Category: ESG and Sustainability

Generative AI’s Impact on the Talent Market: Unraveling its Effects on Training and Recruitment Versus the Environment and Society | Blog

The emergence of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) has sparked a complex debate in the global talent market. The acindustry faces a paradox in balancing the transformative advances the technology brings to training and recruitment with its potential negative societal and environmental implications. To successfully navigate this intricate landscape, organizations need to address concerns about ethics, data privacy and security, energy efficiency, and monitoring. Delve into the dual nature of Generative AI’s impact in this blog. 

First, let’s look at the aspects of Generative AI’s impact that can be viewed as detrimental.

Generative AI’s impact on the environment

Developing talent recruitment and training GAI models requires the use of massive volumes of historical hiring data, training resources, and regulatory policies, which leads to considerable power and energy consumption during the training process. With the development of more powerful models, energy consumption will rise significantly, presenting a pressing concern. Using nonrenewable resources like fossil fuels as energy sources can have dire environmental consequences.

While the carbon footprint of AI models is well known, its water footprint is often overlooked and poses additional risks that can ultimately contribute to water scarcity. For instance, training GPT-3 at Microsoft’s data centers requires almost 700,000 gallons of fresh water, according to Cornell University research. Consequently, the large-scale adoption of GAI should prioritize methods to reduce both energy and clean water usage. Contact us to learn more about a sustainable approach to GAI.

Disruptive influence on the job market

In addition to environmental worries, GAI’s disruptive influence on the job market has ignited controversy. Goldman Sach research predicted GAI could replace millions of jobs globally. The potential for job loss has particularly become a major concern in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

With capabilities such as data entry, content generation, and customer support, GAI minimizes repetitive and rule-based tasks reducing the need for human involvement. GAI-driven data analysis can make forecasts based on past trends, reducing the reliance on human intervention, and diminishing the need for data analysts.

While the full extent of what positions GAI can replace in the coming years is not fully known, it conceivably can replace various roles in customer service, sales and marketing, operations, finance, and HR over time. The skills that can be affected as GAI’s use increases are illustrated below:

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Ethical dilemmas and bias challenges in AI-driven recruitment

As we delve deeper into GAI’s implications, privacy concerns and unintended biases in AI models emerge. To create effective models, AI algorithms require large datasets, which can include sensitive and/or personal information. If not handled properly, any content generated by AI models can potentially expose an employee’s private information. These models can unknowingly learn sensitive information, making private details vulnerable in an attack.

AI systems also can reflect biases that are inherent in the data they are trained on. For example, if historical hiring data exhibits biases toward certain genders, ethnicities, or educational backgrounds in recruitment AI engines, AI may inadvertently favor these demographics in its recommendations, perpetuating inequitable disparities.

Furthermore, linguistic patterns or keywords within job descriptions could introduce biases related to gender or age, impacting how the AI appraises and prioritizes candidates. Consequently, employers who incorporate such systems into their hiring processes may inadvertently amplify the inherent biases encoded within these models, potentially placing specific groups of individuals at a disadvantage.

Exploring the upside of GAI

Despite the hurdles and reservations, GAI can bring substantial advantages to both the environment and the talent market. Its capacity to automate and optimize various processes can significantly save energy and resources, thus reducing the overall environmental impact.

Although GAI’s energy consumption poses immediate concerns, its potential for long-term sustainability is encouraging. The technology promotes adopting renewable energy sources to power AI infrastructure, reducing dependency on fossil fuels.

Promoting sustainable practices in AI development and deployment can ensure a greener future for the talent market. Additionally, GAI can enhance workforce productivity and job satisfaction by effectively matching candidates with appropriate job opportunities and offering personalized training programs.

Job creation and upskilling

GAI’s potential for automating routine tasks has raised concerns about job displacement. However, the impact is more nuanced and can offer opportunities for job creation and upskilling. As GAI takes over repetitive tasks, the workforce must adapt through upskilling and reskilling to complement AI technologies. This shift in job roles necessitates a proficient workforce leveraging GAI to enhance productivity and creativity. Moreover, GAI creates demand for specialized roles like AI specialists, data scientists, and AI ethicists. Embracing GAI and investing in workforce development will prepare organizations for an AI-powered future, fostering a collaborative and innovative talent market.

Facilitating a more accessible talent market

GAI, when properly trained, has the potential to democratize the recruitment process by making it more accessible and inclusive. It can provide equal opportunities for candidates from diverse backgrounds, leveling the playing field and diminishing bias in the recruitment process. Moreover, with tailored training programs generated by GAI, individuals can develop their skills and competencies at their own pace, empowering them to access better job prospects and career growth.

The way forward

To ensure the sustainable and responsible integration of GAI in the global talent recruitment and training market, stakeholders must address the following four aspects:

  • Ethical framework: Developing and adhering to a robust ethical framework is essential to prevent biases and discrimination in AI-driven recruitment processes. Regular audits and transparent reporting can help identify and rectify any inadvertent bias in the algorithms
  • Data privacy and security: Strict data privacy regulations and security protocols must be implemented to safeguard personal information and prevent data breaches. Consent-based data usage should be a priority, and stringent measures must be in place to ensure secure storage and handling of data
  • Energy efficiency: Researchers and developers must focus on creating more energy-efficient AI training methods to reduce the carbon footprint associated with GAI. Exploring renewable energy sources and optimizing hardware can contribute to making AI technologies greener
  • Continuous monitoring: Regular monitoring and assessment of AI algorithms is vital to detect and correct any potential issues or biases that may arise during real-world application. Continuous improvement and adaptation are crucial for responsible AI deployment

GAI offers many opportunities in the global talent recruitment and training market. While it has the potential to streamline processes, increase accessibility, and benefit the environment, ethical concerns, bias challenges, data privacy issues, and environmental and social/societal implications must be addressed.

