Professional services company PwC UK has cut its carbon footprint by almost a third over the past decade in the UK by rethinking how it runs and uses its offices, piloting new technologies and changing behaviours.
This reduction has largely been achieved by the firm reducing the carbon footprint associated with energy consumption in its buildings by more than three quarters, at a time when PwC’s business grew by 44%.
It has released the report Acting on carbon: Our 10 year journey to share lessons learnt from all the initiatives undertaken in order to reach the 2017 carbon ambitions it set in 2007 – to reduce carbon emissions by 25%, hold carbon emissions from travel flat and reduce energy consumption by half.
After exceeding its 2017 goals, the firm has announced new targets for 2022 to: reduce its total carbon by 40%, procure 100% renewable electricity and further reduce travel, all while continuing to grow the business.
“By setting clear targets we’ve been able to make a significant difference to our carbon footprint over the past 10 years,” said Chairman and senior partner Kevin Ellis.
“We’ve made good progress, but recognise that we’ve also made some mistakes along the way and that’s why we’re keen to share our experience.
“Along our 10 year journey we’ve learnt a lot and have been able to pioneer new, environmentally-friendly technologies, which are now used more widely across the industry.
“Reducing our carbon footprint has also had financial benefits, showing that economic success and doing the right thing can go hand-in-hand.”
PwC recognised that in order to reduce its carbon footprint, it needed to start by reducing the amount of energy used in its buildings as this was its largest source of carbon emissions. The firms’ energy consumption today is 50% lower than it was in 2007.
The second largest aspect of PwC’s carbon emissions was business travel. The firm set itself the goal of holding business travel flat, but has in fact managed to achieve a 4% reduction since 2007 whilst growing business revenues by 44%.
This has been mainly through cutting the number of internal flights and investing in collaborative technologies to allow people to connect online from anywhere, anytime.
Other initiatives across the firm include changing the type of materials used in the business, and achieving zero waste to landfill since 2012. PwC has recycling stations on every floor of its offices and this has allowed it to send 86% of its waste to reuse or recycling and reduce waste volumes by nearly half. Today, waste represents only 0.21% of PwC’s carbon footprint.