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ZS Publishes 2023 Annual Environmental, Social and Governance Report

ZS, a global management consulting and technology firm, has released its second annual environmental, social and governance (ESG) report. "Responsible…

Michael Webb | May 20, 2024

ZS, a global management consulting and technology firm, has released its second annual environmental, social and governance (ESG) report. "Responsible business for a healthier world" details ZS's progress toward our ESG focus areas that aim to improve health outcomes for all.

"From humble beginnings to global impact, our 40-year journey at ZS shows progress and responsibility," said ZS CEO Pratap Khedkar. "In 2023, we fortified our commitment to sustainable and responsible operational practices, continued to invest in diversity, equity and inclusion and partnered with more clients to address health disparities that plague people and communities globally. Together with our colleagues, clients, suppliers, fellow industry leaders and communities, we're forging a path toward a healthier, more equitable future."

The report outlines ZS's 2023 journey across three pillars that integrate the dimensions of environmental, social and governance:

  1. Ethical operations for a better future
  2. Equitable opportunities for an innovative workforce
  3. Health equity for all people and communities

Data and information shared throughout the report is designed to help ZS stay accountable and make improvements where needed. The report highlights that in 2023, ZS:

  • Finalized near-term emissions reductions targets and set a net-zero goal. The Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) approved ZS's near-term targets to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 48.8% and scope 3 emissions by 55% by 2030, relative to ZS's 2019 baseline. ZS also set a 2045 net-zero target, for which it's still awaiting approval from the SBTi.
  • Further reduced emissions from 2019 baseline. ZS's absolute scope 1 and 2 emissions decreased by 63% in 2023, a reduction largely driven by ZS investing in more renewable energy and waste management initiatives. Meanwhile, ZS's scope 3 emissions decreased by 57% per full-time equivalent, driven by our supplier management model and smarter business travel and commuting decisions.
  • Evolved our sustainable procurement strategy. ZS hired an experienced procurement leader to execute a robust supplier diversity program and hold suppliers accountable for behaving sustainably and ethnically. After publishing our supplier code of conduct in Q2 2023, ZS ensured 39% of subsequent master service agreements adhered to the code—a number that increased to 97% by April 2024. Meanwhile, ZS allocated 14% of our total addressable spend to certified diverse, disadvantaged and small business entities.
  • Identified and mitigated new risks. We maintained a robust enterprise risk management strategy to manage all aspects of ZS risk that could impact the firm's objectives and overall performance. This includes using the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures to assess climate impact and related risks and opportunities.
  • Embedded security throughout the firm. After passing several surveillance audits, 31 ZS offices became ISO 27001, 27701 and 27017 certified, up from 28 offices in 2022. We received other certifications—including System and Organization Controls (SOC) 2 and SOC 3 certifications and HITRUST Common Security Framework compliance—and integrated stringent security protocols in our AI solutions.
  • Sustained representation of women and underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities. Although ZS invested heavily in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives throughout 2023, representative diversity remained flat. Several factors contributed to a lack of year-over-year variance, including fewer new hires. We will continue to focus on recruitment and retention efforts in 2024 to improve representation.
  • Progressed its commitment to advance health equity. ZS delivered 731 patient health and equity (PHE) projects in 2023 across 112 unique clients. The firm partnered with organizations like the American Heart Association, International Myeloma Foundation, Montefiore, Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care, the University of Chicago and the Healthcare
  • Leadership Council to potentially improve 23 million lives. Positively affected local communities. ZS invested $5 million in partnerships through PHE projects and our global social impact program, ZS Cares, that align with ZS's ESG focus areas. Additionally, more than 2,000 ZSers served over 40,500 hours volunteering and conducting pro bono consulting for charitable causes. ZSers also raised nearly $825,000 for more than 450 causes through the ZS Donation Match Program.

ZS consults established reporting frameworks and standards to help track our progress across material issues. In the 2023 ESG report, ZS references the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, GRI Standards and U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

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