By adopting responsible AI practices, emphasizing inclusivity, and prioritizing the environment and sustainability, we can ensure that GAI serves as a powerful and ethical tool, transforming the talent market for the better and contributing to a brighter and more promising future.

For more information about Generative AI’s impact on talent and recruitment, and strategies for responsible AI practices, contact [email protected].

A Message from Everest Group’s CEO and Founder on the Positive Opportunities Within Sustainability | Blog

There’s no question that global services are increasingly important to all types of private and public sector organizations worldwide. Our passion, focus, and vision at Everest Group are helping our clients and the industry at large understand the potential of ever-changing services capabilities and how to most effectively shape and utilize services to drive and consistently improve stakeholder value for optimum impact.

Today there is no more urgent need than to understand how to achieve sustainability goals for our clients. We see an abundance of talent, ingenuity, and innovation across all global services. We are eager to bring this insight to our clients and help them make the most of the sustainability opportunity.

Discover more of Everest Group’s insights on sustainability.

And keep an eye on our new sustainability-focused LinkedIn page, where we deliver valuable sustainability insights that businesses can leverage for their sustainability goals.

Driving Sustainable Change: A Look into the Insurance Industry’s Commitment to Sustainability | Blog

Embracing sustainability in the insurance industry is not just a choice, but a necessity for a resilient future. By integrating Environmental, Social, and Governance considerations into their practices, insurers can mitigate risks and foster long-term value for customers, shareholders, and the planet.

Sustainability has been a pivotal issue for years, but the recent conditions induced by the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic effects and the escalating climate change impacts across the world have increased pressure on industries across the globe to be aware of their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) footprint. The financial services sector has not been behind in the race to drive the global sustainability agenda, largely driven by the BFS industry in the past. However, over the past few years, the insurance industry, being a key player in this sector, has also recognized the importance and urgency of embracing various practices in its operations to contribute to a sustainable planet. By integrating sustainability into various aspects of their operations, insurers are not only mitigating risks associated with climate change and environmental degradation but also fostering long-term resilience and contributing to a more sustainable future. This blog will explore how the insurance industry is driving the sustainable change through technological investments, product innovation, business processes, and disclosures.

With the increasing pressure from regulatory authorities, customers, employees, shareholders, and other market participants, insurance enterprises are striving to incorporate various aspects of sustainability into their business. Insurance firms are embracing sustainable change in a variety of ways, including through their investments, underwriting choices, and the structure of their insurance products, as well as using their own office buildings and making the vehicle fleet available to executives and staff. By integrating ESG considerations into their risk management, product design, internal operations, long-term strategies, and workforce management, many insurance firms have already started their journey toward becoming purpose-driven organizations and have begun to integrate sustainability with their core businesses.

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Exhibit 1: A look at various internal and external ways to incorporate sustainability

Incorporating sustainability in workforce management and internal processes has been the first step in creating sustainable change for most insurance enterprises. However, with the high awareness and responsibility in the play, insurers are now also increasingly moving toward adding sustainable insurance products in their catalog that address environmental and social challenges to become champions in the maturity continuum [Exhibit 2]. For instance, insurers offer green insurance policies at lower premium rates to incentivize environmentally friendly practices and offer coverage for renewable energy installations, energy-efficient buildings, and sustainable agriculture. Similarly, parametric insurance products provide rapid and efficient payouts in the event of natural disasters, helping communities recover faster and build resilience against climate change impacts. These innovative products not only protect clients against risks but also encourage sustainable change behaviors and contribute to a greener future.

Another impactful way in which insurers can increase their top line while promoting sustainability is by incorporating sustainability criteria into their investment policies, divesting from environmentally harmful industries, and investing in renewable energy projects. These actions not only align with the insurers’ values but also offer potential financial returns while mitigating climate-related risks.

Exhibit 2: Sustainability maturity continuum for insurance enterprises

Insurers need to prepare for sustainable change with the right technology and data architecture to achieve their sustainability goals, maintain transparency, and stay ahead of the regulatory disclosures requirements.

Insurers have been leveraging consulting partners to help them define their roadmap and strategies to achieve their sustainable agenda. But one of the biggest challenge  insurers face in this pursuit is the lack of robust data architecture to provide an understanding of the current ESG footprint, such as carbon emissions, energy consumption, energy mix, and employee well-being. As more insurer enterprises move toward becoming sustainability champions and provide transparency and disclosures to the regulatory bodies and other stakeholders, there will be increased opportunity for data and analytics providers to partner with the insurers to help them align their insurance portfolios with sustainability goals and manage ESG-related risks.

