Category: ESG and Sustainability

From Buzzwords to Reality: Impact Sourcing and AI for Social and Business Advancement | Blog

Discover the transformative power of impact sourcing firsthand through Everest Group’s sustainability teams’ eye-opening visit to a NextWealth center in rural India.

Stepping out of our vehicle after a sixhour trip from our office in Bengaluru, Karnataka, to visit Mahendra NextWealths center in Mallasamudram (near Salem) in Tamil Nadu, little did we know how profoundly our convictions about impact sourcing would deepen. Terms such as automation, AI, inclusion, and sustainability are typically discussed as separate buzzwords in organizations; impact sourcing commendably brings them together. The Everest Group team quickly saw NextWealth’s operationalization of the impact sourcing model seamlessly combines the two worlds. Let’s share more about what we saw during our visit in this blog.

Seeing impact sourcing in action

NextWealth was founded in 2008 to employ graduates in less populated small Indian towns with colleges but limited job opportunities. The founders are Wipro veterans who have made a conscious decision to create opportunities that do not require migration to cities, maintaining social cohesion. Yet the service offerings do not differ from traditional providers, including AI/Machine Learning (AI/ML), Information Technology (IT) services, and Business Process Services (BPS) under a managed services model. Their diverse set of clients include tech, e-commerce, fintech, banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), and healthcare.

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The Everest Group team with the NextWealth team in Mallasamudram, Tamil Nadu, India.

Leveraging impact sourcing to drive business growth: a three-pillar approach

Everest Group has written extensively about the variety of ways businesses can integrate impact sourcing with their operational strategies. NextWealth specifically achieves this by using a threepillar approach focused on:

  1. Strategic talent location: Hiring the right talent by establishing centers in areas with an ample workforce yet limited career opportunities in those locations
  1. Promising markets: Targeting high-growth services such as data annotation and AI solutions that allow the company to scale operations
  1. Systematic skills development: Creating step-by-step-based training modules for the delivery of services, resulting in increased efficiency and quality, as well as transferable talent

 

Impact sourcing through strategic location selection 

The primary qualifications for impact sourcing are employing typically excluded individuals in a deliberate manner. NextWealth intentionally hires graduates, particularly women, with limited access to quality jobs from India’s smaller cities, creating positive social impact and business gains. The centers are established in towns with colleges, thereby guaranteeing a stream of graduates. These locations also have a reliable internet connection (physical and digital infrastructure), a stable operating and business environment, and cultural ties to the community, including Chittoor, Hubli, Bhilai, Vellore, Puducherry, and Udaipur.  

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NextWealth’s team briefs the Everest Group analysts on how they use data annotation to automate security scans for luggage at airports and railway stations.

Delivery of high-growth services through sustained employment and skilling

Much of the societal discussion about generative AI (gen AI) is the elimination of jobs because of efficiency and automated tasks. Instead, we saw how embracing gen AI can also enable job creation. The NextWealth delivery we witnessed included AI/ML training data solutions, customer experience (CX) design, and auditing these solutions. We saw self-checkout store error analyses, product fraud detection design, and product placement with marketing tools. These services are delivered after rigorous training on the solutions and feedback loops to improve quality/efficiency.

The ultimate objective of impact sourcing is social impact 

Here are some of the social impact outcomes that particularly impressed the analysts and left a lasting mark:  

  • The recruitment focus on women has begun to reshape the perception of their role in society. Their marriage age in surrounding communities has increased by 2.5 years 
  • Hybrid work options have enabled many who might otherwise be unable to pursue careers 
  • The low attrition rate of about 12% is an indicator of a positive workplace culture and employee experience. It has also afforded the opportunity to promote within 

As we set out on our journey back from Mallasarudram to Bengaluru, the fatigue of the trip was overshadowed by the wonder of what we had just experienced. While we are aware of the constant Darwinian evolution of the global services industry, it was truly incredible to witness in practice a firm leveraging impact sourcing to create broader societal impact through a sustainable and prosperous business model. 

Read more about Everest Group’s impact sourcing research and our latest report, Impact Sourcing for Sustainable Development and a Brighter Future: Impact Sourcing State of the Market 2023. Contact the analysts who visited NextWealth: Rita N. Soni, Aiswarya Barjatya, Kanishka Chakraborty, and Mohammed Riyaz.

Navigating the Summit: Tech’s Role in Achieving the World Economic Forum’s 2024 Vision | Blog

Technology stands at the forefront in realizing Davos 2024’s vision of “Rebuilding Trust.” By providing innovative strategies and solutions, the technology sector can help address cybersecurity, job creation, artificial intelligence, and climate challenges. For a preview of the critical topics that world leaders will address at the annual event, read on.

