As we mark Earth Day 2021, I can’t avoid reflecting on where we were as a global community just one year ago. The year 2020 marked Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary, but the marches, gatherings and events to celebrate it were put on hold as the world battled the upheaval and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, while Earth Day may have taken a pause last year, planet Earth did not — it kept spinning, changing and adapting through all the chaos and challenges we faced. Despite the devastating impact the pandemic had on people, economies and society, our Mother Earth experienced some benefits — less commuting and travel resulted in lower emissions and improved air quality in many areas. With no tourism and crowds, cities like Venice saw cleaner and clearer water and the return of wildlife. That, coupled with many signs of compassion and help from citizens, reinforced my belief that even in the worst of situations, positives can be found if one looks hard enough.
As we are hopefully beginning to emerge from the pandemic, that positive environmental impact could change, but Conduent remains committed to operating in a socially responsible and transparent way. Last year, we published our initial Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report to highlight our progress across three dimensions: 1) strengthening our communities; 2) empowering our people; and 3) governing our business. This report reflected on Conduent’s programs to support the communities where we live and work though volunteering, fundraising and supporting disaster recovery efforts. Conduent associates around the world made a difference for the environment, for people in need and for communities.
In our mission to deliver exceptional outcomes to diverse businesses and governments, we are continually strengthening our commitment to social responsibility and governance. As an example, Conduent’s Board of Directors recently formed the Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Policy Committee, which will ensure business strategy alignment with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues such as climate change and natural resource conservation, employee health and safety and diversity, equity and inclusion. Conduent’s associates also continue to play a major role in helping to shape the company’s approach to ESG. That commitment was reflected in how our associates responded during the onset of the pandemic in 2020 by not only providing world-class service to clients while we transitioned to a remote work model, but also continuing to support their local communities.
As a company, we achieved new ESG milestones as well. Over the past year, we strengthened policies and actions intended to minimize our impact on the environment and expanded our monitoring and disclosure of key environmental metrics. And, we will publish a new CSR Report in the second half of this year.
In addition to progress on environmental initiatives, we continue to build a thriving, inclusive and empowered workplace — indicative of a strong culture. During the past year, we:
- Coalesced around a company purpose that focuses on driving client success
- Reinforced core values including teamwork, communication, accountability and inclusiveness
- Established a new head of Diversity & Inclusion reporting directly to me
- Increased associate engagement scores across all categories in our annual associate experience survey
- Implemented new training platforms to facilitate on-going learning and development
- Ensured the safety of our essential workers and all teammates during COVID-19 pandemic
Looking forward in 2021, it’s difficult to predict what lies ahead for planet Earth, but as for Conduent — everyone can expect to see continued transparency and accountability. Additionally, I know that our strong culture will keep our associates engaged and delivering value for our clients, their customers and our communities. I’m very proud of our progress on all fronts and I am confident we will continue to gain momentum as one team on one mission.