Additionally, collaboration with technology and IT service providers can help insurers build new products and solutions by leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as data analytics, AI, cloud computing, AR/VR, and blockchain that can boost the sustainability agenda along with unlocking fresh opportunities for generating revenue. Moreover, using technologies such as green/sustainable cloud to minimize operating expenses and carbon footprint while optimizing energy demand, predictive/prescriptive maintenance of equipment using IoT to limit energy and materials waste, and processing claims efficiently and sustainably by uploading photos and videos of damage through an AR/VR interface are some of the ways insurers can leverage technology to achieving their internal sustainability initiatives as well.

Exhibit 3: Utilizing cutting-edge technology to drive sustainable change

The insurance industry has recognized the urgent need to embrace sustainability and is taking significant steps to drive positive change. By integrating sustainability into investments, leveraging technological innovation, offering sustainable products, adopting environmentally responsible business processes, and promoting transparency through disclosures, insurers are playing a crucial role in addressing global sustainability challenges. As the industry continues to evolve, the integration of sustainability practices will become even more critical, enabling insurers to manage risks effectively, foster resilience, and contribute to a more sustainable future for all.

For more details on how the insurance industry is moving toward driving sustainable change and insuring a sustainable tomorrow, please refer to our report Insuring a Sustainable Tomorrow: How the Insurance Industry is Driving Positive Change.

The Power of Purpose: How Impact Sourcing Specialists are Transforming Lives | Blog

Seeing impact sourcing in action at Vindhya e-Infomedia validated to Everest Group that this growing business practice is more than a feel-good story but a win-win for individuals, companies, and communities. Hearing about the positive benefits firsthand from people with disabilities employed at the Bengaluru center left a lasting impression on the analysts who share their perspectives in this blog.

The Everest Group team was excited to see impact sourcing in practice, some for the first time, at Vindhya e-Infomedia, but they also had questions about whether impact sourcing would live up to its promise.

The visit to the Bengaluru center exceeded their expectations and reinforced that impact sourcing is a business imperative in today’s ESG-focused times. Highlights of the trip were meeting Vindhya e-Infomedia Founder and Managing Director Pavithra Y. Sundareshan and hearing from its employees.

Rita Soni with Pavithra Sundareshan, Founder and Managing Director, Vindhya e-Infomedia

Impact sourcing specialist Vindhya e-Infomedia was founded in 2006 with a vision of uniting business with impact. It has centers in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Mysore, and Krishnagiri (Tamil Nadu) and plans to expand across India and abroad.

Employing people with disabilities as its main workforce, the company provides data entry, claims processing, customer onboarding, payroll, and data management processes to such clients as Airtel, IBM, and SAP AG. With its team of more than 2,400 employees based in cities, Vindhya defies the stereotype that only small companies in India operate Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) centers in rural areas.

Impact sourcing specialists like Vindhya e-Infomedia intentionally hire people from marginalized communities and train them to deliver IT and BPO services. These providers offer economic opportunities to individuals who face difficulties in finding employment, such as people with disabilities, those from marginalized communities or without formal educational degrees, and single parents.

Hiring people from these target groups often requires organizations to enhance their physical and digital infrastructures and/or modify policies to create a conducive work environment. However, the idea is not to create separate work areas for impact hires but rather to bring inclusivity to everything at the workplace – a belief that runs at the very core of Vindhya’s operating system.

Inspiring employee stories

Impact sourcing has the power to change the trajectories of individuals’ lives, as the team learned from hearing about the backgrounds, job profiles, and aspirations of employees at the Bengaluru center. Their resilience, persistence, and tremendous willpower to achieve was uplifting to the analysts who focus their work on impact sourcing.

The team was truly inspired! Here are the stories of four individuals who demonstrated the ways impact sourcing is benefitting individuals, families, and communities:

Vidya Patil

  • Vidya Patil has been associated with Vindhya for eight years and currently handles banking payment collections and customer communications. Speaking in her native Marathi, she shared: “विंध्या सोबतचा ८ वर्षांचा हा प्रवास माझ्यासाठी अविश्वसनीय होता. अपंग व्यक्ती असुनही, विंध्या येथे नोकरी मिळाल्याने मला आर्थिक स्वातंत्र्य आणि स्वावलंबन मिळाले. या नोकरीमुळे, कुटुंबाबर अवलंबून असणार्या मला, कुटुंबाचा पोशिंदा बनवले. तसेच मला माझ्या भाचीच्या उच्च शिक्षणासाठी समर्थन करण्यासही सक्षम केले. विंध्याहे केवळ कामाचे ठिकाण नसुन; ते माझ्यासाठी दुसरे कुटुंब आहे. माझ्या भावाच्या आरोग्य आणीबाणीच्या काळात‌ त्यांनी दिलेल्या आर्थिक आणि भावनिक आधारासाठी, मी विंध्याची कायम ऋणी राहील”

“The job at Vindhya gave me financial freedom and self-reliance. It has transitioned me from being a dependent to a caretaker and a breadwinner for my family. With this job, I could support my family as well as support my niece’s higher education. Vindhya provided immense financial and emotional support to me during my brother’s medical emergency. Vindhya is not just a workplace but a family itself, and I will always be utterly grateful to Vindhya.”

