Towards A Greener Tomorrow

The Mahindra Group has a strong heritage of championing sustainable business practices. The Group’s responsibility towards the environment remains one of its top priorities across all its businesses and other initiatives. From cleaner engines, to ensuring sustainable operations at its channel partners, Mahindra is working towards making the world a greener, cleaner and a better place to live in.

The COVID-19 crisis has brought into sharp focus the need for businesses to “build back in a way that protects us from growing systemic risks, future pandemics, or from other risks such as air pollution and climate change”, according to Anirban Ghosh, the Group’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “We can choose to reboot the economy in a way that leads us towards a point of no return - unchecked climate change - or we can choose a pathway that leads us to a thriving, healthy economy. Supporting, incentivizing and investing in carbon-neutral industries, processes, innovations and approaches of the future is surely the only way to go.”

In addition to the business focus on sustainability, the Group Sustainability and Group CSR teams organised the Environment Awareness Week from June 1 - 5 to increase awareness and inspire individual action across the Group. Fun, easy-to-do environment-friendly tasks were shared with employees, to educate them about the need to build a greener tomorrow, as a part of the World Environment Day celebrations.

From the ‘share and tell’ activity, to watching a film by the WWF on biodiversity, and calculating your carbon footprint, to a sustainable fashion initiative and creating useful, interesting things out of waste, the activities were high on the fun quotient while also building awareness. Employees were asked to document their participation through fun photos or videos and post them on their social media channels, while also challenging one or more of their colleagues to perform the same task.

Individuals from across the Mahindra Group posted on their Twitter and Facebook handles, photos of their creative DIY projects, their upcycled clothes, and some even posted photos with members of their family while watching the WWF documentary featuring Anand Mahindra, that was shared as task one.

Employees were also encouraged to download the new Sustainability App and to take the Mahindra Sustainability Quiz. To make the tasks more exciting, three interesting hashtags were used: #ForNature #NatuREsolution, and #RiseForGood.

In Service of Nature

This World Environment Day, Mahindra strengthened its commitment to a greener world through the announcement of a unique new initiative. The Group will plant a tree for every automotive service that customers avail of using the ‘With You Hamesha’ app for the next 30 days starting June 5. This initiative is part of Project Hariyali with the new trees being planted in Araku Valley as soon as the lockdown is lifted.

This is the latest among Mahindra’s range of Sustainability initiatives which cover a wide spectrum. The Group has been a frontrunner in digitally transforming customers' automobile service experience with its after-sales digital platform ‘With You Hamesha’. The company’s digitised contactless service assures safety and convenience for customers, in addition to saving paper that was earlier used for printing in service centers, by 40%.

The Logistics of Diversity

One of India’s largest ‘Third Party Logistics’ (3PL) solution providers, Mahindra Logistics Ltd (MLL) unveiled its LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or questioning, Intersex, Asexual or Allied) policy, along with a robust plan to hire people from the community. As part of its five-year roadmap, the company is also committed to strengthening diversity and inclusion by leveraging the talents of women, people with disabilities, and ex-servicemen, all communities with – generally – limited representation at the workplace.

The company’s diversity and inclusion policy now extends employee benefits to the queer employees and same-sex partners. This includes but is not limited to adoption leave for single LGBT parents, ‘compassionate leave’ (in case of death of a family member), etc. It also offers counselling services for LGBTQIA employees and their immediate family members, including their partners. In addition, MLL has pledged equal opportunity and non-discrimination for queer employees in any process of hiring, relocation, training, transfer, career development, promotions, etc.

MLL has recently started employing ‘persons with disabilities’ (PwDs) in its warehouses. The company intends to recruit at least 500 associates on permanent rolls or on rolls of its business partners in FY2021. In preparation, sensitisation sessions for employees have been started and infrastructure audits have been initiated (completed for head office), in order to assess the company’s readiness to hire PwDs.

Gender diversity remains an issue in the field of logistics. MLL is attempting to bridge the gender diversity gap by recruiting more women from diverse backgrounds and experiences, especially through ‘Udaan’, a career comeback programme and second career internship for women at all levels, functions, and divisions. Its ‘Birth and Beyond’ programme also helps women employees advance their careers throughout the maternity and early motherhood period. The company is also planning to employ ex-servicemen, with 10 persons on the rolls in the first phase, and another 50 in the next three years.

“We encourage and value diversity amongst our employees, associates, business partners, customers and communities,” said Mr Rampraveen Swaminathan, MD and CEO, MLL. “It is imperative to make MLL attractive to millennials, provide equal opportunities to women and PwDs, recruit veteransfrom the armed forces, and shatter the stereotypes around a LGBTQIA workforce.”

These robust initiatives will help MLL leverage untapped talent pools, enhance engagement and foster inclusivity at work place.

Shifting Into (Carbon) Neutral

Tech Mahindra has signed a joint declaration with the UN Global Compact urging governments to align Covid-19 recovery efforts with the latest climate science. It also calls upon governments to prioritise ‘a faster and fairer transition from a grey to a green economy.’

