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Infosys will spend Rs 400 crore to become carbon neutral

According to reports, Infosys will spend about Rs 400 crore over the next four years to achieve carbon-neutrality on commuting and travel by its nearly 1.8 lakh employees and in doing so deepen its commitment to sustainability, a senior executive at India’s second-largest software services company said.

The Bengaluru-based company will have to offset 3.74 lakh tonne of carbon dioxide attributed to employees’ travel, and it will spend Rs 70 crore this year on initiatives such as installing solar projects for rural electrification, biogas plants and distribution of smokeless cook-stoves in villages, besides afforestation.

“These will benefit communities outside of the company. Our programmes are in sync with the guidelines issued by various international agencies, including the United Nations. These projects will have the maximum social impact, and are subject to audit by international agencies,” Infosys executive vicepresident Ramadas Kamath said.

On Monday, Infosys also announced that it is joining RE100, an elite club of global corporations such as GE, SAP, Nestle and BT with a commitment to go fully green.

While Infosys says it has fully offset greenhouse gas emissions that can be directly attributed to it (such as buying power from the grid and diesel used by its captive generating sets), the software firm is now aiming to offset socalled Scope 3 emissions that are indirectly attributable to it and these arise from employee commute and travel. To fully offset Scope 3 emissions, Infosys says it will have to offset 3.74 lakh tonne of carbon dioxide (Co2).

As part its journey toward sustainability, Infosys will commission 55 MW of solar capacity, including 40 MW in Karnataka, in the next year. It will add another 110 MW of solar capacity in the coming years. It is already generating energy from 2.7 MW capacity solar panels on rooftops across its campuses in India. “We will work with states to get the most favourable policy for renewable energy sector,” he said.

Infosys consumed 257 million units of electricity globally during 2014-15, and 30 per cent of this came from renewable energy sources. Three years ago, Infosys had made an announcement at the United Nations committing to meet all its energy needs from renewable energy sources, to become carbon neutral, and to cut per capita power and water consumption by half (on 2007-08 baseline) by 2018. The company said its per-capita power and water consumption declined by 45 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively, during 2014-15.

According to Kamath, achieving 100 per cent renewable energy in India is difficult because of the multiplicity of regulations in each state that put hurdles in the way of building clean energy projects. “Only in Karnataka do we have a stable, long-term policy with ease of wheeling and banking, open access and project implementation. The prime minister wants to see one lakh MW of solar capacity in India, but this will remain a pipedream if states don’t come up with proactive policies,” he said.

In the past three years, Infosys has spent about $50 million (Rs 320 crore) retrofitting its equipment such as lighting, air-conditioning, power, etc. “The buildings built after 2008 are all green structures complying with the highest sustainability standards. We are also implementing zero waste to landfill, and rainwater harvesting,” Kamath said.

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