As we stand on the precipice of a new year, the global community is gearing up for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos. This pivotal event from Jan. 15-19 brings together leaders from across industries to collectively address the world’s most pressing challenges.

In 2024, the spotlight is on “Rebuilding Trust,” with a focus on restoring collective agency and reinforcing fundamental principles of transparency, consistency, and accountability among leaders. Let’s take a glimpse into the themes that will shape the conversations at Davos. Also, see this LinkedIn Live, Pressing Global Issues and Solutions in Tech: Reflections on WEF Davos ’24, for key takeaways from the WEF annual meeting and major trends in the climate and sustainability tech and services industry that are changing the marketplace in 2024.

The 2024 theme: Rebuilding trust

The overarching theme for Davos 2024 underscores the critical need to rebuild trust in a world marked by fractures and uncertainties. The summit aims to catalyze actionable solutions that transcend borders and industries, placing businesses at the forefront of global collaboration.

Against this backdrop, the role of the technology and technology services sectors takes center stage, offering innovative strategies and solutions to address the following four subtopics outlined for this year’s summit:

  1. Achieving security and cooperation in a fractured world

In an era of geopolitical complexities, achieving security and cooperation is paramount. The technology sector, with its expertise in cybersecurity and collaborative technologies, has a unique role to play. Beyond safeguarding digital assets, tech can foster global cooperation through secure communication platforms and advanced analytics for early threat detection.

  1. Creating growth and jobs for a new era

For the technology services sector, the second subtopic hits close to home. The emphasis on creating growth and jobs in a new era aligns with impact sourcing, an inclusive talent strategy that empowers marginalized communities by providing them with meaningful employment opportunities. As we navigate an ever-evolving workforce landscape, technology can be a driving force in fostering inclusive economic growth.

  1. Artificial intelligence as a driving force for the economy and society

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has already transformed the technology and technology services sectors, and its impact is only poised to expand further. From personalizing training programs to enhancing productivity and offering expanded service offerings, AI is a linchpin in shaping the future of work. Davos provides an unparalleled platform to discuss responsible AI practices that prioritize ethical considerations and human-centric approaches.

  1. A long-term strategy for climate, nature, and energy

The urgency of addressing climate change has never been more evident. The technology sector is pivotal in developing sustainable solutions and innovative approaches to mitigate climate change’s impact. From energy-efficient technologies to data-driven insights for environmental conservation, tech leaders at Davos can forge a path toward a greener, more sustainable future.

As Everest Group anticipates the discussions at Davos, we recognize the transformative role that the technology and technology services sectors can play. By aligning with the summit’s themes and subtopics, the tech industry has the potential to contribute significantly to rebuilding trust and shaping a more inclusive, sustainable, and prosperous global future. for a LinkedIn Live conversation on Feb. 7 with analysts Arpita Dwivedi and Rita N. Soni, and tech expert Marisa Zalabak as we navigate the summit and bring you insights into the pivotal role of technology in achieving Davos 2024’s vision.

A Bright Start at COP28: Progress and Pledges for a Sustainable Future with Technology as a Key Enabler | Blog

Our Everest Group team is pleased to share their analysis of positive developments from the first two days of COP28, with a specific focus on the global technology and tech services industries, in this blog. With positive momentum building, the outlook in the collective journey toward a more sustainable future is looking brighter.

Day 1: A historic leap forward

Creation of the loss and damage fund for the global south

The first day of COP28 was nothing short of historic. The formal creation of the Loss and Damage Fund for the Global South was a key highlight. This initiative marks a crucial step in addressing the disproportionate impact of climate change on vulnerable nations. The commitment of US$400 million in pledges is a testament to the global community’s dedication to creating a more equitable and resilient world.

Contributions from multiple nations to support climate adaptation in vulnerable regions

Notable contributors to the fund include the COP28 hosts, the UAE, with a generous pledge of US$100 million. Germany and the US also stepped up, pledging US$100 million and US$17 million, respectively. The UK, demonstrating its commitment to climate action, pledged £60 million. These pledges will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in supporting climate adaptation and mitigation efforts in the most vulnerable regions.

What does this mean for the sustainability enablement services market?

The funding can act as a political push for these nations to adopt technology to enable sustainable businesses and mitigate climate risks. Currently, Everest Group has observed a surge in sustainability technology adoption in developing countries. Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) data reporting, Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven crop management, and Internet of Things (IoT)-led water management solutions are gaining traction. Evolving reporting standards and the imperative for climate-resilient business practices will drive the scalability of sustainability-enabling technologies in these regions.

