How can we work together to protect the planet? The threat of climate change is real and underpins why the UN calls this the first year in the ‘Decade of Action to Deliver the Global Goals’.

For us, protecting the planet starts with our people. By combining the talent and ingenuity of our people with that of our clients, together we can create opportunities for growth that limit damage to the environment. The potential for positive global change has never been greater, or more needed.

"This is about protecting and driving positive impact for generations to come."

— Harry Morrison, UK Sustainability Services Lead

As a partner to more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500, we need to use our technology and expertise to positively influence clients spanning more than 40 industries. We work with our clients to capture competitive advantage from addressing sustainability challenges, unlocking hidden value and eliminating waste.

Our own efforts are about working with our people and suppliers to create efficiencies and improve the performance of our operations. This means running our operations differently. It also means basing investment decisions, such as our pension options, on environmental and social impact.

This is about protecting and driving value for future generations.

— Harry Morrison, UK Sustainability Services Lead

1. Our people

Our environmental strategy focuses on three areas:

  • Engaging our people, leaders, partners and other stakeholders to lessen their environmental footprint
  • Reducing our own carbon emissions and other impacts such as waste generation and water use
  • Driving toward the low-carbon economy with our clients and suppliers

Our people have a key role at every stage.

This is part of our Responsibility in the New programme, which encourages everyone across the business to be leaders in stewardship of the social and environmental impact of their work. We want to embed consideration of social and environmental impacts into all our innovations, proposals and projects—as well as the core processes that underpin them. We’ll do this by equipping all our people with the skills to assess and prioritise the long-term consequences of our work.

In the UK, our Earth Allies network aims to raise awareness and build skills through eco campaigns and impactful volunteering opportunities. They help to inspire our people to live and work more sustainably.

Earth Allies: We all feel a need to be greener now

Earth Allies aims to help our people reduce our collective environmental impact.

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2. Our clients

Sustainability can drive value for our clients, while safeguarding the planet. Our research tells us a circular economy that eliminates waste has the potential to unlock $4.5 trillion in growth by 2030.

We conducted the largest global assessment of business contributions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, evaluating over 1,000 CEOs in 99 countries representing 21 industries. The report, titled "The Decade to Deliver: A Call to Business Action," highlights attitudes about the role of business and progress in global sustainability and human rights. Through partnerships, practice, research and innovation, we are working to increase awareness of sustainability solutions to grow understanding of the issues and change our business to address the climate crisis.

We have a dedicated team of experts who provide a range of sustainability services. They have worked on more than 350 sustainability projects over the last few years and their thought leadership earned Accenture the FT’s top ranking for sustainability strategy in 2019 and 2020.

Our client initiatives include

COP26: Shaping, accelerating non-state action

Seconded two Accenture strategists to UNFCCC’s High-Level Climate Action Champions to help businesses and others deliver net zero carbon commitments.

Telco vehicle fleet electrification strategy

Developed strategy for European Telco to electrify its large commercial vehicle fleet to meet an ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.

Carbon neutral road map for auto parts maker

Identified and quantified how to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030—modelling costs and carbon impact of measures including circular design.

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The Green Cloud

By migrating their computing to the cloud, companies can cut both costs and carbon emissions, increasing profits while making the planet greener. Cloud computing services provided by third-party providers–public clouds–can reduce CO2 emissions by 59 million tonnes per year, which equates to taking 22 million cars off the road, according to Accenture’s Green Cloud research. Accenture runs 95% of its applications in the cloud and is committed to helping all companies become cloud-first.

The Circular Economy Handbook

We’re showing organisations how to innovate. The global climate crisis demands businesses move away from a "take, make, waste" system and instead adopt the circular economy where waste is eliminated and resources are continually re-used. Our UK-based sustainability experts’ The Circular Economy Handbook maps out a path to sustainable business. Released in January 2020, the book includes analysis of 1,500 case studies—300 of which are featured in the book to offer practical steps to the business community.

3. Our operations

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), warned that unless the world heeds the commitment set in Paris, even half a degree rise in global temperature would significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for millions.

When it comes to our own footprint, we follow the same advice that we give our clients, working closely with our suppliers and investing responsibly to reduce the impact of our operations. We are committed to playing a leading role in the transition to the low-carbon economy.

Reducing our emissions

We are the largest professional services company to have a goal approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative, including a commitment to reduce our scope 1 and 2 emissions 65% by 2025 from our 2016 baseline. We’ve adopted 100% renewable energy across our UK facilities—and will do so globally by 2023. We’ve set targets for suppliers—our goal was to get 75% of our key suppliers to disclose their emissions targets and reduction plans. In 2019, we surpassed that goal with 77% of our suppliers disclosing their targets, and 82% sharing what action they are taking.

Accenture also works with the World Economic Forum, a strategic partner for more than 20 years, to reduce global emissions. Accenture’s Julie Sweet, a member of the forum’s Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, signed the Business Ambition for 1.5 Degree Pledge at the 2020 Davos meeting, calling on others to join Accenture in committing to ambitious emissions reduction targets through the Science Based Targets Initiative.

Our climate goals

As climate change increasingly affects living and working conditions around the world, this is the time to act. We are committed to playing a leading role in the transition to a low-carbon economy through our actions and we are proud to share our industry-leading goals.

Achieve net-zero emissions by 2025

We’ll focus first on actual reductions in our emissions and will invest in nature-based solutions that will remove carbon from the atmosphere.

Move to zero waste

By 2025, we’ll reuse or recycle all our e-waste and office furniture. We’re committed to eliminating single-use plastics in our locations post-COVID.

Plan for water risk

By 2025, we’ll develop plans to reduce the impact of flooding, drought and water scarcity on our business and our people in high-risk areas.

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Investing responsibly

We’re investing in a world we want to live in.

Accenture’s Pension Scheme is leading the way on investing in companies that perform well in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues.

Shares in companies that do well on ESG are more likely to outperform financially and remain resilient over the long-term. Accenture’s Pension Scheme is based on a new innovative index developed by world-leading index provider MSCI. What makes Accenture’s Pension Scheme different is where you would normally have to opt in to the ethical option, this is the default option for Accenture employees. It puts the scheme in the top 10% of ethical pension schemes in the UK.

100%

100% of our UK operations are powered by renewable energy

30%

30% reduction in FY19 (from FY18) in UK emissions—the fuel and energy we use to power the buildings we own and lease

750B

£750Bn of Accenture’s Default Pension Funds are invested according to ESG weightings

Buying responsibly

Managing supply chains responsibly is a powerful lever to create a sustainable, low-carbon economy.

By engaging with our suppliers and buying responsibly on a global scale, we influence other businesses and their impact.

We work with our suppliers to help them think strategically and responsibly about factors such as environmental sustainability, human rights, inclusion, diversity and social innovation.

Supplier engagement leader

Accenture is a leader, recognised by CDP, for engaging suppliers to manage carbon emissions and address climate-related issues across supply chains.

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Accenture plays a pivotal role in sparking change

Sustainable supply networks connect the dots in doing good for our planet and our communities, Global Procurement Sustainability Lead Ben Ngobi says.

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