Aman Birari in conversation with Vidya Patil

Digbijoy Adak

  • Digbijoy Adak spoke in Bengali about his experiences overcoming barriers to gain self-sufficiency: “আমি দশম ক্লাস অবধি পড়াশোনা করেছি | আমি কম্পিউটার ব্যবহার করতে জানি | যেহেতু আমার পড়াশোনা বেশি নয়, আমি কোনো ভালো সম্মানযোগ্য কাজ পাইনি | জীবন যাপনের জন্য আমি একটা ছোট অর্কেস্ট্রা দলের সঙ্গে কাজ করতাম | এই সময় আমি ভিন্ধিয়া কম্পানি সম্পর্কে জানতে পারি | আমার এক বন্ধু সেখানে কাজ করছিলো আর আমাকে এই ব্যাপারে জানিয়েছিল | আমি এখন খুবই খুশি | আমি ভিন্ধিয়া-তে কাজ করতে পেরে একজন স্বাবলম্বী এবং স্বনির্ভর মানুষ হিসেবে পরিচিতি পেয়েছি |”

“I had completed my 10th grade education and knew how to use computers. However, since I was not highly educated, I was not able to find a good respectable job. I used to work with a small orchestra group for my livelihood. During that time, I came to know about Vindhya. A friend of mine was working here and informed me about it. I am very happy now. I have found a job in Vindhya and have become a self-sufficient and independent person.”

What he did not say directly but implied, is that his disability has been an unjust cause of discrimination in the past. At Vindhya, one’s disability status is not a barrier to a good job.

N Yashoda

  • Having a hearing impairment does not prevent N Yashoda from excelling at converting documents from paper to digital. With her lip-reading skills and the aid of an experienced sign language translator/guide, Yashoda has fully integrated into Vindhya’s operations.
The Everest Group team with N Yashoda

Madhabi Sardar

  • Madhabi Sardar has a master’s degree, but a visual impairment prevented her from gaining a decent, well-paid job – until Vindhya. She now heads the braille team and aims to become a singing maestro in the future, showing it’s never too late to dream big.

The real significance of this business practice can be seen in the countless lives touched by the dignity of a good job, as these inspiring and heart-warming stories show.

Impact sourcing obstacles

Like any journey, even this one has obstacles. Impact sourcing often requires an extensive process to access the right talent. Additionally, investments in skilling and upskilling resources pose a challenge in managing high training costs.

The lack of benchmarks to measure key performance indicators (KPIs) or evaluate success makes it difficult to prepare appropriate success stories and business cases for impact sourcing. However, impact sourcing specialists are implementing robust practices to mitigate these challenges, and meaningful collaboration among all involved stakeholders is needed.

The visit was an eye-opening, humbling experience for the team who saw that the benefits of impact sourcing go beyond providing a paycheck but also give individuals a sense of community and belonging.

Aman Birari, Rita Soni and Anik Dutta showing the hand sign for love with Vindhya’s Pavithra Sundareshan (second from the left).

Pavitra’s parting words that impact sourcing is about ‘shared prosperity’ resounded with the analysts. Building partnerships to create an impact that benefits all involved stakeholders is needed to move the practice forward.

Everest Group commitment

The visit reinforced Everest Group’s commitment to advancing impact sourcing globally. As a signatory of the Clinton Global Initiative’s “Commitment to Action,” the firm has pledged to bring in half a million impact sourcing full-time equivalents (FTEs) into the ecosystem by the end of 2025 and has committed its research and expertise to help enterprises frame their impact sourcing strategies.

For more insights on measuring and using data for better business outcomes, register for the virtual roundtable, Measuring the Impact of Impact Sourcing. To discuss impact sourcing, reach out to [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected].

Inspiring Development Dialogue Event Demonstrates the Transformative Force of Impact Sourcing | Blog

Impact sourcing can transform individual lives, create diverse and inclusive workforces for employers, and deliver economic benefits to entire communities. Hearing first-hand about the power of impact sourcing at the Development Dialogue gathering in India was inspiring for our sustainability analyst, who explores what is impact sourcing in this blog. 

An idea does not have an impact unless it is directed at some burning problem in the world.” – Gururaj Deshpande, co-founder of the Deshpande Foundation

This intriguing and thought-provoking statement set the stage for the recent Development Dialogue international gathering in Hubli, an ideal setting to better understand sustainable development issues at a grassroots level and to behold rural transformation at its best.

Our Everest team was uplifted to attend this two-day event led by stalwarts like Infosys Founder Narayana Murthy, iMerit Founder and CEO Radha Basu, and DeHaat Founder and CEO Shashank Kumar among many technology, finance, education, and agriculture experts.

Capturing our interest the most from the event was seeing the entire impact sourcing ecosystem and the important role all stakeholders play – starting with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide valuable skills training to the employers that implement impactful innovation and sourcing in principle and practice.

Why is impact sourcing so critical today?

In a world where technology is driving growth and global competition at an unprecedented pace, people in certain rural pockets of the world are left behind. Many individuals simply want to enter the workforce, earn a decent living, and enjoy a dignified life.

While many governments have implemented policies and programs to help marginalized communities, war-torn countries, and radicalized groups that prohibit females from receiving an education or gaining financial independence still sadly exist.