Day 2: The United States takes center stage by addressing methane management as a crucial step for reaching net zero emissions

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces regulations on methane leaks

The second day of COP28 brought a wave of positive news, particularly from the United States. Michael S. Regan, Administrator of the EPA, announced groundbreaking regulations aimed at addressing leaks of greenhouse gases (GHGs) like methane. Methane, the second most abundant greenhouse gas, contributes significantly to global warming.

Methane management requires predictive technologies and strict reporting frameworks

Efficient methane management requires precise methane measurement and prioritizing reporting. While the EPA has taken an important step towards regulating methane leaks, methane-emitting industries (like oil and gas) need to move towards a ‘predict and prevent’ model of methane management. These industries should leverage AI and IoT-based methane management platforms that track and measure methane emissions and prevent methane leaks using predictive analytics.

Duke Energy, for example, has collaborated with Accenture and Microsoft to build a first-of-its-kind, end-to-end Azure-based cloud platform that monitors baseline methane emissions from natural gas distribution assets (e.g., pipelines, gas meters), using satellite monitoring, analytics, and AI.

Industry coalitions underpin methane management, as players recognize the value of collaboration in reaching net zero emissions

The Global Decarbonization Accelerator, a coalition of 50 oil and gas companies representing over 40% of global production, made a resounding commitment to reduce methane emissions by 80-90% by 2030. This ambitious pledge demonstrates a growing industry recognition of the urgent need to transition towards cleaner and more sustainable practices.

In addition to industry commitments and public sector regulation, philanthropic efforts also took the spotlight. Bloomberg Philanthropies unveiled a $40 million program focused on transparency and accountability in methane reduction initiatives. This program is a crucial step towards ensuring that efforts to curb methane emissions are not only ambitious but also measurable and accountable. We see the potential for scaled partnerships with the private sector. A model of shared responsibility and accountability, with collaboration as a central vision, is necessary for methane mitigation.

What does this mean for the sustainability enablement services market?

The players in the sustainability enablement services landscape can expect higher demand for net zero services, along with solutions like emission management platforms and tools. Technology players and service providers should focus on forming collaborations with their client groups to advance research and pilot more solutions in this space.

Moving forward with optimism

As we reflect on the first two days of COP28, it is clear that we are witnessing a historic turning point in the global fight against climate change. The establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund, coupled with significant pledges, coalitions, and regulatory advancements, sends a powerful message that the world is ready to take bold action.

Everest Group constituents in the global technology and technology services industries have an important role to play in these efforts. We remain committed to helping providers navigate the sustainability enablement opportunity to help guide their clients toward a more resilient and environmentally conscious future.

As we continue our journey through COP28, let’s remain optimistic and committed to the shared goal of a sustainable and resilient future. Together, we can turn these pledges into impactful actions that will benefit not only our current generation but also those to come. Reach out to Rita Soni, [email protected], Arpita Dwivedi, [email protected], Meenakshi Narayanan, [email protected], or Ambika Kini, [email protected] for further discussion.

To learn more about key takeaways from the COP28 conference, watch our LinkedIn Live session, Building a Sustainable Future: Reflections on COP28 and Insights for 2024.

Promoting Advanced Technologies at COP28 Can Propel Immediate Energy Optimization Action | Blog

As nations gather at COP28, prioritizing technology-driven optimization can pave the way for sustainable energy progression. Explore how advanced energy monitoring and optimization technologies can help enterprises transition from fossil fuels to renewables.

Note, this blog is part of Everest Group’s continued coverage of COP28. For our analysis of the first two days of the United Nations Climate Change conference, see our prior posting.

COP28 marks a crucial moment for discussions on moving from fossil fuels to renewables. This year’s meeting is especially important as nations reveal their plans for tackling climate change. The urgency is clear, highlighted by the Global Stocktake revealing the world is falling short of the Paris Agreement goals. COP28 is a key moment for the energy sector, offering an opportunity for governments to make bold commitments and speed up the transition.

In this context, enterprises worldwide are increasingly recognizing the imperative to transition towards renewable energy sources, driven by both environmental concerns and a growing commitment to sustainable practices. The appeal of renewables, such as solar and wind power, lies in their potential to mitigate climate change and reduce dependence on finite fossil fuels. However, despite this burgeoning enthusiasm, enterprises encounter a myriad of constraints in their quest for increased renewable energy adoption. Let’s explore this further.

