Accenture’s position as a partner to many of the world’s leading businesses, organizations, and governments—and as the workplace of more than 500,000 people around the globe—affords us both an extraordinary opportunity and a tremendous responsibility to make a difference.

We deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity. Today, nothing shows greater promise than sustainability. That’s why we’ve made sustainability our top responsibility. Not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because we believe it will be the most powerful force of change in our generation. We must infuse it across our business for everyone we work with: our clients, people, shareholders, partners, and communities.

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Taking climate action

We aim to be our own best credential: the world’s leading company across all ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) criteria.

One of our priorities is taking climate action on the path to net-zero. As a professional services company, we can make the most impact on our environmental footprint by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions we generate through travel and the electricity used in our locations.

Therefore, we focus on actual reductions in our emissions by powering our offices with 100% renewable energy, engaging key suppliers to reduce their footprint, and equipping our people to make climate-smart travel decisions. To help us create a sustainable mindset as a driver for action, we also offer our people training in ESG—from the environment and equality to technology and economics.

Our environmental journey

In September 2019, we announced our commitment to using 100% renewable energy across our global operations by 2023 as part of the RE100 initiative.

Shifting to renewable energy is a critical step toward achieving our Science-Based Target, approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative, to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 11 percent by 2025 against our 2016 baseline. To date, we are the largest professional services company to make this type of commitment.

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BY 2023

We aim to realize 100% renewable energy across our global operations by 2023.

BY 2025

We aim to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent in the Netherlands, compared to 2019.

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We are continually working on developing responsible solutions for further sustainable growth and intensifying our focus on the efficiency of our business operations. See the focus points we mentioned above (renewable energy, travel reductions, supplier chain responsibility). 

We also unveiled three new targets to truly embed responsible business practices in all of our services and across every area of our company. 

  • Achieve net-zero emissions by 2025. We will make actual reductions in emissions by powering offices with 100% renewable energy, engaging key suppliers to reduce their emissions, and equipping Accenture’s people to make climate-smart travel decisions. To address remaining emissions, the company will invest in proprietary, nature-based carbon removal solutions, such as large-scale tree planting, that will directly remove emissions from the atmosphere.
  • Move to zero waste. By 2025, we will reuse or recycle 100% of e-waste, such as computers and servers, as well as all office furniture. And we'll eliminate single-use plastics in all locations at the conclusion of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Plan for water risk. We will develop plans for our facilities to reduce the impact of flooding, drought, and water scarcity in high-risk areas by 2025; and will measure and reduce water use in these locations.

All our efforts are the result of our acknowledgment that business must take a leading role in contributing to the UN Global Compact’s Sustainable Development Goals

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Progress on emission reduction relative to FY25 target (Source: Accenture).

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Reducing our carbon footprint in the Netherlands

As of 2017, Accenture the Netherlands reached Level 5 in CO2 certification, the highest level of the ladder. Providing biannual insights into our conscious performance, we're ambitiously climbing up the CO2 Performance Ladder, a tool used to measure the reduction of carbon dioxide release.

We’re very pleased to announce that this year, we have again succeeded in keeping the Level 5 CO2 Performance Ladder certification. By doing so, we’ve reached our target to reduce our CO2 emissions by 50 percent in FY20—compared to the baseline FY13. We are also proud that we've achieved a reduction of 51 percent in absolute CO2 emissions and 54 percent per Accenture employee.

Please note you can find all CO2 Performance Ladder reports at the bottom of this article.

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Compared to our base year FY13, we have reduced our CO2 emissions by 51 percent in the Netherlands.

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Workplace Innovation Lead Boudewijn Hamersma emphasizes that we truly believe in the power of innovative suppliers and partners to contribute to a positive environmental impact. For example, we use the WasteWatchers app for giving us insights into our food waste. And we also collaborate with BuurtBuik to give away our redundant food so that locals can get a free meal. With that, we have reduced our food waste from 30 percent to eight percent, a great contribution to our Circular and Zero Waste ambition.

One of our newest pilots evolves around removing all single-use catering containers that we currently have in our flagship office in Amsterdam, replacing them with reusable containers. Cara Coffyn, Innovation and Sustainability Lead at ISS Facility Services, is leading this initiative with YOYO, bringing us one step closer to having a zero-waste restaurant. This is another great example of how taking action, both big and small, and through collaboration with our suppliers, can accelerate our transition. 

