Learn more about how we engage our employees and suppliers in growing our business sustainably.
As business travel continues to be at the heart of Accenture's delivery model, we are teaming with clients, when appropriate, to implement smart work and alternative travel arrangements so we can stay connected and deliver value with maximum efficiency, regardless of where our people are located.
Our Smart Work program—which promotes flexible work options—and investment in collaborative technologies are helping us reduce the environmental impacts and costs associated with business travel as we redefine how we work. In fact, Smart Work and collaboration technologies contributed to a 10 percent reduction in per person air travel intensity in fiscal 2012 compared with fiscal 2011. Virtual collaboration, which leverages our extensive video conferencing and social networking capabilities, has become the norm at Accenture.
In fiscal 2012, we successfully migrated all Accenture people to Microsoft® Lync®, a powerful communication and collaboration platform, which enables our people to interact as if they were in the same office. By the end of fiscal 2012, approximately 150,000 of our professionals were enabled to conduct video calls from their laptops with a single click. We expect this number to surpass 200,000 before the end of fiscal 2013. Currently, our people log more than 43 million video conferencing minutes per year. In addition, more than 100 of our client organizations are connected with Accenture in secure virtual collaboration and/or communication networks, enabling us to reduce the need for travel.
Our Smart Work program helps reduce our travel footprint by having employees work one or more weeks per month from their local office or home-office locations, as appropriate, and the remainder of the month at the client site. Additionally, in fiscal 2012 Accenture introduced a new travel policy encouraging virtual collaboration over in-person travel, as well as an associated personalized Web tool, which makes it easier for our people to understand their travel-related carbon impact by providing a monthly and year-to-date summary of their carbon emissions and encouraging them to leverage virtual meeting technologies. Further, our local offices develop programs aimed at decreasing carbon emissions through alternative travel arrangements, such as carpooling and public transportation.
Engaging our employees
Our people enthusiastically create and adopt innovative approaches to eco-smart work practices, notably in our global Eco Challenge competitions, which encourage embedding eco-smart work practices into Accenture projects.
Our Eco Champion networks create 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 lead local efforts that include addressing office waste and emissions, promoting telecommuting and alternative travel options and organizing Earth Day and UN 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 2010, more than 100 project teams submitted environmental impact reduction case studies and in 2011, more than 160 teams representing more than 1,400 employees committed to reduce their carbon footprints by more than 3,300 metric tons. Our fourth annual global Eco Challenge in fiscal 2012 helped us extend our reach, not only to our people, but to our recruits and other stakeholders worldwide. We challenged them to participate in the "Are You a Green Superhero?" interactive game and test their knowledge regarding Accenture's sustainability commitments, performance and offerings, as well as general environmental information. The game was played 50,000 times in more than 60 countries during the global employee competition in June.
A sustainable supply chain
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 2012, 97 percent of RFPs issued by Procurement included environmental questionnaires—beating our 95 percent target for fiscal 2012. Further, we expect our suppliers to comply with our Supplier Standards of Conduct, which include environmental criteria and are now part of our sourcing and contracting process. We are also committed to helping our suppliers comply with these standards and, in turn, expect our suppliers to apply these standards to their own suppliers.
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 2012 we increased the number of suppliers and expanded the category, size and location of the suppliers we asked to participate. We are pleased to have reached a 73 percent response rate. This year, we are increasing the number of suppliers we review and implementing measures to better leverage the sustainability performance information we receive from our suppliers.