Enterprises face these major obstacles in realizing their ambitious energy transition agenda:

  • High initial investment costs: The transition to renewable energy often involves significant upfront capital expenditures for the installation of solar panels, wind turbines, or other clean energy infrastructure. Many enterprises, particularly smaller businesses, find it challenging to justify these initial costs despite the long-term benefits
  • Intermittency and reliability concerns: Some renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, are intermittent and dependent on weather conditions. This unpredictability can lead to concerns about the reliability of energy supply, especially for businesses that require a continuous and stable power source
  • Regulatory hurdles and policy uncertainty: Enterprises operating in different regions face varying regulatory frameworks and policies related to renewable energy. Inconsistent or unclear regulations can create uncertainty and hinder long-term planning for energy transition strategies
  • Limited availability of suitable infrastructure: The implementation of renewable energy projects often requires ample space and specific geographical conditions. Finding suitable land or locations for solar farms, wind turbines, or other renewable facilities can be a logistical challenge, particularly in densely populated areas where land is scarce or expensive

Amidst these challenges, the shift from fossil fuels to renewables finds a bridge in the optimization and monitoring of existing energy usage through advanced technologies. Leading enterprises have started joining forces with tech players and service providers to track and enhance energy efficiency in operations, paving the way for a sustainable energy transition.

Despite a booming market in sustainability enablement services offering advanced energy-efficient solutions, enterprises hesitate due to cost concerns. Yet, key players are actively investing in cutting-edge technologies to drive energy efficiency for their clients.

Three standout solutions have emerged at the forefront of major players’ sustainability services portfolios:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT)-based energy monitoring: Revolutionizing energy optimization, IoT and AI-based systems offer real-time insights into consumption patterns. Smart sensors and meters seamlessly integrate into a connected network, continuously collecting detailed data. AI algorithms analyze this information, unveiling inefficiencies, anomalies, and optimization opportunities. The power of predictive analytics forecasts future energy demands, enabling proactive measures to mitigate inefficiencies and cut overall consumption. Infosys Energy Management Solution and TCS Clever Energy are examples of energy monitoring and tracking systems
  • AI-driven predictive maintenance: With artificial intelligence, predictive maintenance transforms energy optimization by foreseeing and addressing equipment issues before performance impact. Historical and real-time data analysis allows AI algorithms to predict faults, facilitating timely interventions that prevent unexpected downtime and associated energy inefficiencies. This data-driven, proactive approach reshapes traditional maintenance paradigms, significantly contributing to enhanced energy efficiency and operational excellence. Capgemini’s predictive asset maintenance services and Accenture’s intelligent asset management services are examples of AI-driven predictive maintenance solutions for enterprises
  • Occupancy and building management with AI: AI-driven systems for occupancy and building management contribute to energy efficiency by intelligently regulating lighting, heating, and cooling based on real-time occupancy data. Smart sensors and AI algorithms learn patterns of occupancy, preferences, and environmental conditions to optimize energy usage in commercial buildings. Infosys’ Smart Spaces offering focuses on energy efficiency for commercial buildings, data centers, and workspaces. Hitachi’s Intelligent Building Management System also focuses on making buildings more energy efficient

Service providers have started crafting umbrella brands for sustainability services, with energy monitoring taking center stage in their portfolios. While energy monitoring and reporting systems are branded as niche sustainability solutions, the environmental impact of solutions like predictive maintenance and smart building management systems are significant. As enterprises intensify net-zero commitments, we foresee a surge in demand for these solutions, with a special focus on sustainability. We are optimistic about the market, with a tinge of prudence.

While sophisticated energy monitoring and optimization solutions are plentiful, enterprises hesitate to invest in sustainability technologies due to perceived high costs and short-term return concerns. However, service providers are strategically bundling sustainability benefits with operational optimization engagements, along with providing niche energy-related solutions to enterprises.

Everest Group anticipates a surge in the energy-efficiency solutions market within the next two to three years. The forthcoming focus on energy efficiency at COP28 could serve as the catalyst needed to propel this market into flourishing growth.

To discuss further, reach out to Rita Soni, [email protected], Arpita Dwivedi, [email protected], Meenakshi Narayanan, [email protected], or Ambika Kini, [email protected].

To learn more about the progress made in 2023 to build a more sustainable future and key takeaways from the COP28 conference, watch our LinkedIn Live session, Building a Sustainable Future: Reflections on COP28 and Insights for 2024.

A Comprehensive Approach to Meeting the Talent Demands of Sustainability Services | Blog

As the sustainability sector rapidly expands, the demand for skilled professionals is soaring. Read on to learn about the skill requirements needed in the sustainability service market and how to bridge the talent gap.

In recent years, the world has witnessed a remarkable surge in awareness regarding environmental responsibility and sustainability. This shift in mindset has fueled the growth of the sustainability services market as organizations increasingly recognize the need to adopt eco-friendly practices.

