India Inc on talent hunt to drive its ESG plans, Auto News, ET Auto


Experts said when ESG is prioritised as part of the business strategy, it helps to attain top-line growth, attract investors, build more trust among customers and stakeholders, and attract better talent.

ESG is the new buzzword at India Inc as companies look to ramp up talent to drive their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) responsibilities.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi having pledged that the country will reach net-zero emissions by 2070, and stringent policy and regulations driving compliance, reporting, and disclosures, ESG has become a focal point of boardroom discussions, and organisations across industries are looking at strengthening ESG skillsets across their teams.

Companies including Infosys, Marico, Danfoss, Bisleri, and PwC are putting in place various measures like upskilling employees in ESG through external partnerships and internal learning resources, driving awareness among employees on sustainability, and ramping up hiring for ESG-related roles. Earlier this week, the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) and PwC India set up a research and innovation forum as a step towards contributing to India’s commitment to the net-zero agenda and upcoming BRSR (Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report) regulations that market regulator Sebi has said 1,000 largest listed companies should report on a mandatory basis from 2022-23.

India Inc on talent hunt to drive its ESG plans
“ESG along with digital is at the core of all organisational transformation right now,” said Sambitosh Mohapatra, partner and leader of ESG at PwC India.

Experts said when ESG is prioritised as part of the business strategy, it helps to attain top-line growth, attract investors, build more trust among customers and stakeholders, and attract better talent.

At PwC India, employees are being trained through courses and certifications to make them subject matter experts in ESG. The focus is on making all 20,000 employees aware of ESG with curated content so that each one is able to create solutions in their specific competencies, Mohapatra said.

“We are also hiring across multiple competencies and at all levels from associates to partners across strategy, climate, net zero, decarbonisation, water, supply chains, governance, and social sustainability,” he told ET.

Infosys, too, is focusing on upskilling employees.

The tech firm has set up a dedicated ESG learning portal on Lex, its digital learning ecosystem, which drives awareness on the company’s sustainability practice and drives engagement on ESG topics. Every functional leader at the company also takes the bottom line for delivering sustainable results across their teams and lines of responsibility, which in turn is reported into an organisation-wide ESG scorecard.

“We have not only transformed the way we work in order to create more sustainable outcomes but continue to evaluate the digital solutions that we build for our clients, thereby powering their ESG journey,” Krish Shankar, executive vice-president and group head, human resource development, at Infosys, told ET.

Bottled water company Bisleri is driving efforts to educate employees about sustainability initiatives. The company has recently started getting employees across teams to volunteer for its sustainability initiative, ‘Bottles For Change’.

The initiative aims to bring behavioural change by inculcating a habit among people to adopt best practices for a cleaner environment, said Parag Bengali, director – HR and finance at Bisleri International.

At energy company Danfoss, employees who have completed a basic minimum number of years in the organisation can pursue select courses in relevant fields like sustainability from business schools, universities, and industry body learning centres across the country.

At FMCG major Marico, the focus on ESG is co-owned across the organisational ecosystem, and ESG aspects are embedded in almost every business decision.

“The key functions responsible for driving our ESG-led journey include operational excellence, compliance and legal affairs, procurement and supply chain, product quality and safety, R&D and packaging, corporate governance, and investor relations,” said Amit Bhasin, chief legal officer and group general counsel and secretary, CSR committee, at Marico. “Therefore, we have instituted a robust and transparent sustainability governance structure, to ensure that goals and targets are achieved by implementing action plans effectively,” he said.

In August, ET had reported that companies like Vedanta Group, Bank of America, and Tata Power were hiring senior leaders to drive ESG efforts.

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