• Aakash Singh, Manager |
  • Jayant Siddharth, Assistant Manager |
3 min read

ESG goals have long been overlooked or considered only a management’s concern with infrastructure optimization sitting at its focal point. With the increased regulatory and market focus on ESG metrics and reporting, it’s time the tech world looks deeper into these issues and finds ways to lead sustainability.

In today’s digital era, software has become a key asset for businesses. However, without a conscious approach, software applications can become vulnerable, socially biased, and massive sources of carbon emissions. Incorporating even minor ESG-focused early-stage interventions into the application engineering team’s culture and strategy can yield surprisingly significant reduction in emissions. 

ESG Focused Application Development

Sustainable software engineering refers to development practices that not only focuses on traditional parameters (e.g., functionality, scalability, and accessibility) of development but also consider the impact of the entire software lifecycle by including green practices and focusing on sustainability of the society and the environment.

ESG centric software development principles focus on the following aspects:

  • Equal opportunity to people from diverse backgrounds
  • Data security and privacy at the core of the entire software lifecycle
  • Lower energy consumption and wastage

Some of the major deterrents to being ESG-centric with application development are listed below:


  • Running legacy / unoptimized features driving higher power consumption
  • Lack of awareness about energy efficient development practices
  • Heavy reliance on the on-premise Data centres


  • AI models being trained on biased data
  • Deployed Applications lacking social inclusion and diversity


  • Higher data breaches and leakages
  • User privacy exposure risks
  • Tracking short term profitability over potential long term sustainability gains

Adding ESG to application development

Studies show that the most sustainable companies are also the most profitable. Here are some of the biggest drivers for the tech industry to pivot towards ESG focused development strategies:

  • A report by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative estimates that efficient IT solutions, which we call ‘greening by IT’, can help save nearly 10 times more CO2 than they emit
  •  81 per cent of Technology Leaders Want Government Regulation of AI Bias (2022)
  •  The average total cost of a data breach is $4.35 million, including a range of post incident expenses

An ESG focused application development strategy will also enable organisations to make their impact on at least 7 out of 17 UN sustainable development goals –

Implementing ESG aligned strategies in application development

Aligning application development strategy with ESG can bring many benefits to organisations. In addition to the environmental and social benefits, addressing ESG constraints has a high impact on longevity and profitability including:

  • accelerated innovation,
  • responsible software,
  • enhanced business continuity & security, and
  • greater brand equity

Key Takeaways

It is a journey, not a milestone

  • A one-size-fits-all development strategy might not be effective when it comes to achieving ESG goals, here are some key aspects that can help in getting started:
  • Engineering teams need to retain focus on development while considering ESG factors this would need management-driven approach, and recalibrated budget and timelines
  • Promoting the culture for sustainability and inclusivity is crucial for holistic success
  • Development roadmaps should embed simpler changes (e.g., usage metrics,) towards ESG initially
  • Consider deviation from guidelines based on a business case evaluation (e.g., use case, development effort, and available skills for selecting a programming language) and utilize carbon offsetting during such exceptions