At this critical juncture, people in these communities desperately need direction, skills, and the confidence to transform their lives. The impact sourcing ecosystem plays a critical role in helping these individuals. Let’s explore this growing business practice further.

What is impact sourcing?

Impact sourcing is a business practice where companies intentionally hire and provide career development opportunities to individuals who may have limited access to formal education, resources, and opportunities.

This powerful concept has the potential to change the trajectories of people from marginalized communities. Here are some real-life examples that we heard at Development Dialogue of how impact sourcing is making a difference that left a lasting impression and demonstrated the power of resilience, courage, and determination:

  • Vaishnavi, a bright 8th-grade student at a state government high school, is the first girl in her entire family to pursue secondary education. Her impeccable English and story about finding the confidence to talk to her doctor in English about health issues captivated and inspired the audience
  • Innus Khan was expected to take over his modest family business in While he yearned for independence, his rural upbringing deprived him of essential job skills. He joined Deshpande Foundation to learn English and digital skills and is now Senior Director of Agriculture Initiatives
  • Rukmini, the first female auto driver in a small village in Uttar Pradesh, is a single mother who received a car loan from Rang De, a social investment institution. Rukmini’s reputation as a responsible driver, particularly for school children, has made her the village’s most sought-after driver. Her journey is a testament to perseverance and strength

Impact sourcing benefits Top of Form

By providing opportunities for individuals who may have limited access to formal education or resources, impact sourcing enables job seekers to gain valuable skills and work experience. Not only does impact sourcing transform individual lives, but it also has a multiplier economic impact on families and entire communities.

At the same time, impact sourcing can help companies create diverse and inclusive workforces and provide a cost-effective solution to the current talent crisis. By tapping into this attractive talent pool, businesses can access a new source of skilled labor, often at lower costs than traditional hiring methods.

This can help businesses reduce operational costs while maintaining high-quality standards and increasing retention rates by hiring dedicated workers that studies show stay with the companies longer.

Impact sourcing commitment

Everest Group believes that by working together, we can help create a more inclusive and sustainable global economy. As a signatory of the Clinton Global Initiative’s “Commitment to Action,” Everest Group has pledged to increase the impact sourcing workforce by connecting hundreds of thousands of marginalized individuals to new jobs.

The company has set a goal to grow the impact sourcing market from its current level of 350,000 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employees to half a million in three years. To achieve this goal, Everest Group is providing research and enablement tools, sharing best practices, and collaborating with enterprises, service providers, governments, and NGOs.

Everest Group is developing a playbook to help organizations incorporate impact sourcing into hiring practices. Please continue to follow this space for the latest developments and contact Susmitha Devisetty or Anik Dutta with any questions.

For more insights from our team from Development Dialogue 2023, please see Driving Social Transformation: The Power of Impact Sourcing on India’s Rural Economy.

Learn more about how to grow sustainability within your organization in our webinar, Sustainability in the New Year: Follow Through on Resolutions for People and the Planet.

Driving Social Transformation: The Power of Impact Sourcing on India’s Rural Economy | Blog

By working together, employers, training institutions, the government, and other stakeholders can create a sustainable and inclusive impact sourcing movement in India that empowers the rural population and drives overall social transformation. Read on to learn about the benefits of impact sourcing and the role each group can play to advance this powerful business practice.

My eyes were fully opened to the transformative impact social organizations can have on rural populations as a first-time attendee to Development Dialogue 2023, an international gathering of diverse sectors with the common purpose of creating sustainable solutions, organized by the Deshpande Foundation in Hubli, Karnataka, India.

While I had done some basic research on the foundation’s operations, I never expected to be surprised by the social impact on the local rural economic development from their work that includes farmer support, start-up and micro-entrepreneur programs, and a youth skilling initiative.

Hearing a 14-year-old girl from a small village near Hubli conversing in fluent English with tremendous confidence with dignitaries such as Infosys Founder N.R. Narayana Murthy and Founder and CEO of iMerit Radha Basu amazed me.

This was the moment I realized the real empowerment and impact that NGOs and organizations such as Deshpande Foundation have on the rural population. These enabling institutions educate and train the rural youth population with job-ready communications and technical skills to improve their employment prospects and advance impact sourcing in India.

Pic with Legends

What is impact sourcing?

Impact sourcing involves intentionally hiring and providing career development opportunities to people from marginalized communities. This business practice aims to meet objectives such as maintaining service quality and cost at parity with traditional Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Information Technology Service (ITS) providers, fulfilling Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Environmental Social Governance (ESG), and diversity objectives of both the business and their clients, and leveraging the unique assets of the target marginalized group.

Impact sourcing creates opportunities for such groups as economically-disadvantaged individuals, women, minorities, LGBTQ+ individuals, survivors of gender-based violence, persons with disabilities, veterans, military spouses, refugees, rural residents, and single parents.

Impact sourcing in India

As one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, India has rapidly expanded its metro cities and developing urban regions in recent years. Almost all higher education facilities and formal sector employment opportunities are concentrated in the metros or tier-I cities.

Meanwhile, more than 64% of the population resides in rural areas with limited growth options. BPO companies in metro and tier-I cities face a severe talent crunch due to high contact center agent attrition rates. Shifting urban BPO centers to rural areas not only reduces operational expenses but also provides job opportunities to the rural population.

