As customers become more environmentally and socially conscious, companies across industries are targeting sustainability as a powerful business opportunity that can enable top-line growth and operational efficiencies.
To reach their sustainability goals fast and efficiently, enterprises like yours can utilize global systems integrators (SIs) as strategic partners to accelerate sustainability agendas. Emerging digital technologies such as AI, IoT, and blockchain are proving to deliver immense value and maximized sustainability initiatives.
Join this webinar as our experts discuss in detail current sustainability enablement technology services market trends and provide insights on how the market is shaping out.
The speakers will explore:
How the role of technology is progressing as a key enabler for sustainability
Which trends are prevailing in the sustainability enablement technology services market
How the sustainability enablement technology services market is developing
Who the leaders and the major contenders in the market are, and what makes them stand out
Who should attend?
Chief sustainability officers
Chief diversity officers
Chief innovation officers
Corporate social responsibility leaders
Sourcing and vendor managers
Climate change and net-zero transformation leaders
Acknowledging the reality of the current climate crisis, forward-looking corporations are adopting business strategies to make their organizations more resilient to its far-reaching consequences. Climate change can directly impact employee well-being, service delivery location decisions, and other critical business operations. Read on to gain a better understanding of its short- and long-term impacts and what to consider.
“Jakarta is sinking,” screamed headlines as Indonesia announced moving its capital 2,000 kilometers northeast to Nusantara, on the island of Borneo. The move that could cost Indonesia upwards of $30 billion is driven by concerns of Jakarta’s submergence by 2050. Jakarta could be the first of many cities to be adversely impacted by climate change.
The debate on climate change has moved from whether it is real to when will it impact us. Climate change has become inescapable. The discussion on climate change featured primarily in social media, conferences, academia, and educational institutes have moved to boardrooms. Corporates are increasingly concerned about the short- and long-term impact climate change can have on their businesses.
Facing pressure from employees, customers, and investors to act on climate change, corporations are increasingly forced to acknowledge climate change’s economic, physical, and operational impact on their business and human capital.
Hotter summers, colder winters, and an increasing frequency of extreme weather events like storms, hurricanes, and floods are all signs of the climate crisis. According to multiple studies, the earth’s surface temperature has seen the highest increase in the last 40 years, with 10 of the warmest years occurring post-2005. Scientists worldwide have reported record ice cap melting and glacier retreats.
The exponential increase in extreme weather events and natural disasters should be a more pressing concern. In 2020 and 2021, the world has seen a spike in natural disasters in the last few years, with a five-fold increase over 50 years. Climate change has led to warmer temperatures, leading to more frequent heatwaves and droughts. Sea levels have been rising steadily, coupled with frequent coastal region flooding.
Corporations taking notice
Corporations are now acknowledging that climate change can have a significant impact on business functions. Extreme weather events in recent years have disrupted business operations and resulted in the loss of human life, physical assets, and infrastructure.
Companies are trying to think beyond the short-term consequences already being felt and understand the long-term effects of climate change on international business strategies. In addition to business disruptions, climate change can have implications on employees’ mental and physical well-being and, in extreme cases, loss of life. In most companies, especially the global services industry, human capital is the most critical asset. Climate change can significantly impact business operations due to lower productivity, loss of work hours, and possible higher attrition rates.
As companies acknowledge climate change’s direct and indirect business impacts, the more forward-thinking companies have started adopting plans to make themselves more resilient to climate change and its consequences. Although this is just the beginning, a lot more needs to be done in terms of workforce and location strategies.
Location strategies need to consider climate change
Most companies are still more focused on the short-term, like building climate-resilient buildings and reinforcing existing infrastructure to make it more resilient to the impacts of climate change. Location strategy is a long-term decision with significant investment and sunk costs. Once a company decides to start delivery operations from a particular location, it is an irreversible long-term decision due to the high capital and labor investment.
Companies will have to consider the impact of climate change on future location strategy decision making, which traditionally includes talent, cost arbitrage, and conventional operating and business environment parameters. Climate change impacts different regions, locations, and geographies differently. Although two locations might be neighboring coastal cities, the impact of climate change could differ depending on the landscape.
Hence, it is paramount for companies to understand the effects of climate change on the particular location they are accessing and the degree of its impact. The holistic, long-term assessment should consider historical and predicted climate patterns, government mitigation measures and their effectiveness, and geographic factors.
