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BW Businessworld

Nurturing Breakthrough Innovation

At HCLF, the CSR spend on FY20 was Rs 176.29 crore. This was higher than their contributions in FY19, which was at Rs 125.45 crore.

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The USD 9.9 billion HCL is India’s 3rd largest information technology company and it finds a spot in our list because of its unflinching focus on innovation and people. 


Through partnerships with international technology companies and by leveraging the industry ecosystem in India the company has several innovative projects and solutions for its clients. HCL has 225 delivery centres, 58 innovation labs and a start-up accelerator for idea funnel management, prototyping, deployment and commercialisation of breakthrough innovation. It has also established a start-up ecosystem for nurturing breakthrough innovation. The ecosystem consists of start-ups, VCs and trade missions from across the globe – that generates solutions HCL can bring to its clients globally. 

Resource Efficiency 

On the water management and energy conservation fronts, HCL has fared well. The company has reported a healthy water consumption volume of around 8,449 litre/employee/year. In comparison, industry leader, TCS, has reported a per employee, per year consumption of 9,192 litres. With the introduction of benchmarks and targets for improved water management, we feel that HCL would be able to strengthen their sustainability performance. Some good practices that we observed at HCL were the instalation of sensor taps to optimize water usage, the use of a dual-flush system to minimize water wastage and installation of Sewer Treatment Plant (STP) within the campus to treat and reuse sewer water for flushing, landscaping and HVAC. There are also timer-based automatic controls for water sprinklers used in lawn maintenance and rainwater harvesting pits. It was great to see that all HCL campuses are zero water discharge sites. 

While there are no targets set for increasing the share of renewables in their energy mix, HCL has been making efforts to increase their use of renewable energy. The company reported that 10.38 per cent of their energy came from renewable sources in FY20. In order to reduce its carbon footprint, the company replaced toxic refrigerants with environmental friendly alternatives this year. These, in addition to other effective measures, helped lower carbon emissions by 21,961 tCO2. 


We found cases of sexual harassment to be common across the IT sector yet it is good to see that there was only one such case at HCL, which was closed within the financial year. The company has seen a 30 per cent increase in women in senior leadership from last year. The overall gender diversity ratio for senior leadership has also gone up by nearly 2 per cent and now stands at 6.5 per cent vis-a-vis the previous year. However, overall, at 26.8 per cent women employees, the company still has some distance to cover in comparison with peers in the industry where the average number of women employees is 32 per cent. 


HCLF is the CSR arm of HCL Technologies and SNF is a personal philanthropic endeavour established by Shiv Nadar, Founder, HCL. The key programmes supported by SNF relate to rural, urban and higher education, and modern and contemporary art. 

At HCLF, the CSR spend on FY20 was Rs 176.29 crore. This was higher than their contributions in FY19, which was at Rs 125.45 crore. At SNF, the CSR expenditure was much higher, at Rs 690.5 crore in FY20. 

Through four educational institutions that are renowned for their impact and quality in the country, SNF has benefited 12,646 students. The headcount has, over 4 years, increased 1.3 times. Some milestones listed by the company in their annual report was the strong performance of VidyaGyan, an institute focused on creating leaders from rural India, that completed 10 years in 2019. 

The philanthropic organisation is also working with the government of Uttar Pradesh in development and upliftment of educational standards of primary schools in identified districts of the state. Another noteworthy initiative by SNF was Shiksha+. In January 2020, this initiative was set up in Sitapur Jail in Uttar Pradesh and works on the model of training literate inmates to teach the illiterate ones. 

The HCL Foundation, through its efforts, impacted more than 1.5 million lives across areas like upliftment of marginalised women, skill development, advocating for children’s rights and rehabilitation of schools, and digital training for disadvantaged and atrisk youth, among others.