Chairman’s Letter

Dear fellow stakeholders

Welcome to our tenth sustainability report, marking an important milestone in our sustainability journey.

When we published our first report in 2008, the world had been plunged into turmoil triggered by the sub-prime crisis in the U.S. home loan market. Economists suggest that we are still to emerge completely from that ‘great recession’ as it is now called.

In fact the past decade has been marked by several disruptive shifts in our society’s political, economic and social order, accompanied by a gradual and definite deterioration in our planet’s ecological stability. What implications this has for governments, business and for common citizens remains a matter of vigorous debate. But what is clear is that business must be more proactive and resilient in shaping movement towards a better society and a safer planet.

One positive trend that has emerged is the increased spotlight on the role of the corporation as an agent of responsible behavior. Catalyzed by several convergent forces – a decisive shift in business leaderships’ thinking on these issues, clear evidence of linkages with business outcomes, peer pressure, legislation and brand leverage – the world is seeing significant traction in the adoption of sustainable practices by companies. I am glad this is happening and hope that the momentum continues to increase.

Let me now present the key highlights for the reporting year while simultaneously placing it in the context of the progress we have made in the last decade

Ecological Sustainability: When we started a formal sustainability program in 2007-08, we had set for ourselves clear and ambitious goals on Energy, Water, Waste and Biodiversity. I am happy to say that we have progressed well on all the four dimensions even as we continue to set more challenging goals for the future. Staring from zero, our renewable energy footprint has steadily expanded to 100 million units today comprising more than 25% of our overall energy consumption. Our investments in green buildings have yielded savings of more than 100 million units of electricity over the past five years alone. We have also invested significantly in water conservation and efficiency within our organization. 40% of our water is recycled today. Our work in transforming three of our campuses to biodiversity zones has been appreciated widely. I see this as an example of value creation in its fullest sense as it encompasses the idea of social and ecological value, not just economic wealth

People and the Workplace: Sustainability at the workplace must manifest in diversity and inclusiveness, fostering employee health, wellbeing and safety, and empowerment of employees by providing them with continuous learning opportunities.

Over the last decade, we have strengthened these practices very significantly by making them more cohesive and by aligning them with our core business objectives. The resultant outcomes speak for themselves. The percentage of women in our workforce has grown steadily to 33%. During this period, we started a flagship program for hiring and developing persons with disability, resulting in 300 people working with us in various departments and functions.

We are a global organization and that is directly reflected by the more than 100 nationalities (in addition to India) in our workforce, representing 21% of all employees. While our business is about technology, it is our people who bring a differentiated edge and unique energy to it.

We are confident that we are well placed to navigate the disruptive but exciting new landscape that is emerging around new technologies like Artificial and Machine Intelligence, Analytics, Internet of Things and Mobility. In 2016-17 alone, 39000 of our employees were trained on these new digital technologies and we filed more than 600 patents in these areas

Creating Social Value: While our systematic sustainability program is a decade old, our social initiatives go back even earlier to 2001.

Over these years, we have built strong programs in Education, Health Care and Community Ecology. Each of these has its distinct purpose, though the common approach underlying all our social initiatives is that they must be deep and meaningful, creating enduring impact for our communities.

Our work in school education has grown over the years in both, scope and scale and covers systemic reforms, sustainability education, children with disability and children from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. Through our network of more than 100 partners, our programs in school education have impacted over a million children directly in more than 20,000 schools. Many million more have been impacted by the capacity developed in our partner organizations. Our work in education has similar goals in the U.S.A. We have a long running initiative that focuses on improvements in science and math teaching, especially in schools that serve disadvantaged communities.

While I am happy with our progress in the last decade, I think we can do much more in all areas. We are committed to making this happen. In doing so, we will continue to raise the bar for our governance and management practices. Sustainability reports like this play a valuable role in this regard, by serving as catalysts for self-reflection and continued improvement.

Why do all this? For us, the answer to this question has always been straightforward “Because it is the right thing to do”. It deeply resonates with our values.

The Global Risk Report 2018 released in Davos at the World Economic Forum highlights the systemic risks humanity faces in a world that seems to be becoming increasingly divisive, unequal and unsustainable. This is not the kind of world that augurs well for business.

Corporations must therefore move beyond the question ‘Why do this?” to “What more should we do?”. That will be our driving principle for the next 10 years of our sustainability journey…..as will be our values of being passionate about our clients’ success, being global and responsible, treating everybody with respect and having unyielding integrity in everything we do .

With Best Wishes

Azim Premji