Environment

Environmentally sustainable growth has become central to all high-performance businesses. At Accenture, we have an unwavering commitment to environmental responsibility and our efforts span our entire operations, from how we run our business to the services we provide our clients to how we engage with our employees and suppliers. In living our core value of Stewardship, we work to make Accenture—and the communities where we work and live—a better place for us today and for generations to come.


Did you know?

We have reduced our per employee carbon emissions by more than 36 percent against our fiscal 2007 baseline, to an average of 2.6 metric tons per employee.


Learn more about Accenture's environmental performance.

Our Approach
Our Approach

Learn more about how we are fostering environmentally sustainable growth for our company and our stakeholders.

Climate change and environmental sustainability present challenges for Accenture, our clients and our suppliers. We are committed to understanding and addressing environmental impacts—including carbon, waste and water—resulting from our operations and to fostering environmentally sustainable growth among our stakeholders, including employees, clients and suppliers. Our environmental strategy spans our entire business operation and comprises four areas: running efficient operations, working sustainably, enabling client sustainability and providing insights to advance sustainability.


Environmental stewardship is ingrained in our Code of Business Ethics and our core values, specifically Stewardship. These inform our Environmental Responsibility Policy, which our Environment Steering Group (ESG) established in 2007, updated in 2009, and review annually.


Accountability for our environmental strategy starts with our Chairman & CEO and cascades through our business, to our Chief Leadership Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Global Geographic Services Managing Director and their respective teams across Corporate Citizenship, Workplace Solutions and Environmental Operations.


We have a clear governance structure to drive performance toward our goals and to articulate roles and responsibilities for our environmental efforts. Our ESG meets quarterly to monitor our environmental performance and identify improvement areas. It also supports a dedicated subcommittee of our Global Management Committee (GMC)—the Accenture Corporate Citizenship Committee (ACCC)—in making strategic recommendations on our sustainability initiatives.


The ACCC comprises cross-functional leadership from Marketing & Communications, Human Resources and Legal. It approves major initiatives, including our carbon-reduction targets, and monitors our Environmental Responsibility Policy. At the same time, the GMC, ACCC, our Chief Leadership Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Board of Directors—which includes our Chairman & CEO—are accountable for our corporate objective of fostering environmentally sustainable growth.


 


Running Efficient Operations
Running Efficient Operations

Learn more about how we are growing our business on an environmentally sustainable basis.

Across our geographies, we actively manage and monitor our energy, waste and water initiatives and other resource conservation efforts. More than 80 percent of our environmental footprint consists of carbon emissions our people generate from air travel to see clients and from the use of electricity. We have been steadfast in addressing both as we continue to improve our environmental performance.


Since setting our initial carbon target in fiscal 2008, we have reduced our per employee carbon emissions by more than 36 percent against our fiscal 2007 baseline—from an average of 4.0 to 2.6 metric tons of CO2 per employee. This reduction is equal to avoiding nearly 1.5 million metric tons of CO2. Notably, we achieved these results in the same period in which we increased our headcount by more than 100,000 employees, or approximately 60 percent.


View our environmental performance chart.


Energy management program


Central to our environmental strategy, our energy management program is one of the more direct ways we manage our environmental footprint. Begun in fiscal 2009, our energy efficiency programs have helped save more than 370,000 megawatt-hours of electricity and nearly 250,000 metric tons of CO2—approximately the same amounts generated from global electricity usage in all of fiscal 2013. These efficiency gains have produced savings of more than US$46 million over that same time period.


The program comprises: remote energy monitoring; our environmental management system and ISO 14001 certification renewable sources; waste management; and water management.


Remote Energy Monitoring


To reduce our use of office electricity, we began implementing Remote Energy Monitoring (REM) technologies in fiscal 2010, prioritizing high-consumption locations. Through real-time monitoring, these “smart meters” enable us to make more informed decisions about energy consumption. Energy efficiency improvements due to REM technology can also accelerate energy reduction efforts, yielding as much as a 13 percent energy efficiency improvement in some locations within four weeks.