To drive major social impact through inclusive hiring models, India needs to create a policy and institutional environment to improve employment opportunities for the rural population that includes the value chain’s three main stakeholders: government support, NGOs/training institutes, and employer organizations.

Currently, India needs more private organizations, NGOs, and training institutes focusing on sustainable rural economic and social development. Increased impact sourcing initiatives are critical to improve job opportunities and drive overall social transformation. Let’s look at the role each of these groups can play:

Role of skilling institutions

Some of the prominent NGOs and training institutes working towards these goals include:

  • Deshpande Foundation, through Deshpande Skilling, focuses on skill development and training elementary and middle-school students as well as graduates from tier II and III towns and villages
  • Anudip Foundation, an NGO in partnership with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), concentrates on providing technical training to Indian youth from underprivileged communities
  • Youth4Jobs focuses on the education and employment of persons with disabilities. Many similar NGOs focus on making unemployed youth job-ready by skilling them with technical education and developing soft skills

Support from government

To promote impact sourcing among disadvantaged rural communities, the government has launched numerous initiatives for skill development, including Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), the Employability Enhancement Training Programme (EETP), and the National Employability Enhancement Mission (NEEM).

NASSCOM Foundation frequently uses the mantra of “technology for good” and “changing India bit by bit” to encourage private organizations to actively participate in creating a sustainable impact sourcing movement.

Need for private sector participation

While some organizations such as B2R, Genpact, HGS, iMerit, IndiVillage, Infosys, Rural Shores, and Vindhya have taken steps towards impact sourcing and rural BPO, India needs active participation from all major private organizations.

Impact sourcing offers a compelling business case that goes beyond “doing good.” Studies have shown that impact-sourcing workers are more tenacious, dedicated, and hardworking, with very low attrition rates.

Shifting to rural areas not only reduces infrastructure and operational expenses but also lowers recruitment and training costs, resulting in overall cost savings for organizations. Enterprises also gain community support and social recognition by practicing impact sourcing while contributing to social transformation.

Everest Group, in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), has pledged to increase the impact sourcing workforce across the globe. Through our Commitment to Action proposal, the firm provides a platform for impact sourcing stakeholders to connect and access our research on the global impact sourcing market.

To learn more about Deshpande Foundations’ Development Dialogue event, read this blog, Inspiring Development Dialogue Event Demonstrates the Transformative Force of Impact Sourcing.

If you have questions or want to join other organizations that have already taken this pledge, contact Aman Birari.

Learn more about impact sourcing trends and drivers leading to impact sourcing demand in our LinkedIn Live session, What Are the Benefits and Barriers of Impact Sourcing in CXM? 

Can Joint Innovation and Public-private Partnerships Prove to be the Noah’s Ark for Africa? | Blog

Almost 200 countries came together at the Climate Change Conference (COP 27) in Egypt last month to take action toward achieving the world’s collective climate goals. Among the event highlights was the establishment of a fund to assist the nations most vulnerable and impacted by the effects of climate change. Read on for key takeaways from COP 27 and implications for the Global South.

The much-anticipated conference, dubbed the Africa COP, marked 30 years since the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). While much has transpired and the planet has come a long way in its fight against climate change since then, some nations have been left behind in achieving their carbon goals and are not experiencing the intended benefits.

Developing nations have long sought financial assistance to rebuild their social and physical infrastructure, but the World Bank and other publicly-funded lending institutions have failed to fulfill these growing needs. To address this issue, the UNFCCC, backed by the United Nations Environment Program and several attendee governments, launched a five-year work program to fund and promote smart technology solutions in developing nations, opening ground for tech providers to display their capabilities in the space.

COP 27 proved to be an instrumental platform for service providers and Big Tech players to engage in sustainability conversations and highlight their contributions towards the planet and its people.

The bridge towards a sustainable future must be pillared by collaboration and joint innovation in technology. Partnerships can be seen as the key to climate adaptation and mitigation. Many of these collaborations focus on marrying Artificial Intelligence (AI) and satellite technology. Some examples include:

  • IBM is partnering with UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council, among others, to leverage innovations in indexing multidimensional climate data to rapidly discover climate-relevant information from aerial imagery, maps, Internet of Things (IoT), drones, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) scanning, satellites, weather predictions, and climate change projections
  • Microsoft collaborated with Planet Labs PBC and The Nature Conservancy to build the Global Renewables Watch – a first-of-its-kind living atlas intended to map and measure all utility-scale solar and wind installations on Earth using AI and satellite imagery
  • Using high-quality geospatial data for disaster predictions and mitigation is very common in the more developed countries, whereas the Global South often lacks the resources and talent to generate and analyze reliable climate data. Partnerships among various stakeholders can bridge the climate data gap. Microsoft has committed to democratizing climate solutions in Africa by combining its AI prowess with Planet Labs PBC’s satellite imagery

The Loss and Damage Fund marked a momentous win for the Global South

As organizations do their part to help the Global South, COP 27 set a milestone by recognizing the disproportionate exposure of the poorer nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to climate change consequences. Established after years of appeals by the developing nations to compensate for losses due to climate disasters, the fund is viewed as a major political step to provide the appellants with a sense of justice and rebuild trust among nations.