In our recent viewpoint, Impact of Climate Change on Delivery Location Sustainability, we cover climate change’s impact on significant delivery locations around the world, across multiple parameters including rising temperatures, heatwaves, floods, hurricanes, storms, and rising sea levels with qualitative insights on select sites. The report provides a high-level view on short-term and long-term risk management measures to mitigate the effects of climate change on companies and employees.
Why Inclusivity is Essential in Building Your Tech Talent Workforce
March 24, 2022 |
11:00 AM CDT | 12:00 PM EDT
The boom in hiring for engineering and IT skills has been met with a global imbalance between the demand and available supply of these needed skills. To navigate the talent shortage challenge, businesses are revamping their strategies and putting a greater focus on initiatives like inclusivity to find talent. Targeting marginalized and excluded groups and even exploring new geographies provides businesses with the opportunity to uncover and acquire new tech talent.
Join this LinkedIn Live session to learn:
How businesses are turning to alternative sources of talent to meet the tech talent need
What businesses should be doing to search for tech talent
Organizations that have a diversified workforce and prioritize providing opportunities to all will ultimately contribute to building a stable global economy. While gender equity and inclusion have improved over the last decades, many challenges remain, including discrimination/bias, underrepresentation in leadership levels, and lack of access to education and employment opportunities. Impact sourcing is a business imperative that will not only help companies reach new talent pools but also offer opportunities to marginalized communities and populations, especially women.
Empowering women through impact sourcing
Impact sourcing is a business practice in which companies intentionally prioritize service providers that hire and provide career development opportunities to people who otherwise have limited prospects for employment.
Companies are implementing impact sourcing models to elevate excluded groups and improve gender equality through opportunities such as training and employment in various regions, especially where educational and career opportunities are not readily available to all. By including impact sourcing initiatives, organizations can begin to embed gender-responsive and ethical procurement practices into their business models, and, ultimately, affect social-economic improvements, such as decreased poverty and increased employment rates.
A response by the approximately US$215 billion1 global services industry to address social exclusion, impact sourcing is not a new concept but can make a significant impact. Considering that third-party services is one of the largest corporate sourcing/procurement spend categories, with companies often spending 5% of revenue on services partners, the practice has the potential to not just open up new talent pools, but also provide equal opportunities.
The gender gap in global services
According to S&P Global data, the percentage of women in the total workforce in developed and emerging markets has averaged around 35% over the past five years and has been exacerbated by the global pandemic. The proportion of women decreases progressively up the corporate ladder. However, in developed markets, the percentage of women in senior management is even lower than the number of women within boards of directors.
By investing in impact sourcing, companies can combat unequal treatment of women in the workforce with specific impact sourcing strategy goals. For instance, they can focus on closing the gender gap at the base of the issue rather than reporting on diversity indicators at the top, such as the number of women on boards or the percentage of women’s ownership. This is part of a growing movement to broaden supplier diversity to gender-responsive procurement, spearheaded by UN Women.
How impact sourcing aligns with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Impact sourcing is one of the most credible and powerful ways to accomplish some of the 17 UN SDGs. As a result, it bolsters gender-responsive procurement, which is defined as the selection of services, goods, and civil works that consider their impact on gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Impact sourcing naturally aligns with UN SDGs in the following ways:
Goal 1 – No Poverty: Impact sourcing helps provide employment opportunities to marginalized groups, contributing to reduced income distribution gaps and eradicating poverty
Goal 4 – Quality Education: The innovation in impact sourcing includes training, accommodation, recognition of unique talents, and career counseling for youth who may not have access to higher education
Goal 5 – Gender Equality: Putting women at the center of economies will fundamentally drive more sustainable outcomes since individuals who identify as women are increasingly becoming part of the core workforce. Organizations can become more inclusive towards women by having a rigorous impact sourcing strategy
Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth: Employment is at the core of impact sourcing, helping organizations offer good jobs to marginalized individuals
Goal 10 – Reduced Inequalities: Growing inequality is one of the biggest roadblocks in achieving social progress and global stability. Impact sourcing can contribute towards inclusion and equal opportunities within and among countries
With lower attrition rates and higher corresponding levels of employee engagement, which results in lower costs and higher productivity over time, impact sourcing also provides a diversified talent pool to companies.
Impact sourcing encourages companies to help underserved populations, like women, move out of poverty and transform their lives and provide for their families. Corporations can engage in inclusive hiring practices that promote equal opportunity, diversity, skill development, and equal treatment for women. A responsible hiring mechanism by organizations can effectively contribute towards increasing employment opportunities and career development for this socially impacted and vulnerable segment of society, creating meaningful change in the world and taking an impactful step in the fulfillment of the UN SDGs.
