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Company Activity

Cognizant is an American technology, consulting, and outsourcing company. The company operates through the following sectors: Financial Services; Healthcare; Products and Resources; and Communications, Media, and Technology. 

The company was founded in 1994 by Wijeyaraj Kumar Mahadeva and Francisco D’Souza and is headquartered in Teaneck, NJ.

Over the years, Cognizant has acquired over 50 companies ranging from healthcare to IT infrastructure services. The company has received numerous rankings from Forbes and Fortune. 


Company Sustainability Activity

Cognizant has declared their commitment to sustainability in the following statements: 

“[Cognizant] focus[es] on protecting and preserving the environment in which they live and work while delivering meaningful cost savings from greater energy efficiency and waste reduction to benefit [their] company, clients and shareholders.”

“As a professional services company, [Cognizant’s]  environmental footprint consists primarily of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions [they] generate through energy consumption at [their] facilities and through associate travel, although [they] focus on [their] consumption of natural resources and waste generation, as well.”


Cognizant does not provide any sustainability highlights at the moment.



Goals for 2020

  • Zero waste to landfill
    • Sourcing 20% of their energy from green sources
    • Attaining zero waste effluent discharge
    • Reducing fresh water consumption to 20 liters per day per associate



  • Set out to lower their energy consumption and emissions within India by 40% per capita by 2015, a goal they surpassed — they achieved a 53% reduction. 
  • In 2015, they set the goal in India to source 20% of their energy from green sources. 
  • As of the end of 2018, they now source 23% of their energy from green sources (wind and solar).

Gender Equality 

  • 40% of total new hires are woman, approximately 30,000
  • Woman represent one-third of global workforce 
  • 400 women will graduate by December 2019 from “Propel,” their women’s global leadership development program launched in 2018.
  • $4.1 million grant to National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) by the Cognizant U.S. Foundation in December 2018.
  • Two women now serve on Cognizant’s Board of Directors, and half of the Cognizant U.S. Foundation’s board of directors is female.


Cognizant does not hold any certificates related to sustainability at the moment.


United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

United Nations SDGs Compliance

The following section aligns current company-wide sustainability initiatives with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Although not explicitly stated, Cognizant has attempted to be compliant with SDGs.


  • Cognizant makes investments in STEM education globally, and has done so for more than a decade.
  • Cognizant Foundation has been supporting STEM projects that have affected the lives of more than 190,000 students. 
  • The Foundation supports dozens of education projects, such as creating smart classrooms and computer and science laboratories to serve underprivileged students in rural areas. 
  • And through Cognizant Outreach, their employee-led volunteer organization,they’ve partnered with about 160 schools in India to teach STEM subjects, holding nearly 100 classroom sessions every week.

SDG 11

  • Since its 2011 launch, Cognizant’s “Making” program grants have funded 225 programs, providing 2.5 million hours of activities to approximately 40,000 young people. 
  • Over 95 percent of these programs are awarded to nonprofit organizations that serve underrepresented and underserved populations.

SDG 15

  • Taking a hands-on approach to environmental stewardship, their “Green Brigade” employee volunteers planted trees, cleaned up waterways and public spaces, collected e-waste, encouraged green commuting, and educated students about conservation.

Cognizant has zero certifications and labels and does not have comprehensive SDGs, aligning with just 3 of them. The company does have several listings and awards, but their progress could be communicated better so they seem more transparent. Overall, they are making some progress but could be doing much more. For these reasons, Cognizant will be given a negative “C” rating. 

Analyst Outlook: Negative 

The company’s sustainability progress is mediocre and could be more ambitious. They would benefit from obtaining certifications to reflect their efforts toward sustainability. Furthermore, due to the company’s involvement in several scandals including bribery, discrimination, and tax evasion, they need to significantly change their business approach to restore their reputation. 

Cognizant has engaged in controversial issues: bribes to the Indian government, discrimination amongst older employees, tax evasion in Chennai and Mumbai, and corruption with former President Gordon Coburn.


Key Points

  • Difficult to find sustainability-related information, limited transparency
  • Annual reports do not contain any information about the company’s sustainability practices – claim they have a Go Green Initiative, but no information to be found about the initiative 
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