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.
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.
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.
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.