Being the change – for Accenture, our clients, and our collective future
June 23, 2022
June 23, 2022
From Mexico City to Melbourne, Jose González Cabello has been driven to make sustainability a priority, both in his personal life and work. Hear his story about how he’s helping Accenture Australia and New Zealand achieve its environmental goals.
Sustainability, environmental awareness and social justice have always been important issues to me. Growing up, I was an active volunteer, even forming a not-for-profit when I was at university.
But once I finished my degree, I knew I also needed to find a career where I could make a living, and that’s how I got into management consulting. I started my career in Mexico City, where I was born and grew up, and for a time, I had the two tracks of work, helping businesses with transformation strategy, innovation and corporate governance, and my other track of continuing to volunteer with environment and social inclusion causes.
After a few years, the conversation in Mexico around corporate social responsibility started maturing. Businesses were talking about integrating sustainability into their core business and suddenly, I saw my path.
However, I knew I had to complement my experience with formal learning to enhance my knowledge across environmental, social and governance issues, which is what brought me to Australia. I came to do my Masters in sustainability, originally with the intention of returning to Mexico. However, my wife Andy and I fell in love with Melbourne – and now we’re happily raising our daughter Julia here.
My Accenture journey
I started with Accenture in Australia in the Strategy & Consulting division as a senior consultant. I was drawn to Accenture for its culture of innovation and disruption but have always openly discussed my passion for sustainability since my first interview.
I was working in the Resources client group, as part of a team delivering a budgeting and forecasting transformation project, but I started exploring the topic of sustainability within Accenture. I started connecting with colleagues who also felt driven to do work in this area. Ultimately, my goal was to build a business case for offering sustainability consulting to our clients.
This was in late 2019, when a range of factors exploded to put environmental sustainability in the spotlight. The climate change rallies led by Greta Thunberg were attracting massive crowds, and here in Australia the country was battling intense bushfires rage.
My discussions led me to the Accenture Corporate Functions team, who told me they were in the process of recruiting for someone to lead sustainability internally. I said, “That’s me!” But they’d made an offer to a candidate and so the conversation ended, until early 2020, when they called and said, “Our candidate has fallen through, are you still interested?” I did not need to be asked twice!
Sustainability at Accenture
I started as the Environment and Sustainability Manager in February 2020. While this was a newly created role, sustainability at Accenture has been a priority for some time. We’ve had a sustainability program since 2007, and this focus has grown in recent years with Accenture publishing its new environmental sustainability commitments:
Net zero emissions by 2025, focusing first on actual reductions across our Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions:
Moving to Zero Waste
My role sees me interacting right across the business. I work with procurement to ensure sustainability is a consideration with RFPs and supplier onboarding. Our corporate real estate footprint is dynamic, so I work closely with that team on building selection and fit out. IT is involved to manage our e-waste. I engage with HR and corporate citizenship for employee engagement and programs like in-office recycling and more.
I’m proud to say that here in Australia and New Zealand we are on track to reaching our targets ahead of time. Our people are so engaged on sustainability, with our employee-led Sustainability Squad growing from 21 people to just under 1,000 over about 18 months. These are people, who on top of their demanding roles, are connecting with each other on sustainability issues. It’s a thriving community that caters for different levels of involvement.
This is our opportunity
Ultimately, I believe that sustainability and acting to limit (and hopefully reverse) climate change is the biggest force for transformation of our generation. It’s where the urgency is, and we need people, government and business to all act in whatever ways they can.
I want to be able to tell Julia that I did whatever I could. We have all the information now; there are no excuses.
I’m proud of what we are doing internally at Accenture, but perhaps the more exciting part is what our consulting teams are doing with our clients in helping them transform their business through sustainability, that’s where we can have the greatest impact. Accenture has helped clients navigate and thrive through some of the most disruptive moments in business, I believe we are incredibly well positioned and equipped to work with clients and ecosystem partners to solve for this massive challenge and create value for all stakeholders.