Yet, as the sustainability sector continues to evolve, service providers confront a formidable challenge in the form of a critical shortage of skilled talent. In this blog, we will delve into the pressing talent-related issues faced by sustainability service providers and explore the innovative ways they are addressing these deficiencies through avenues like strategic hiring, acqui-hiring, and upskilling.

The diverse skill set required

The field of sustainability services presents a multifaceted landscape of skills and expertise that are in high demand. For instance, service providers in this sector require professionals who can proficiently handle advanced data analytics to assess environmental impacts. A comprehensive understanding of sustainability reporting frameworks is also imperative, as is the ability to conduct climate scenario analysis and risk assessment.

In essence, the diversity of skill sets required encompasses environmental science, economics, engineering, and a commitment to sustainability that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries.

Challenges in finding talent

As service providers look to recruit skilled sustainability experts, they are finding themselves up against significant roadblocks, including:

  • A limited pool of professionals: Sustainability services is a relatively new field, and professionals with the required experience and expertise are scarce
  • An evolving landscape: The sustainability sector is continuously evolving, with new technologies and frameworks emerging regularly. This makes it challenging to find candidates who can keep up with the rapidly changing landscape
  • Cross-disciplinary requirements: The interdisciplinary nature of sustainability work makes it difficult to find candidates with expertise in all the required areas

Addressing the talent gap

Bridging the talent gap for sustainability services requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses strategic recruitment and upskilling.

  1. Strategic hiring

Sustainability service providers are looking for candidates who may not have a perfect match of skills but possess a strong foundation and are open to learning and adapting. Most of the sustainability professionals being hired hold a master’s degree, with almost 78% coming from a STEM background.

Everest Group’s GREEN framework provides a comprehensive approach to talent development in sustainability services, addressing geographic considerations, regulatory expertise, educational diversity, practical experience, and technological innovation to meet the increasing demand in this field.

Everest Group’s GREEN framework

Service providers like Accenture, which have an aggressive inorganic growth philosophy, focus more on acqui-hiring, the practice of acquiring smaller companies primarily to gain access to their talent. It allows providers to quickly expand their workforce and access niche expertise.

However, prioritizing upskilling as a long-term strategy emerges as a more effective approach for tackling the talent gap.

  1. Upskilling the workforce

Service providers have a multitude of options to support their employees in their upskilling endeavors. These include motivating employees to pursue external certifications, offering internally designed courses, and tying up with learning and development providers.

    • Industry-accredited certifications – Sustainability certifications are a testament to a thorough grasp of pertinent industry benchmarks, elevating professionals’ standing within their respective domains. The selection of a certification largely depends on the particular domain of sustainability and the career aspirations of the individual. These certifications could be general sustainability and climate professional certifications, sustainability reporting courses, energy-related certifications, green building certifications, etc.
    • Internal courses – Service providers often develop an internal catalog of courses to educate their workforce on sustainability and related aspects. These courses can be aimed at executive leadership, normal workforce, or both. Deloitte offers a curriculum of sustainability training courses available to all its employees virtually and through the network of Deloitte Universities
    • Collaboration with educational institutions – By working closely with universities and colleges, they can shape curricula to align with industry requirements, ensuring that graduates are better prepared for the workforce. These partnerships also offer internships and co-op programs that provide students with hands-on experience and job opportunities upon graduation. Capgemini Invent, for example, has leveraged the ESSEC Business School for various courses, including one on the foundations of sustainable transformation

After creating the talent pool required, building the ideal organizational structure becomes imperative for maximizing the potential of the sustainability enablement services talent. The organization can streamline business initiatives by aligning roles, responsibilities, and workflows, enabling seamless collaboration among experts from diverse backgrounds.

To explore the above strategies in detail, check out our viewpoint: A Provider’s Playbook to Bridging the Sustainability Skills Gap. This report sheds light on the sourcing, skilling, and organizational structuring strategies tailored to the unique needs of service providers in the sustainability space. To discuss further or for inquiries, please reach out to Rita Soni, Principal Analyst, Sustainability Research and Impact Sourcing, [email protected], Arpita Dwivedi, Practice Director, Sustainability and Talent, [email protected], or Ambika Kini, Senior Analyst, Sustainability Technology and Services, [email protected].

To hear our takeaways from Cop28 watch our LinkedIn Live session, Building a Sustainable Future: Reflections on COP28 and Insights for 2024.

Navigating COP28: Insights on the Evolving Landscape of Sustainability | Blog

As we stand on the brink of COP28 (November 30 to December 12, 2023), Everest Group’s technology service provider clients and industry leaders are poised to play a pivotal role in advancing the goals set forth by the Paris Agreement. In this blog, we bring you insights from Everest Group’s sustainability analysts on their hopes and expectations for this crucial global event.