We ended fiscal 2012 with more than 140 smart meters in 19 targeted office locations across 11 countries. In fiscal 2013, we increased our use to 314 meters in 13 countries.


Environmental Management System and ISO 14001 certification


Accenture remains committed to incorporating leading environmental practices into our business strategy and operations and to fostering environmental awareness and responsibility reporting among our employees, clients and suppliers.


In 2013, we expanded our ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) Certification to include two new sites: Johannesburg, South Africa, and Luanda, Angola. With its focus on energy efficiency, this is a key credential for many of our clients and tangible evidence of our commitment to being an environmentally responsible partner. Additionally, through an investment of time and resources that demonstrates continual improvement, we sustained certification at all 66 existing sites in fiscal 2012 and 2013.


In addition to demonstrating to clients the seriousness of our intention to manage our environmental performance, our ISO 14001 certified locations serve as incubation factories to generate innovative ideas. We can then promote these throughout our organization broadly.


Renewable sources


We have developed a global procurement strategy to replace nonrenewable with renewable energy, where practical. In light of market constraints around the availability of renewable energy, we are limited to where we can buy it. In fiscal 2012, however, we began purchasing renewable wind electricity for our largest office in Chennai, India, and since that time, we have purchased more than 20,000 megawatt-hours. This enabled us to avoid more than 18,400 metric tons of CO2 between fiscal 2012 and 2013, equivalent to carbon savings totaling more than 3 percent of our global electricity emissions.


Given marketplace constraints around the availability of renewable energy, in fiscal 2013 we initiated a two-step process: first, to identify which of our offices could have renewable energy; and second, to actively pursue purchases wherever possible. As part of our carbon reduction effort, we are also exploring additional green energy options, such as working with property managers of the buildings where we rent space to install solar panels and occupancy lighting solutions.


Waste management


We manage electronic waste (e-waste) across our company through a global tracking application and relationships with disposal vendors. This ensures proper disposal of materials that may contain toxic ingredients such as lead, mercury or cadmium.


In fiscal 2012, we tracked the disposal of more than 58,000 laptop and desktop computers, comprising more than 270 metric tons of equipment. This represented an increase of approximately 100 metric tons over fiscal 2011. Approximately 99 percent of e-waste tracked in our system was disposed of in a method avoiding landfill, primarily through management by responsible disposal vendors. In fiscal 2013, we disposed of more than 250 metric tons of e-waste, with more than 99 percent avoiding landfill.


Additionally, in 2012, we implemented a global policy mandating a no-landfill requirement in situations where it can be avoided and specifying security guidelines for data removal. We also identified new vendors who meet our quality and responsibility standards and took further measures to promote vendor accountability.


Water management


Accenture seeks to minimize water consumption and prevent water pollution across our business. While our operations are not water-intensive, we recognize the increasing importance of water availability in areas of the world that may become water-stressed due to factors such as population increases or drought. We will continue to work with our building-management companies to promote the careful use of water, implementing improvements where practical.


Among the steps we have taken to conserve water is our display of conservation awareness posters in the offices of all ISO 14001 certified locations.


Working Sustainably
Working Sustainably

Learn more about how we engage our employees and suppliers in growing our business sustainably.

Our people enthusiastically support our environmental strategy. They champion sustainable growth for our company and our stakeholders by using virtual collaboration technologies, exploring alternative travel arrangements and encouraging our suppliers’ sustainability efforts.


Collaboration through technology


Our people are collaborating more closely with clients and each other, enabling us to work smarter and deliver more effectively than ever before, regardless of location, and in the most environmentally and economically efficient manner.


As part of Collaboration Counts!, a global initiative from our internal IT organization, we have expanded our social and video capabilities, allowing our people to better connect with each other through technology. Additionally, our Collaboration Counts! portal helps familiarize our employees with the many options available for video and social collaboration.