As governments around the world prepare trillions of dollars’ worth of economic stimulus packages to help their economies recover from the impact of the global pandemic, and prepare to submit enhanced national climate plans under the Paris Agreement, Tech Mahindra has joined 155 other global companies across 34 sectors with a combined market capitalisation of over $2.4 trillion, in calling for policies that will build resilience against such future shocks.

The Compact also calls for support of efforts to hold global temperature rise to within 1.5o C above pre-industrial levels. “Covid 19 has allowed all of us to reconfigure our priorities and understand the importance of building a sustainable world by focusing on healthcare and leveraging technology to enable new ways of working,” said C P Gurnani, MD and CEO, Tech Mahindra. “We are committed towards building a sustainable business with responsibility, while also keeping in mind the long-term impacts on the environment.”

In signing this compact, Tech Mahindra has reaffirmed its commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions, and promised to reduce its carbon footprint, conserve energy using new-age technologies such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things and blockchain, and increase its use of renewable energy to 20 per cent in 2020. The company has set a target to increase its use of renewable energy to 50 per cent by 2025. An internal carbon price of $10 per ton of carbon dioxide has also been implemented by the company to boost green investments.

“Our commitment towards going carbon neutral, conserving, and deploying resources efficiently will enable helps us to accelerate our transition to a low carbon economy while creating sustainable value for our stakeholders, said Sandeep Chandna, Chief Sustainability Officer, Tech Mahindra. “As part of our TechMNxt charter, we have incorporated reduction of emissions as a key aspect to every function’s mandate and our overall business strategy.”

Tech Mahindra is also working closely with partners and customers to help them increase energy savings, as well as to digitise and automate operations, and create collaborative work environments to address the need for sustainable practices.

Creating Happinests

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, prospective home buyers are looking for spaces that will cater to everyone in their families. While urban homes may remain constrained vis-à-vis floor area, good design and a focus on amenities can definitely help home buyers who are on a budget. Going forth, the quality of life will be in focus more than ever. Housing.com reached out to Vimalendra Singh, Chief Sales Officer, Mahindra Happinest (the affordable housing brand of Mahindra Lifespaces), to understand the role of developer firms in ensuring a smooth road ahead for home buyers.

What are the amenities that Mahindra Lifespaces is looking to provide to home buyers post-COVID-19?

Humanity is spending more time at home than ever before. Social distancing, self-isolation, hygiene routines and work-from-home are essential aspects of our ‘new normal’ lives and are changing the way we view and experience our homes. This forced recalibration is likely to result in long-term shifts in the design of homes, the adoption of technology for comfortable living and the well-being attributes of self-sufficient housing projects. The lockdown situation has created demand for features, amenities and services that can enable a better quality of life post-COVID-19. The key is to continually engage with customers, to generate insights that can then be incorporated into future projects.

How important is it, to offer customisation of units, following the Coronavirus pandemic?

There will be higher focus on customisation of homes in the premium or luxury segment, with emphasis on exclusivity, privacy and security. Across all segments of homes, efficient and aesthetic storage spaces will become important. Many common features may become digitised. For example, customisable smart home features – to control the blinds of a bedroom, or adjust the luminosity of bulbs – could find more takers. Indoor health enhancing tools, such as smart air filtration systems, may also find increasing favour with home buyers.

Additionally, extended periods of working from home will result in greater attention to indoor workspaces that can maximise productivity and be comfortable, at the same time. In metros like Mumbai, where space is at a premium, multi-functional indoor spaces will be designed to suit various professional and personal needs – for example, a corridor or a dining table in the living room / kitchen area that can double-up as a workstation.

What are some of the challenges ahead?

The attrition of construction workers, who want to return to their hometowns and villages, has emerged as a challenge for the real estate sector. To deal with this, we are focusing our efforts around prefabricated construction, increased automation and mechanisation of construction technologies.

Do you see the demand for homes picking up in the near future?

Being cooped up indoors for months, has resulted in a heightened awareness of the need for intelligently-designed apartments, organised living spaces and ‘green’ homes that can utilise resources efficiently. We believe that demand in the residential segment, especially in the affordable and mid to premium segments, is likely to surge post-COVID-19, prompted by the experience of users in the last few months. The aspirational value of home ownership remains strong, as validated by the flow of enquiries from customers across markets and even from NRIs, during the lockdown.

  Tweet of the Week

Anand Mahindra

As offices begin to slowly open today, most companies will be exploring what I call 'Sanjivani solutions', i.e. a potion for emerging from a Corona-induced coma. A good time to share some of the thinking of our Group leadership on how we might hit the ground running:

1) Adopt a start-up mindset. Which means:
a) Become as lean an Organization as possible
b) Nothing is sacred; all business models open for debate. Create 'feedback loops' that constantly test product/market assumptions
c) Share ideas & data across the company at warp speed

2) Do a Marie Kondo style clean up of the portfolio and bid goodbye to those initiatives which don't fall into your narrative of a successful future.

3) Raise sufficient capital for the journey of evolution. It's not a short trip.

Read the Tweet

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