As the world anticipates COP28, Everest Group’s insights shed light on the evolving sustainability landscape. Nothing could underpin the importance more than the fact that the first Global Stocktake (GST) of the implementation of the Paris Agreement will conclude at COP28, the mid-point in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs, including Goal 13 (climate action). We will explore key expectations that underscore the crucial role of technology service providers in meeting the objectives of the Paris Agreement, which we hope will be central in the COP28 deliberations.

As a reminder, there was a broad global consensus that COP28 will focus on four significant paradigm shifts:

  • Fast-tracking the energy transition and slashing emissions before 2030
  • Transforming climate finance, by delivering on old promises and setting the framework for a new deal on finance
  • Putting nature, people, lives, and livelihoods at the heart of climate action
  • Mobilizing for the most inclusive COP ever

With this context, we look forward to progress on five key topics:

  1. Digital transformation for sustainability:

The role of digital transformation in achieving sustainability goals is critical. Our research highlights the transformative power of technology in reducing carbon footprints, enhancing energy efficiency, and driving sustainable practices across sectors as diverse as oil & gas, banking & finance, and manufacturing.

This US$50 billion+ market also has a profound impact on sustainability beyond operational efficiency. In the realm of supply chain management, advanced technologies such as blockchain enable transparent and traceable sourcing, ensuring ethical practices and minimizing environmental impact. The integration of smart grids and renewable energy solutions empowers organizations to embrace cleaner, more sustainable energy sources. Additionally, data-driven insights derived from advanced analytics not only optimize resource allocation but also inform strategic decision-making for long-term sustainability. As businesses navigate a rapidly changing landscape, the fusion of digital innovation and sustainability becomes an integral strategy for fostering resilience and creating a paradigm where economic growth and environmental stewardship coalesce for a more sustainable future.

While optimization-driven engagements have continued to be the major theme, with almost one-third of the deals signed in 2023 (YTD), decarbonization and ESG data monitoring and reporting have also gained a lot of traction for the buyer side.

  1. Emerging technologies and climate action:

The intersection of emerging technologies and climate action is paramount. Insights emphasize the potential of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and other cutting-edge technologies in creating innovative solutions for climate change mitigation. These technologies facilitate real-time monitoring, enabling swift responses to environmental shifts. AI-driven predictive models enhance climate resilience, while blockchain ensures transparent carbon trading.

Generative AI has been the talk of the town lately, and providers have not shied away from experimenting with gen AI use cases in sustainability either. The most common use cases are around rapid design, prototyping, and automation and streamlining of manual processes. There is immense potential in these emerging use cases to transform the way we look at sustainability engagements.

  1. Resilient and sustainable business models:

Integrating sustainability into business models must be the way of the future. Our research emphasizes the need for resilient and sustainable business models that align with environmental objectives, paving the way for discussions on these models at COP28.

Sustainability-driven innovation in product development helps enterprises increase market responsiveness and differentiated brand value. Products marketed as sustainable now hold a 17.0% market share, with significant growth during the pandemic, as per the NYU Stern Sustainable Market Index.

  1. Collaboration and ecosystem partnerships:

Collaboration is fundamental in scaling up sustainable initiatives. We have seen the importance of ecosystem partnerships, bringing together governments, businesses, and technology service providers to drive collective action.

This is a theme prominent not just at an enterprise level, but also at an international level. For example, the EU pledged €12 million in grants to support Kenya’s green hydrogen industry.

  1. Regulatory framework convergence:

We anticipate significant implications for the evolving regulatory frameworks surrounding sustainability.

Standardizing environmental guidelines aids businesses in navigating complex landscapes and investors in making decisions based on transparent and comparable disclosures. Industry associations like the International Council on Mining and Metals, the World Gold Council, the Copper Mark, and the Mining Association of Canada are moving to develop a responsible mining code to define one minimum global standard for the industry’s environmental impact, human rights, and due diligence.

The discussions at COP28 are expected to influence how governments, industry consortia, and businesses approach environmental goals, potentially shaping more streamlined regulations and standards.

Everest Group is cautiously optimistic

The negotiations will likely provide a platform for technology service providers to contribute their expertise in navigating the complex interplay between sustainability and technology. As Everest Group’s areas of research align with the ongoing discussions, we anticipate a nuanced understanding of how regulatory changes may impact the adoption of digital solutions, emerging technologies, and sustainable business practices.