Now the norm both inside Accenture and, increasingly, among our clients, videoconferencing allows us to conduct business “face to face.” Today, we can hold Telepresence meetings with nearly 80 clients, and more than 350 organizations connect with us via Accenture’s Videoconferencing Bridging Service. We average approximately 43 million videoconferencing minutes per year.


Additionally, nearly 400 clients can communicate with Accenture employees easily and securely over a common communications platform such as Microsoft® Lync®—of which Accenture is the largest user globally—or Office Communicator.


Smart Work program


Our Smart Work program promotes flexible work options and, with our collaborative technologies, is helping us reduce the environmental impacts and costs associated with business travel. As we redefine how we work, we are also expanding our local resources to help us reduce travel whenever possible and appropriate.


Our results include:


  • In fiscal 2013, employee emissions from air travel decreased more than 5 percent over per-person emissions from air travel in fiscal 2012 (1.41 metric tons per person, down to 1.33 metric tons per person).
  • In fiscal 2013, we analyzed daily commuting travel avoided by employees worldwide who occasionally telework. We found that we helped employees avoid an estimated 35,000 metric tons of CO2 through policies and technologies that support working from home, equivalent to removing nearly 7,300 US passenger vehicles from the road for one year.
  • In North America, we launched a “Smart Work Travel Calculator,” which allows project teams to quickly estimate savings in cost, employee commuting time and CO2 possible through the implementation of alternative travel models, enabled by collaboration technology.

Engaging our employees


Our people embrace the Accenture Way and enthusiastically create and adopt innovative, collaborative and valuable approaches to eco-smart work practices, notably in our global Eco Challenge competitions, which encourage embedding eco-smart work practices into projects.


Our Eco Champion networks around the world develop innovative approaches to eco-smart work practices and support our efforts to drive their adoption across our geographies. We have more than 300 eco teams in 40 countries, encompassing approximately 4,000 employee volunteers. Our people also spearhead local efforts that include addressing office waste and emissions, promoting telecommuting and alternative travel options and organizing Earth Day and United Nations World Environment Day events.


In 2009, employees participated in Accenture's first global Eco Challenge, designed to help employees estimate their carbon footprints online and pledge to reduce their impact. In fiscal 2012 and 2013, Accenture people played the “Are You a Green Superhero?” interactive game, which tested their knowledge of our sustainability commitments, performance and offerings, as well as general environmental information. Overall, the game was played nearly 60,000 times in approximately 70 countries.


Nurturing supplier sustainability


As we strive to improve the sustainability of our own operations, Accenture also seeks to use our knowledge, experience and technologies to encourage our suppliers' sustainability efforts.


Since 2007, we have asked all new suppliers in our Procurement process questions about their environmental performance. In fiscal 2013, 99 percent of Requests for Proposals issued by Procurement included environmental questionnaires—beating our 95 percent target for fiscal 2013 and our results for 2012.


We set high standards for the way we conduct business, and we expect our suppliers to uphold them. Accenture’s Supplier Standards of Conduct are key to securing our suppliers’ commitment through our Global Procurement sourcing and contracting process. The Standards, which include compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, supplement our Code of Business Ethics and reflect our core values and commitment to the United Nations Global Compact.


In addition, we have been corporate members of CDP’s Supply Chain program since 2010, which enables us to take a strategic, standardized approach to communicating with our most-critical suppliers on their climate-change strategies. In fiscal 2013, we more than doubled the number of suppliers we asked to participate in the CDP Supply Chain questionnaire, and we achieved a 72 percent response rate, similar to our 2012 result. According to CDP, the average response rate in 2013 was 51 percent.


Read more about how we are nurturing supplier sustainability.

Enabling Client Sustainability
Enabling Client Sustainability

Learn more about how we are helping clients on their sustainability journey.

