How TaskUs reimagines outsourcing through climate action

task us image collage people helping

TaskUs is a global provider of outsourced digital services and next-generation customer experience to the world’s most innovative companies. Its goal is to have a positive impact on the brands it works with, on its people, and on the global community.

While sustainability has long been a consideration, the trend of businesses requiring their vendors to have a complete carbon footprint became a challenge for TaskUs—the team lacked a framework for carbon footprint measurement to organize and evaluate its in-house efforts. Jon Wouters, TaskUs’s Division Vice President for Global Facilities, Growth, and Sustainability, referred to this time period as “a moment of mobilization”.

Starting from zero

Rather than building out an internal sustainability team, Jon opted to work with Watershed because of the climate expertise steeped throughout the platform and within its people.  “Addressing climate change felt like a huge nut to crack and we needed guidance on where to begin,” he said. “The Watershed team helped make the emissions measurement feel more approachable, and helped us channel our energy into concrete goals.”

“Our dedicated team at Watershed feels like an internal working group in how instrumental they are to our processes and deliverables. Over the past 20 years, I’ve worked with many consultants and vendors, and the Watershed team is among the best.”
- Alan Katz, Vice President of Investor Relations

After just four weeks, TaskUs completed its first measurement, and Alan used Watershed’s platform to talk through the results with his leadership team. He said, “Our CEO is extremely data-driven, naturally curious and very intelligent. Watershed’s platform and the ability to drill down to very specific areas gave me the confidence in the data to talk to him about why we’re prioritizing specific investments. Everything is clearly laid out in a way that is easy-to-explain and understand.”

Leapfrogging to impact

With a detailed view into its baseline emissions, TaskUs identified three high-impact areas to make fast progress on emissions reductions—employee commuting, company suppliers, and electricity. Jon underscored the value of software for climate initiatives: “Watershed helps me act based on evidence rather than assumption. Prior to our measurement, I assumed buildings were our biggest contributor to emissions, but seeing that it isn’t the case helped me focus on more impactful areas.”

Having trusted emissions data and concrete areas of focus for reduction elevated TaskUs’ own business standing. Jon reflected, “We went from having very little in place to becoming the leader in a client’s supplier portfolio. The speed and agility with which we were able to gather all of our footprint data and share it to our customers in a presentable and authentic form helped us build a reputation of leadership in this area.”

Climate stewardship creates business value

TaskUs continues to see that a focus on climate drives positive results for its business. “We have people at TaskUs who were formerly skeptical about our climate work creating a positive and lasting impact on our go-to-market goals. This mentality has shifted as we’ve heard from prospective clients and strategic existing clients that climate programs are a differentiating factor for winning and retaining their business,” said Jon.

TaskUs is part of the Scope 3, or indirect, footprint of other companies, so its emissions reduction work has a compounding effect on corporate climate action. Through Watershed, TaskUs identified that a dollar spent with its business would generate 20% less carbon than a dollar spent with the average competitor in its space. TaskUs can now share that benefit with all of its customers—in the form of a custom emissions factor used in footprint calculations—many of whom also have ambitious climate programs.

“We’re excited that other companies can now more accurately capture TaskUs’s portion of their emissions and reap the benefits of our work to measure and reduce. Ultimately, our commitment to emissions reductions will help improve our partnership with these clients since so many of them also have goals around reducing their footprint.”
- Jon Wouters, Division Vice President for Global Facilities, Growth, and Sustainability

Future-proofing business operations

Through its work with Watershed, TaskUs has turned a one time project into an ingrained operational motion. TaskUs feels well prepared to confidently report on its climate work, whether it’s engaging with investors or complying with new regulatory requirements.

“From an Investor Relations perspective, being able to easily report data aligned with publicly acceptable frameworks like the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is increasingly important. The groundwork we laid and the ongoing guidance and flexibility from our Watershed team of advisors positions us well for improved disclosure and to respond to potential new regulation.”
- Alan Katz, Vice President of Investor Relations

TaskUs is now an evangelist and a catalyst for other companies to take swift action on driving down emissions. Its vendor engagement team is excited to use Watershed Supply Chain to mobilize its own suppliers to measure their footprints. “Nearly fifty thousand people and many vendors work for TaskUs around the globe,” Alan said. “The social impact of our operational changes are very meaningful and having the data to underscore the progress made on our footprint is very important.”

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