COP28 represents a crucial juncture in the global pursuit for sustainability, and Everest Group’s research positions technology service providers at the forefront of this transformative journey. As the negotiations unfold, the impact on regulatory frameworks and the collaborative efforts of governments, businesses, and technology providers will shape the trajectory towards achieving the goals set by the Paris Agreement. Everest Group remains committed to providing insights that navigate the evolving landscape of sustainability, guiding organizations toward a more resilient and environmentally conscious future. To discuss further reach out to Rita Soni, Principal Analyst, Sustainability Research and Impact Sourcing, [email protected], Arpita Dwivedi, Practice Director, Sustainability and Talent, [email protected], Ambika Kini, Senior Analyst, Sustainability Technology and Services, [email protected], or Meenakshi Narayanan, Senior Analyst, Sustainability Technology and Services, [email protected].

Don’t miss our LinkedIn Live session, Building a Sustainable Future: Reflections on COP28 and Insights for 2024.

Where Sustainability Unites: Climate Week NYC, UNGA, and CGI | Blog

Everest Group proudly participated in three noteworthy global sustainability events in Manhattan this September: Climate Week NYC, the 78th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 78), and the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting. These events centered around economic inclusion, climate change, health access, biodiversity, and other critical concerns. Read on for insights from our analyst team, who attended and presented at these pivotal gatherings that fostered collaboration and dialogue with the international community to advance sustainability efforts.

Climate Week NYC

This year’s Climate Week NYC was the largest climate event globally, bringing together 500 events and uniting over 10,000 people with a theme of “We Can. We Will.”

The week-long event from September 17-24 focused on accelerating action to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and building a more just and equitable society. We are seeing businesses across industries planning their paths to net zero, while also focusing on the “people” aspect of sustainability by actively working toward diverse and inclusive workforces and social and economic equity.

Climate Week NYC presented many opportunities to engage with like-minded individuals and organizations actively working towards a more sustainable and resilient future. Capgemini invited Rita Soni, Everest Group Principal Analyst, Impact Sourcing and Sustainability Research, to speak on a panel about technology companies’ unique role in addressing biodiversity entitled, Data & AI for Climate: Biodiversity Buzz.

Representatives from governments, businesses, and civil society convened to discuss innovative solutions and concrete commitments to reduce carbon emissions, preserve ecosystems, and transition to a low-carbon economy.

Climate Week NYC serves as a powerful reminder that despite the immense challenges of climate change, an incredible amount of collective will and ingenuity dedicated to finding solutions exists.

At Everest Group, we assist enterprises by guiding them toward forward-thinking strategies such as the circular economy. This innovative model of production and consumption focuses on making the most of resources. By adopting frameworks like the circular economy, enterprises can effectively handle material resources, minimize waste, and seamlessly incorporate sustainable principles into their operations.

Additionally, we are helping businesses embrace crucial initiatives like carbon accounting and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting. Companies are increasingly prioritizing ESG reporting to manage risk, enhance their reputation, and comply with regulations.

UNGA 78

During the UNGA meeting, global leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015 to work toward creating a more equitable, sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous world.

While leaders are intensifying efforts to reach the SDGs by 2030, global progress has been hindered by multiple critical issues, such as the ongoing pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the looming climate crisis. However, the imperative to achieve these goals has never been more pronounced.

Our analysts participated in global and domestic discussions, including two particularly impactful events:

  • Delivering Development: Journeys, Directions, and Lighthouses, hosted by the Permanent Mission of India to the UN, highlighted recent development progress and considerable efforts to meet the SDGs.
  • The National Wildlife Federation hosted the premiere of the documentary film, Where it Floods: Planting Hope in Coney Island. The film and panel discussion covered the devastation from Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. It also showcased local non-profit organizations’ work with children to restore the waterfront while raising climate change awareness.

CGI Annual Meeting

Held during UNGA and Climate Week NYC, CGI’s annual meeting focused on the need to “Keep Going.” CGI is a “community of doers taking action on the world’s most pressing challenges, together.”

Everest Group shared the industry’s progress on its 2022 commitment to grow the impact sourcing market to half a million people in three years. Impact sourcing is a growing practice where businesses intentionally train, hire, and nurture people from a wide range of excluded and marginalized groups, such as people with disabilities, the long-term unemployed, individuals from rural/forgotten communities, and veterans.

We proudly announced that in just the first year of the commitment, the global services industry is within striking distance of the three-year target. The number of impact workers has increased from 350,000 to at least 430,000, representing faster growth than traditional hiring, even during this tumultuous year of economic uncertainty.

