherence for companies.

As we are primarily focused on technology enabled business services, “ESG as a Service” provides a great opportunity for us to address how ESG adoption and adherence can be taken care through new-age technologies. We have a very structured game plan with an innovative approach to transform, modernize, and run ESG programs while simultaneously monitoring industry trends using sentiment analysis technology.

We are redesigning ESG processes for companies with a holistic strategy that includes analysing ESG readiness through maturity surveys, materiality assessment, and sustainability strategy and reporting, as well as assurance reporting and ongoing performance monitoring. We have also adopted new age technologies such as AI to generate peer benchmarking and sentiment analysis while adopting a consultative approach, offering enterprises customised solutions to maintain their ESG health.

Which segments in India have adopted ESG planning at an accelerated pace?

Eventually we will witness ESG adoption across sectors but industries such as energy, resource intensive companies, auto manufacturing industries, chemicals and consumer goods are embracing the sustainable growth in a bigger way in the country. Besides this, several other segments are also keen to make an impact on their how they are addressing their social goals and commitment to the environment. Retail and e-commerce companies are re-analysing their packaging, materials, vendor associations and the like. There is also a larger revolution in consumer-focused industries given consumers expectations of wanting to be associated with brands which have strong commitments to environment, society and governance.

How is Conneqt managing the dynamic market demands in terms of resourcing and manpower?

Technology is certainly a key focus and employees with the right skill sets play a large role for any company to do well. We have very strong employee policies which levy great importance to the overall employee value chain. In addition to that, as a company with a focus on digital, we have set up strong competency centers on digital, which are powered by strong tech alliances with the leading OEMs. We are supremely focused on nurturing digital IT talent from within through upskilling initiatives which is a strong value proposition for us to be able to attract skilled talent.

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