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Sustainability Capability

Fractal is looking beyond carbon neutrality to create a positive impact on the planet.

At Fractal, we see sustainability and wellness as an integrated whole. That’s why we run programs to enable better educational outcomes for disadvantaged children, empower women to be financially independent and included, and improve the quality and affordability of healthcare and safe housing solutions. It’s also why we seek to commit ourselves to the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C, a more ambitious goal than the earlier 2C target. Our vision is to go beyond becoming carbon neutral to impact the planet positively.

So, what does that look like at Fractal? Within the organization, it starts with two key elements:

  • A committed sustainability culture
  • Accurate and current knowledge of the organization’s key sustainability and wellness indicators. 

Fractal nurtures a culture inspired by strong stewardship delivered by our founders Srikanth Velamakanni and Pranay Agrawal, grounded in the individual commitment to sustainability at every level of the organization. Over the years, we’ve built a sense of shared ownership through exercises to communicate the issues, gamify sustainability targets and set achievable goals. 

By celebrating early milestones and hitting bite-sized targets alongside our most ambitious sustainability goals, we chip away at issues like reducing our use of plastics or better-managing energy, water and waste at each Fractal workspace. These committed, daily actions provide the motivation and momentum needed to reach medium and long-term Fractal sustainability goals.

Setting clear goals and measuring progress is crucial to maintaining that momentum. We need to know where we are on our sustainability journey – what we are already doing, the targets we want to achieve, and our opportunities to make the best impact – so we can map our path and measure our progress. Crucially, we need to know that we are capturing the right data to give us actionable sustainability insights, even when that data lies across multiple systems. Failure to do that will result in a data void, a challenge that hampers many organizations’ sustainability efforts; however, the data void challenge can be overcome. 

Fractal faced this challenge recently when we ran a thorough carbon inventory project to understand Fractal’s carbon footprint. To get the most accurate picture, we focused on the pre-COVID baseline year of 2019-20. However, we discovered that our systems were not capturing the fullest extent of Scope 3 emissions in some areas. Details about whether air travel had been direct or involved a layover – which has a very different emissions pattern – were inadequate for our measurement purposes. 

Our shared ownership of sustainability goals at Fractal, combined with our best-in-class technology, enabled us to fix the problem. We used our image and video analytics capability to study historic reimbursement chits and wrote an algorithm to analyze the amount of direct and layover air travel in different regions. We quickly ensured that we were capturing high-quality data and generating the insights we needed to reduce our carbon footprint, including our Scope 3 emissions.

Alongside internal activities, we must look outside the organization and locate our sustainability efforts in a much broader context. Fractal does this by:

  • Benchmarking and validating our efforts against globally recognized standards
  • Sharing our knowledge and learning from and with others.

By validating Fractal’s vision, mission, and targets against globally established benchmarks, we can keep our efforts on track and share our goals and progress transparently with the wider community. When a company receives a Platinum rating from Bureau Veritas Quality International (recently gained by Fractal’s Mumbai workspace for health and hygiene management) or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification (achieved by Fractal’s Mumbai and Bengaluru, India workspaces), it tells every stakeholder within the company and in the wider ecosystem that they’re hitting important milestones.

Achievements like these move Fractal toward its long-term sustainability targets – and we are working on basing those targets on the Science Based Targets initiative frameworks to ensure that our emission reduction efforts align with the world’s ambition to limit global warming to 1.5C.

7 ways to build the sustainability muscle

1. Measure on-site activity data/behaviors and mine early insights to understand the sustainability impact you’re already making while identifying the opportunities ahead.

2. Generate open discussion and create a cross-functional task force to foster shared ownership of targets. Mine and measure for insights at least annually and at a frequency that is right for you.

3. Seek input from organizational leadership to set targets, guide efforts, celebrate successes, and provide support through challenging times.

4. Set key performance indicators and monitor progress constantly.

5. Declare targets and commitments – even if it’s only internally at first.

6. Benchmark your vision, mission, and targets against best-in-class industry and global standards.

7. Learn and educate: As you progress on your journey, share insights and experiences to help others grow their sustainability muscle.

Sustainability is a global issue and a journey that no organization or individual can make alone. Progress is propelled by decades of great work by researchers, scientists, and regulators, sharing our experiences and learning from fellow travelers’ insights. For instance, as Fractal expands its reporting to the Carbon Disclosure Project, which provides the gold standard for corporate environmental reporting, we will not only be helping ourselves to improve our emissions management but will also be contributing to a body of data that helps others to act on their environmental impact. 

Fractal’s clients are also leading from the front on sustainability. Their work and generous knowledge sharing constantly inspire us. With these shared insights guided by Fractal values, we synthesize environmental science and local knowledge and innovate to enrich and sustain the symbiosis between the community, the planet, and our organization. 

Through this combination of measuring, monitoring, benchmarking and learning – tied together with a culture of individual ownership – Fractal continues to identify opportunities to improve environmental impact. We are creating new business practices and leveraging our technology and expertise to enable our clients and us to do more for the planet. 

We’re hitting early milestones using Fractal’s AI and analytics expertise to positively impact energy emissions and help our clients frame and solve the problems they face to get more from their ESG reporting.

Sustainability is a great muscle for any organization to build – and as with any muscle-building exercise, achieving the vision requires a combination of knowledge, commitment, monitoring and validation.

Boosting efficiency, cutting emissions:, a Fractal incubated company, is helping major oil and gas producers, mining, and public utility firms to achieve net zero emissions, reduce operational downtime, and improve efficiency. It does this by:

  • Using remote sensing and satellite image analysis to trace the root causes of emissions to machines and processes,
  • Applying an outcome-focused approach to recommend actions that cut those emissions and thus reduce maintenance/downtime costs.

As we develop our core expertise, people, and ecosystems, we chip away more at that shared goal of keeping global warming below 1.5C. By taking informed, measured steps toward that bigger picture, we are building our sustainability muscle to bring a positive impact to the planet, its people, and communities beyond our immediate value chain.

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Chetana Kumar

Head, Corporate Social Responsibility & Special Projects, Fractal

Chetana helms the corporate social responsibility (CSR) program and Special Projects at Fractal, where she is helping shape the strategy for leveraging Fractal's strength in analytics and artificial intelligence to create greater social impact. She is also the Chair of the Fractal Critical Event Team (FACET) and the ESG task force (ESTA) at Fractal. She is known for her attention to design and detail, sophisticated execution and meticulous administration of projects. With a passion for technology and medicine, Chetana is especially interested in leveraging technology to fine-tune the impact of CSR initiatives. An active public speaker since her days as a student of Law and Management, she also enjoys building her trainer's muscle during ESG/Sustainability training sessions at Fractal.

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