Climate change increasingly is affecting living and working conditions around the world, and now is the time to act. We are seeing impacts on the environment, our clients, our business, our communities, and our people—and are committed to playing a leading role in the transition to a low-carbon economy through our actions.

On a global scale, we have set a clear path to net-zero by 2025. But also locally, the Accenture Netherlands Foundation is expanding its strategic focus to making more environmental impact, next to our commitment to the Skills to Succeed program.

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Three ways for making a significant contribution

To ensure we make a lasting and sustainable impact, we approach environmental challenges from three different viewpoints.

  • From a client point of view, we help develop innovative solutions to ensure clients reach their goals. We make a difference in guiding industry transitions to low-carbon energy, mitigating to a greener IT, cloud and software, and driving responsible value chains.
  • From a business operations point of view, Accenture will achieve net-zero emissions, move to zero waste, and plan for water risk by 2025, in alignment with the Science Based Targets initiative. We surpassed our goal to reduce our absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 11 percent against our 2016 baseline in fiscal year 2020. Reducing our environmental impact is also built into our Code of Business Ethics (COBE) and core values. With more than 500,000 employees around the world and a vast, cross-industry client and supplier base, the collective actions of our people, our clients, and suppliers can have a multiplier effect on scalable solutions for climate mitigation and adaptation. Our forward-looking climate action goals enable us to help stay below the 2⁰C degrees global warming tipping point.
  • From a community point of view, we are taking our corporate social responsibility to protect the environment. We aim to expand our volunteering and pro-bono partnerships that improve (marine) biodiversity, reduce plastic pollution, stimulate effective waste management, and accelerate sustainable agriculture. We, therefore, strive to support SDG 11 Sustainable Cities & Communities, SDG 14 Life Below Water, and SDG 15 Life on Land.

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    Investing our skills and expertise to improve biodiversity

    Our purpose—to deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity—reflects our unique role in today’s world and guides our strategy, priorities, and the opportunities we create for our more than 500,000 people.

    Our strategy is to embed responsible business by design into our services for our clients as well as to operate Accenture as a responsible business. Our corporate citizenship program contributes to that by aligning our strategic partnerships with the volunteering actions of our employees.

    A concrete action we've taken to contribute to our focus is the Making a Difference Battle (MaDB) we host every year. This competition is a fun and meaningful opportunity for our employees to set up impactful projects that contribute to a specific Sustainable Development Goal. This year, we focused on SDG 15: Life on Land.

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    “We have one planet Earth and it’s extremely heart-warming to see that so many talented people have amazing ideas to protect and restore it. This is foundational for the legacy we need to leave for current and future generations.” — Geert Batterink, Chairman of the Accenture Netherlands Foundation

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    We organize the Making a Difference battle together with GoodUp. Petra Houtkamp, CSR and purpose engagement specialist at GoodUp, explains: “At GoodUp, we help CSR leaders to increase their impact by involving more employees in their programs, by providing software and services. The Making a Difference Battle is a yearly highlight in our collaboration with Accenture. By using different themes and connecting different types of partners, the battle remains challenging and original every year.”

    In 2021, five environmental impact partners joined the Making a Difference Battle to share their expertise. Let us introduce them.

    Meet the Making a Difference Battle partners and teams

    1. IVN Tiny Forest builds on tiny forests as a classroom for children and a space for biodiversity.
    2. Commonland is on a mission to transform degraded landscapes into thriving ecosystems and communities.
    3. Hivos protects the Amazon rainforest by defending the rights of indigenous people.
    4. Stichting KlimaatGesprekken turns climate-friendly choices into ‘the new normal’ by organizing training sessions and masterclasses.
    5. NatuurWijs connects city children with nature so that they have respect and understand the natural environment.

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    And the winner is…the IVN Tiny Forest team!

    Hosting the nature edition of the Making a Difference battle has increased environmental awareness among our employees and gave them the opportunity to directly contribute to a more sustainable world. The winner of the battle received a pro bono prize, to develop the team’s ideas further after the battle, on a pro bono basis.

    The winner was chosen by a jury consisting of Irine Gaasbeek (Country Managing Director of Accenture the Netherlands), Geert Batterink (Accenture Foundation Board), Henk Jan Top (Accenture Foundation Board), Danka Oosterhof (Project Manager at the Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition) and Marieke Harteveld (Global Strategist at WWF). After careful jury deliberation, they decided that IVN Tiny Forest is the winner of the Making a Difference Battle 2021.

    Daan Bleichrodt, Program Lead at IVN Tiny Forest, highlights that “IVN Tiny Forest shows people how to restore our lost woodlands, on a small scale. It allows people, who aren’t ecologists or forest engineers, to create small patches of native forest and use these forests to educate urban kids and local communities. Research shows that these forests boost biodiversity, store 250 kg carbon annually, and can mitigate the heat-island effect.”

    "For me, biodiversity is very important, and I want to use my professional skills to improve and restore it and really make an impact in the long term,” Jolenthe Janssen, Innovation Analyst and Tiny Forest battle team lead, said about her involvement. “That’s why the topic of this year’s battle sparked my interest greatly! I also really liked the challenge of IVN as tiny forests can have a big impact on children’s life with little effort required."

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    Making a Difference Battle: Nature Edition

    Learn more about the winning team's project to create an online platform to boost IVN Tiny Forest's impact.

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    By winning the Making a Difference battle, IVN Tiny Forest is signed as Accenture’s first pro-bono partnership that focuses on SDG 15 (Life on Land). “It makes me quite proud that our small-scale, but extremely scalable, project won the battle. I’m also proud and thankful to the Accenture team, which did so well in helping me with my challenge and giving a very inspiring pitch,” Daan emphasizes.

    Now, it’s up to the pro bono team to implement the solutions for IVN Tiny Forest. According to Daan Bleichrodt, winning the Making a Difference Battle prize “allows IVN to help people all over Europe to plant their very own Tiny Forest. Right now, IVN’s capacity can’t measure up to the many requests for assistance.”

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    We congratulate the IVN Tiny Forest team on winning the Making a Difference Battle 2021!

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    “With the pro-bono prize, we can create an online platform that helps people to plant their own native forest, to spread the movement that we already have in the Netherlands: about 120 tiny forests in public spaces and 60 in private gardens in the last 5 years. I’m looking forward to making this happen and spread Tiny Forest all over Europe!”

    Do you have any questions about our corporate citizenship partnerships? Eager to learn more about organizing an employee engagement event yourself? Or just happy to exchange ideas and knowledge? Feel free to reach out to Laura van den Hurk!

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    Curious about what our previous years look like? Check out the MaD Battle 2018, MaD Battle 2019 and MaD Battle 2020.

    Laura van den Hurk

    Associate Manager – Accenture, Corporate Social & Sustainable Responsibility Lead, the Netherlands

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