Additionally, as the LGBTQ+ community enters the workforce, organizations may expand the definition of “gender” to become more inclusive in their impact sourcing decisions.
Impact sourcing use cases with gender-specific goals
Established as a US-based for-profit sales and marketing organization in 1994, Televerde provides on-the-job training to more than 200,000 current and formerly incarcerated women in the US. As a purpose-driven company, Televerde helps these women reintegrate back into their communities.
Televerde has a global workforce of more than 600 employees, 70 percent of whom sit behind prison walls, and about 60 percent of its staff is comprised of incarcerated women. In addition to being paid fair market hourly wages, they receive training for the required skills and can also achieve certifications in sales and marketing, while earning college credits for completing company-sponsored training programs.
Not only does the Televerde business model help these women, but it has enabled the company to generate more than US$8 billion in revenue for its clients.
In 2020, Televerde formed its non-profit unit Televerde Foundation to further empower incarcerated women and serve as a driving force to fulfill Televerde’s mission to change the lives of 10,000 disempowered people by 2030.
A global impact sourcing specialist, iMerit was founded in 2012 in rural India to bring a diverse talent pool from underserved backgrounds into the digital workforce. Today, 52 percent of its workforce is female, and, interestingly, the company was founded by Radha Basu, a technology pioneer who rose through the ranks when very few women did. By embedding purpose objectives into its business model, the for-profit impact sourcing firm has raised US$23.5 million in funding since July 2021.
Today, iMerit employs more than 4,000 data enrichment and annotation experts in Bhutan, India, and the US. It launched one of its first all-women centers in Metiabruz, West Bengal, a region where women have traditionally lacked professional career opportunities.
A for-profit training-data company, Sama focuses on annotating data for artificial intelligence algorithms. As one of the pioneers in the impact sourcing space, it aims to reduce poverty, empower women, and mitigate climate change. The company combines its technology platform and worker training programs to increase economic opportunity for those in underserved communities.
Sama, a certified B Corporation, operates global delivery centers in Kenya and Uganda and was named one of the “Best for the World” for workers in 2021.
By 2019, Sama had helped over 50,000 people move out of poverty. Its impact was particularly strong for women during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Sama was able to create a remote working model, allowing them to continue working despite lockdown orders.
An India-based certified woman-owned business and impact sourcing company, FiveS Digital has a workforce of over 1,500 employees at seven delivery centers in India, with a presence in Europe and North America. It started as a pure-play BPO company in 2009 and has entered the digital technology services domain over the years.
FiveS Digital collaborates with several non-profit organizations and supports young professionals’ upskilling needs, especially women from Tier-2 or Tier-3 cities and rural areas. With diversity and inclusivity as one of its key focus areas, it invests in opportunities and leadership roles for women. As a result of its continued commitment and focus, it was recently certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the largest third-party certifier of women-owned and operated businesses.
Organizations are choosing suppliers that aim to help disadvantaged groups
An increasingly used type of gender-responsive procurement, impact sourcing helps organizations discover initiatives to improve gender inclusion at all levels by partnering with leading impact sourcing specialists like FiveS, Sama, iMerit, and Televerde, as well as mainstream providers.
Enterprises can make a difference by partnering with service providers that employ groups experiencing exclusion, whether as an HR practice or by subcontracting to impact sourcing specialists. As businesses increasingly reach into untapped geographies for hidden talent, they will help build a stable global economy and promote inclusivity – a true win-win scenario.
5 Success-driving Actions:
How to Unlock Untapped, Affordable Talent
Impact sourcing is a socially responsible way to find untapped, affordable talent while promoting inclusivity and allowing organizations to reap substantial business benefits, including:
Contributing to a holistic environmental, social, and governance (ESG) program
Increased sales as more consumers choose to buy from forward-thinking businesses
Access to new workers in untapped talent pools in different regions
Better talent retention through improved work cultures
Watch this webinar as our experts reveal key findings from our recent Impact Sourcing Specialist State of the Market report. We shed light on how impact sourcing is helping enterprises and service providers mitigate challenges such as high attrition and talent costs and shortages, while supporting the welfare of communities.
Our experts explore:
What is impact sourcing?
Why is it becoming a strategic imperative for more and more organizations?
What does the impact sourcing landscape look like?
How has impact sourcing adoption evolved over the years?
How do organizations put impact sourcing into practice?
Case study experiences and feedback from buyers leveraging services from impact sourcing specialists
Who should attend?