Accenture plays a pivotal role in helping to build sustainable growth for our clients, our company and our people to drive the global sustainability agenda. We combine a comprehensive set of sustainability assets, offerings and tools with our insights and deep experience to help clients achieve high performance in four strategic areas: sustainability strategy; sustainability operational excellence; energy and resource optimization; and intelligent infrastructure and cities.


For example:


  • With regulators introducing taxation on e-waste, Nokia asked Accenture to help assess different methods to increase returns of end-of-life equipment. Through our market analysis, model prototyping and the development of a full report on a revolutionary new deposit model, Nokia took the lead among stakeholders and industry peers in addressing e-waste.
  • In fiscal 2012, Accenture partnered with SAP to help global oil and gas companies improve operational and environmental performance and increase efficiencies with upstream solutions that integrate and digitize oil field operational functions.
  • In fiscal 2012, Accenture provided the city of Chicago with one of the most comprehensive databases of building energy use ever assembled by a US city. We identified areas where enhancing energy efficiency of the city’s 450,000 buildings would provide the best return on investment—identifying potential annual energy savings of more than US$100 million.
  • In fiscal 2013, Accenture built and deployed a demand response customer billing system for the Yokohama Smart City Project, the largest smart city pilot in Japan. Using advanced analytics, the system evaluates weather forecasts and residents’ energy usage data to analyze and predict times of high demand. It also provides incentives for residents to reduce their electricity usage.

 


In addition, we invest in technologies and solutions—including intelligent infrastructure, cloud computing and smart grid solutions—that we believe will be drivers of our clients’ growth and will help meet climate change objectives. In fact, in fiscal 2013 we invested US$715 million in research and development to help create, commercialize and disseminate innovative business strategies and technology solutions.



Providing Insights to Advance Sustainability
Providing Insights to Advance Sustainability

Learn more about how we are contributing to the overall environmental agenda in collaboration with other businesses and organizations.

Accenture strives to contribute to the overall environmental agenda by serving as a collaborator, convener and thought leader. We work to gain insight into issues, and we team with other businesses and organizations on solutions that will help make the world a better place.


In 2013, Accenture was once again selected to conduct the United Nations Global Compact’s triennial CEO study, the world’s largest CEO study on sustainability.


Accenture has taken a leadership role in the UN Secretary General’s Initiative, Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All). Our goal is to play a key role in providing sustainable energy to the 1.3 billion people who lack access to it, and to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy use in developed countries.


In fiscal 2012, Accenture unveiled a framework for business action at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil. Following that breakthrough corporate sustainability forum, Accenture created a Strategic Work Program for SE4All for 2013‒2015. We remain intimately involved in the development of private-sector partnerships around the initiative and will spearhead our own energy access initiative utilizing our Accenture Development Partnerships model.


Additionally, we are a founding member, and our Chairman & CEO is an executive board member, of the Green Growth Action Alliance. This World Economic Forum initiative supports environmentally and economically sustainable growth through the collaboration of more than 50 leading financial institutions, corporations, governments and nongovernmental organizations.


Accenture continues to be a key partner to CDP across several areas. We have been a service provider for its infrastructure since 2010, powering its website and customer relationship management solution and providing carbon analysis for its clients. Accenture also acts as a knowledge partner and report writer for a selection of CDP’s high-profile publications, including the Supply Chain report, the European Cities report and specific country reports.


In fiscal 2013, Accenture convened thought leaders from around the world at Sustainability 24, an annual forum to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by business sustainability. The event featured a 12-hour live, online broadcast, connecting more than 60 speakers with thousands of viewers engaged in the sustainability debate. Our report captures the innovations discussed during the broadcast. The next forum, scheduled for June 2014, will continue to drive our overall objective of placing sustainability at the heart of the strategic agenda.




Read more about Accenture and the environment in our:


2012–2013 Corporate Citizenship Report

2013 UNGC Communication on Progress [PDF, 1MB]

2014 CDP Report [PDF, 783KB]

2010–2011 Corporate Citizenship Report


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Environment: Corporate Citizenship - Accenture 
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