Let’s take a look at other key implications for the Global South:

  • Africa’s climate needs remain underfunded – While a step in the right direction, the Loss and Damage fund needs to be backed by effective policies and infrastructure to be beneficial. Historically, the funds promised by developed nations toward climate impact haven’t been fully disbursed or equitably distributed. The Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) noted that of the meager 25% of global climate investments that crossed the borders towards developing nations, Sub-Saharan Africa mobilized only 3% despite being the most vulnerable to climate adversities
  • Global efforts and African needs are misaligned – Africa’s situation calls for urgent climate impact adaptation, but global climate funds and collaborations announced by service providers are only directed towards mitigation of climate impact
  • African leaders will rethink their engagement with multilateral initiatives – African nations will further their strategies for adaptation and energy generation considering their primary concerns of poverty alleviation and economic development. Thus, the African region ranks as an attractive climate-related investment opportunity for private players. According to CPI data, private finance comprises half the global climate finance yet stands at just about 14% in Africa
  • ESG regulations in Africa will become more stringent – As African nations advance in their sustainability journeys and try to attract foreign private investment, they will follow the global trend and strengthen their ESG regulations. Among many countries planning to launch such frameworks this year, Uganda referenced a “sustainable financial system” in its recent five-year plan

This opens several opportunities for service providers and consultants as more enterprises will require their expertise to transition to sustainable models. The increased volumes of ESG data generated will create opportunities for data analytics players, helping to bridge the climate data gap.

The world remains bullish on Africa’s future

COP 27 concluded on an optimistic note as technology, transparent funding, and developing nations’ needs became central to the climate resilience discussions. Innovative solutions across sectors are moving stakeholders closer to achieving their climate pledges.

Organizations are collaborating and prioritizing community impact in developing nations. Public-private partnerships toward sustainable models will make technology and welfare more accessible in these regions. With changing geo-political scenarios, Africa will prove to be an attractive opportunity for various investors and service providers.

To discuss further, please reach out to Rita Soni and Ambika Kini.

Rita Soni, Principal Analyst, Impact Sourcing & Sustainability Research

Email ID: [email protected]



Ambika Kini, Senior Analyst

Email ID: [email protected]



The Role of ESG in IT Services Pricing: Is There a Case for a Green Premium? | Blog

Service providers who lead in green engineering and can produce significantly more carbon-efficient software have an opportunity to price their sustainable IT services at higher premiums and pioneer this emerging space. Read on to explore more on IT services pricing in today’s ESG-focused marketplace.  

In the book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need, Bill Gates popularizes the concept of a Green Premium. Simply put, a Green Premium is the incremental charge/cost that buyers must pay to use a clean technology over a “dirty” one.

Now, this isn’t a new notion by any means. Consumers pay more for products that are marked “organic” and happily shell out extra bucks for greener packaging or responsibly-sourced coffee. Green Premiums exist because organizations typically incur more costs to deliver cleaner products and services. But they also generate pricing power due to differentiation.

This concept has mostly restricted itself to mass usage products in a business-to-consumer setting. Can IT service providers replicate this in the enterprise technology marketplace? By introducing sustainability into the technology services, is there a case for a Green Premium?

We believe two distinct paths can lead to a Green Premium in IT services pricing – an external-facing route and an internal one. Let’s explore the external opportunity first.

Green software

While building software, the most important priorities are typically user-centric – user experience, performance, latency, security, etc. Developing carbon-efficient software has never been a core objective. And in the process, the impact of emerging technologies has largely gone unnoticed. Only recently has a host of research been published pointing out the tremendous negative impact the likes of blockchain and artificial intelligence could have on the planet. For example, according to a study performed at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2019, training a single Artificial Intelligence model can cause as much carbon emission as five cars in their lifetimes. No one saw that coming!

But we do see emerging signs of this changing. There is an industry-wide push towards greener software development practices. This includes steps such as considering the carbon impact of architectural decisions, choosing more energy-efficient languages, using data practices that reduce redundancy, and building more hardware-efficient applications. Given that this is an emerging field, there is no single service provider who does it better. And this creates a unique opportunity for service providers to aim for leadership in this blue ocean and materially differentiate their services

Providers who can lead in green software engineering and produce significantly more carbon-efficient software will differentiate themselves from competitors around parameters that genuinely matter to enterprises today. Alongside typical cost savings quoted in most proposals, future slide decks might have a percentage reduction in carbon emissions as one of the key benefits to the enterprise.

Getting the internal act together

Now, let’s explore the internal route that could lead to Green Premiums. Alongside providing green software engineering practices, service providers need to focus on achieving environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. A provider who leads in green software engineering but scores low on ESG metrics might not be able to establish credibility with clients.

Sooner than later, enterprises will inevitably start to consider ESG as a key parameter in their sourcing strategy. Traditionally, ESG parameters were mere check-the-box or good-to-have selection criteria. But according to Everest Group research, they are now becoming deal-breakers – or makers – in many instances. We expect to start seeing enterprises look for energy efficiency, impact sourcing, community impact, board-level governance, and transparency/disclosure standards. Service providers who score high on these metrics will be able to materially differentiate themselves against the competition.