Chief sustainability officers
Chief diversity officers
Sourcing and vendor managers
Global business services (GBS) / shared services center leaders
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives seem to be on the minds of nearly every organization. Today’s environmental and social challenges are immense. How can we aid in improving the lives of all individuals and our planet so the generations after us can thrive, all while creating growth in the economy for the present? We won’t answer these questions overnight, but it’s easier than imagined for organizations to dive in and start setting up ESG goals. To learn why and how to get involved in this growing movement, read on.
Where environmental, social, and governance meet
The three facets, E S and G, do not necessarily go hand in hand; however, initiating one often affects another. Ultimately, all three move organizations in the same direction – bringing about change for the greater good.
When broken down, environmental, social, and governance elements have very separate definitions, yet they still intertwine and bolster each other. The E and the S, environmental and social, target inclusion, conservation, diversity, sustainability, labor practices, carbon mitigation, etc., and serve as those larger goals that organizations aim to reach. The G, governance, is where these goals and initiatives get hashed out, planned, and budgeted for, and where the reporting, tracking, and monitoring are performed. If an organization has strong governance systems, its environmental and social priorities may be structured with a very distinct idea of what the objectives, strategy, and results will be.
Putting governance systems in order garners greater environmental and social benefits
When an organization wants to be environmentally sustainable and/or socially responsible, it may incur upfront costs that impact profitability. But with forward-looking strategies, such as a cost-benefit analysis, organizations can plan and budget, so the benefits outweigh the costs. The long-term payoffs can include improving diversity and current workplace labor practices by meeting ESG mandates or making a cost difference for the business.
Achieving stronger and more impactful environmental and social results means that governance is staying ahead of the pace of change, whether regulatory, risk-related, or business opportunities. Organizations need to keep their eye on what’s coming to be ahead of the curve.
For example, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has recently proposed new transparency rules for organizations to incorporate diversity throughout the business as well as the board. They must also disclose whether they have reached certain diversity targets. Similarly, a recent regulation change in the US arrived when the Securities and Exchange Commission approved a proposal, the Board Diversity Rule, by Nasdaq requiring organizations to report on the diversity within their board. The purpose of the Board Diversity Rule is to promote greater diversity among the boards of directors of Nasdaq-listed companies and provide stakeholders with consistent board diversity disclosure.
Mitigating climate change risk is another area organizations are focusing on in business continuity plans. One method is having an alternative delivery strategy where work can easily be transferred from an area impacted by natural disasters to another site. This model of having smaller centers in more locations can benefit workers in rural communities by reducing migration from villages to cities and have a positive environment impact by lowering carbon emissions from vehicles with less commuting.
Governance systems that can stay current or ahead of these kinds of changes can better prepare and strategize for changes that could affect their organization in the future and make adjustments now rather than later, mitigating future roadblocks.
Why it’s easier than ever for organizations to find a business case for ESG
Most companies can easily present a business case for the vast majority of ESG initiatives. In addition to keeping pace with regulatory changes, organizations can also realize many benefits by carrying out environmental and social programs. Here are some examples of how different industries are making a difference:
Currently, with the “Great Resignation” and talent shortage, many organizations are turning to impact sourcing as a solution to provide an affordable, untapped talent pool. Impact sourcing can bring an organization qualified workers with skill sets aligned to match client needs, engaged employees providing lower attrition rates, and opportunities to fulfill corporate social responsibility and diversity objectives. At a bare minimum level, organizations need to begin designing talent strategies that incorporate diversity and pay equity into their workplace ecosystem if they want to attract and retain talent.
Another business case that is catching steam in the healthcare world is decentralized clinical trials (DCT)s, where data is collected from a patient through sensors or remote monitoring devices, eliminating the need to visit a medical site. A huge benefit from DCTs is the reduction of trial costs and timelines, attracting a more diverse patient population. DCTs are also easily accessible to patients who have mobility issues, and can reach a global audience, increasing inclusivity and diversity.
The tech industry also is doing its part to help by exploring ways to mitigate the impact software development is having on our carbon footprint. All major tech companies have made ambitious commitments to be carbon neutral or negative as the world attempts to confront the critical climate change dilemma and are competitively differentiating themselves through green computing strategies. This feat can be achieved through high-performance coding standards, self-adaptable solutions, and code reusability. Even blockchain protocols are joining the green IT bandwagon by exploring different mining models. Learn more on this topic in our recent green software development blog.
It’s never too late to get involved
Going forward, to start making a real impact, more organizations need to address challenges and set goals to better our societies and the environment. If we want to see change, now’s the time to dive in.