Additionally, we collaborate with many large companies around the Amsterdam Zuidas to scale our zero-waste initiatives through the Green Business Club. Partnering up with other big players to combat and prevent environmental damage is at the top of our priorities list.

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Our CO2-reduction measures

In FY19, we've realized a significant CO2 reduction thanks to changes in our fleet. Frans van der Hoek, Accenture's Mobility Manager Benelux, explains: "We had 725 fewer cars in our fleet than in FY18 because more employees have opted for the FlexBudget. The FlexBudget is a virtual mobility budget that the employee can use to arrange their own mobility, like an annual subscription to public transportation/NS (train) or zoned travel pass, an NS Business Card, a kilometer reimbursement, and a bicycle plan."

We actively stimulate employees to opt for the FlexBudget. For those who do need a car, we offer selected diesel and petrol cars. Besides the popular Tesla, we are adding more—affordable—electric cars to our catalog.

In FY20, we’ve seen a decrease in business flights because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. We reduced our air travel emissions by 78 percent compared to FY19. We are working on a strategy to keep the number of future business flights below the FY19 figures. And with the Anders Reizen coalition, we’ve co-created the ‘Vliegwijzer’, in which the coalition shares best practices to reduce international travel.

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Our CO2-reduction examples

No greenwashing here though. When you talk the talk, you should walk the walk. That's why we're proud to be first movers in many collaborations to demonstrate what leading by example really means. Some of the initiatives we've set up or joined are:

  1. Contribute to Green Deal Zero Emission Logistics and Zero Waste ambition for companies at Amsterdam Zuidas.
  2. Offer a travel budget instead of a lease car, and for those that do need a car, we offer an affordable electric car option. Also, we are actively involved in the ‘Anders Reizen’ coalition.
  3. Eco-volunteer through Globe Observer and World Cleanup Day.
  4. Print less or not at all to reduce our CO2 emissions. In case we do need to print, we’ve selected paper made from agri-waste, which is transformed into paper by PaperWise.
  5. Contribute to balanced biodiversity. Bees are the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. It is estimated that one-third of the food that we consume each day relies on pollination. We support biodiversity by leasing beehives through BeeLease.

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“Sustainability is going to be the next digital and every business will be a sustainable business. [...] The pandemic, and the collective experience of what the pandemic has done, are really driving different behavior. So, I'm very hopeful that when we have this dialog in 2025, we'll be talking about how every business is a sustainable business.”

- Accenture CEO Julie Sweet

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Looking ahead

We know that sustainability doesn’t stop once you’ve reached your target. It is our responsibility to adapt and re-evaluate our objectives. Now that we have reached our FY20 goal with the help of the CO2 Performance Ladder in the Netherlands, we are ready to announce a new local target for 2025, taking 2019 as the new baseline year. We aim to reduce our CO2 emissions by 55 percent by the end of FY25, compared to base year FY19.

We're aiming for a change in culture: in society but even more so in business. Like Accenture CEO Julie Sweet's quote above, taken from the Davos Virtual Conference 2021, highlights how we hope and expect to see sustainability in a couple of years from now. Every business should have become a sustainable business.

Let there be change, through our own and collaborative actions. We invite you to join us on this journey!

How will you push for environmental change? Share your suggestions on how Accenture could reduce its environmental CO2 footprint with Accenture the Netherlands Environment Lead Ophélie Dubois.

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Accenture NL | Performance Ladder Certificate

Accenture NL | Performance Ladder Communication | FY21-1

Accenture NL | Progress CO2 Reduction | FY13-FY20

Accenture NL | CO2 Footprint | FY20

Accenture NL | CO2 Footprint | FY19

Accenture NL | CO2 Management Plan | FY21

Accenture NL | CO2 Reduction Plan N5 | FY19-FY25

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For more information about our involvement and participation in CO2-reduction programs, we refer you to the SKAO website.

Laura van den Hurk

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

Silke Lepée

Environment Lead and Coordinator – Accenture Belgium, Luxembourg, France and the Netherlands

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