The way forward

The primary challenge in this entire process lies in being able to calculate the exact Green Premium of sustainable IT services. No consensus exists yet. Both internal-facing ESG initiatives and cutting-edge green software engineering practices require investments from service providers and are inherently more expensive. A first mover in this space will face this challenge but also have an opportunity to literally set the benchmark.

In an increasingly commoditized industry, ESG offers promise for technology service providers to set themselves apart by creating truly differentiated services. As any ardent observer of the industry will acknowledge, such occasions are few and far between.

Are you a service provider aiming for leadership in this space? As an enterprise, are your providers exploring this opportunity to the fullest? Let me know by reaching out to [email protected] to discuss the emerging topic of ESG and its impact on IT services pricing.

Also, don’t miss our webinar, Key Issues for 2023: Rise Above Economic Uncertainty and Succeed, as we explore major concerns, expectations, and key trends expected to amplify in 2023.

Unlock a New Source of Value Creation – Integrate Sustainability into the GBS Charter to Help BFS Firms Realize Their ESG Goals | Blog

Global Business Services (GBS) organizations have a big opportunity to champion Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) in banking and financial services (BFS) institutions. To learn about six ways GBS organizations can help enterprises reach their ESG goals and unlock greater value, read on.

ESG is creating new opportunities for BFS Global Business Services organizations. Fast-evolving consumer awareness about social, political, and environmental values, emerging regulations, and increased demand for sustainable financial products are pressuring BFS firms to prioritize ESG goals in operations and employment.

Let’s explore the significant role GBS units can play in enabling ESG for enterprises.

ESG products and services emerge

To meet new customer and investor expectations along with regulatory mandates, BFS organizations are building ESG products and services – such as green loans, sustainability-linked loans, and carbon-neutral banking – to make their operations sustainable.

Capital market firms are embracing green underwriting, while asset and wealth managers are steadily moving toward ESG investing. These organizations are also focusing on workplace diversity, pay equity, and good governance structure to meet their ESG aspirations.

This has created a big opportunity for GBS organizations to move from being measured for their labor arbitrage and cost efficiency to the value they can deliver to enterprises. These units can become vital to the enterprise’s ESG agenda by expanding their sustainable service offerings and conducting ESG-specific due diligence and risk assessment. GBS centers’ strong visibility across the enterprise’s functions, operations, and capabilities to support their ESG initiatives will drive this new focus.

Six ways GBS organizations can support enterprise ESG goals and commitments

As BFS organizations increasingly look for ways to support and grow their businesses with an impact-driven mindset, GBS organizations should be at the forefront of defining and internalizing ESG goals.

The new environment has opened up many avenues for GBS organizations to maximize the value they can deliver and become ESG enablers for their enterprises. For a deep dive into the opportunities summarized below, please read our newly released research.

See how GBS organizations can promote ESG initiatives within the enterprise in the image below.

Picture1 5

GBS organizations can enable the following key opportunities for BFS firms:

  • Enhance sustainable investing practices – Support enterprise banks by running/enhancing sustainable investment initiatives, such as portfolio optimization and expansion, and positive and negative screening of these portfolios
  • Develop new sustainable products – Identify feasible opportunities to expand the green product portfolio for their respective enterprises following the regulatory and competitive landscape
  • Proactive ESG risk monitoring – Build on their roles in supporting enterprises in managing various risk types such as liquidity, credit, and operational so GBS can be leveraged as specialist ESG risk management centers by enterprises
  • ESG performance tracking and reporting – Set up dedicated ESG performance reporting teams at GBS centers, which, in turn, will own the management and execution of ESG performance tracking and reporting tasks
  • ESG compliance reporting – Track ESG-specific regulatory developments across different countries where the enterprise has an operational footprint. Accordingly, it can assess the impact of newly introduced mandates or disclosures requirements on the enterprise’s existing compliance processes
  • Implement ESG commitments of the enterprise – Undertake sustainability initiatives to integrate the ESG goals of the enterprise across its own operations, people, and functions. For example, a leading US investment bank committed to incorporating sustainability-focused features such as energy-efficient lighting and minimized water consumption policies in its new technology base in Poland. Similarly, a major European bank’s GBS center has been working since 2009 on a Train Green Program aimed at creating sustainability awareness among school children

Call to action for BFS GBS leaders

As GBS organizations take on more strategic roles, it becomes imperative for them to step up and become ESG enablers for their enterprises. To do this, GBS leadership must champion the development of ESG-specific capabilities and prioritize initiatives to drive enterprises’ ESG agendas, while embedding ESG and sustainability practices into their service delivery and operations.

To discuss how we can assist your enterprise with achieving your ESG goals, reach out to Sakshi Garg [email protected], Piyush Dubey [email protected], and Mohini Jindal [email protected].

Discover more about how to integrate sustainability and ESG initiatives into your organization in our upcoming webinar, Driving Larger-scale Adoption of Impact Sourcing from the Inside Out.

CIOs Meeting ESG Commitments Must Go Beyond Reducing Carbon Footprint | Blog

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives and investments are growing in importance and starting to significantly influence the marketplace, particularly for services and products. Almost every large company in the world now has an ESG agenda, comprising CEO and leadership team formal commitments to their boards and other stakeholders. Those commitments now are moving down in the organization to the different functional heads, including the CIO, for IT’s share of the responsibility for meeting the company’s commitments.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

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