Everest Group’s pledge to inclusive talent

To uphold our pledge, Everest Group has enlisted support and partnership pledges from more than 50 prominent global employers, service providers, and enabling organizations. Together, we are embarking on a collaborative mission to enhance lives through impact sourcing. With the backing of CGI, this group is poised to expand its reach and ultimately impact more lives by bringing employment opportunities to those affected by discrimination, inequality, or systemic poverty.

Why impact sourcing is good for business

What makes this initiative so remarkable is that Everest Group’s research shows impact sourcing has mutual benefits for workers, employers, and buyers. For impact workers, this endeavor opens doors to newfound opportunities and a sense of purpose. As they engage in meaningful employment, workers not only gain valuable skills and financial independence but also experience personal growth and empowerment.

Companies that employ impact workers are making strides toward achieving their sustainability objectives and witnessing increased sales as consumers seek products with a greater social purpose. Moreover, companies are enhancing their employer brand proposition as potential employees are drawn to organizations that champion causes beyond profits. By prioritizing impact sourcing, businesses not only attract top talent but also inspire existing employees to be more engaged and committed to their work.

How your company can get involved

With the implementation of evolved impact sourcing practices and performance indicators, impact sourcing’s true potential lies in its widespread adoption at scale beyond the initial commitment. To fully harness its power:

  • Buyers must actively demand impact sourcing with timelines for growth
  • Service providers and enterprises need to:
    • Integrate inclusive talent strategies across locations and job roles
    • Establish a growing ecosystem of skilling institutions, recruitment firms, non-government organizations (NGOs), and government agencies to provide the necessary support

As emerging technologies like generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other yet-to-be-developed advancements become mainstream, the talent market will face both opportunities that will expand certain roles and reduce others. Impact sourcing can provide a viable workforce solution for the jobs of tomorrow.

Everest Group looks forward to partnering with employers, service providers, and recruitment and sourcing firms to leverage impact sourcing’s many opportunities and promote the benefits of a globally relevant and inclusive talent model. To join the movement and make a difference to individuals, families, communities, and businesses, learn more here.

Check out our 2024 Key Issues webinar, Key Issues 2024: Creating Accelerated Value in a Dynamic World, to learn the major concerns, expectations, and trends for 2024 and hear recommendations on how to drive accelerated value from global services.

Creating a Sustainable Workforce through Employer of Record (EOR) Partnerships | Blog

Step into the realm of responsible business practices and sustainability with an employer of record (EOR). Numerous studies have suggested that organizations with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives are better equipped to create a positive impact on the world while also driving growth and business success. Read on to discover how EOR partners can guide organizations toward achieving their ESG goals, including architecting a blueprint for a sustainable workforce. 

Contact us to learn more about ESG and sustainability initiatives.

By incorporating ESG principles into an organization’s vision and strategy, businesses can align themselves with broader ethical and sustainable goals. The “E” emphasizes preserving natural resources, “S” nurtures relationships and reputation within communities, and “G” commits to upholding impeccable corporate ethics and governance. In a nutshell, ESG charts a course for businesses to be responsible, well-regarded, and successful all at once.

Enterprises can build a sustainable global employment and mobility strategy by leveraging the services of an EOR, a third-party organization that enables companies to legally engage with workers in a new country or region without needing to set up a legal entity or risking violating local laws. The EOR undertakes the responsibility to pay and manage permanent or temporary employees on behalf of another company.

EOR providers have emerged as key partners in assisting organizations not only to build a resilient and diverse workforce but also to foster a sustainable future that aligns with their ESG commitments. Let’s explore this further.

Cultivating a workforce on ESG principles: the impact of EOR partners

Traditionally, business success has been measured by the bottom line. But what if success was not only about making a profit but also about the difference the organization makes? By balancing the needs of people, the planet, and profit in a sustainable way for all stakeholders, businesses can generate true value. This “triple bottom line” approach has pioneered a new era of business prosperity.

EOR firms act as guiding partners, helping businesses embrace flexibility, inclusivity, and ethical practices. EOR providers can help organizations advance their ESG goals in the following key ways:

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Looking toward a brighter and more sustainable future

EOR providers act as catalysts for change, enabling organizations to cultivate a sustainable workforce that flourishes within today’s dynamic business environment. By promoting environmentally friendly practices, nurturing a socially inclusive work environment, and upholding ethical governance standards, EOR providers empower organizations to realize their ESG commitments and goals.

As the world continues to evolve, EOR providers remain unwavering allies, guiding organizations toward a future where both business success and societal well-being go hand in hand. A workforce characterized by sustainability, diversity, and accountability can materialize through these collaborative efforts. Partnering with EOR providers can help organizations transcend from simply aspiring to have a globally dispersed sustainable workforce to achieving that exciting vision.

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.

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