In recognition of World Environment Day on June 5, we’ve been celebrating our environmental achievements, commitments and initiatives.
Few are closer to these than Phil Calcutt, Managing Director, Geographic Services. Phil is the chair of Accenture’s Environment Steering Group and is largely responsible for ensuring the effectiveness of our sustainability programs for helping us meet our goals.
Following is a dialogue we held with Phil, in which he speaks about maintaining Accenture’s commitment to environmentally sustainable growth:
Q. Accenture established its environmental policy in 2007. Tell us more about your approach and, almost seven years later, how far Accenture has come.
A. Our environmental efforts cover Accenture’s entire operations, from how we run our business and the services we provide our clients to how we engage with our employees and suppliers. We focus on continuous improvement; we set targets and measure progress against them; and, where appropriate, we share our key metrics with stakeholders. Like the policy itself, we review targets annually to make sure they stay relevant and achievable.
In 2008, we set our initial carbon target and, since then, we have reduced our per employee carbon emissions by more than 36 percent against our 2007 baseline. We went from an average of 4.0 down to 2.6 metric tons of CO2 per employee – and we did it in the same period in which we increased our headcount by more than 100,000 employees, or approximately 60 percent.
Q. What drove Accenture’s progress in carbon reduction? What are the biggest challenges going forward?
A. More than 80 percent of our environmental footprint consists of carbon emissions from air travel to see clients and from the use of electricity, so we address both of these head-on. To help reduce the amount of travel we do for work, we have invested in collaboration technology; staff locally where possible; and use our Global Delivery Network to provide clients with the right people when and where they need them.
Working sustainably and running efficient operations can only take us so far. It will be more and more challenging to achieve each additional percentage point reduction against our carbon target. Nevertheless, we will continue to pursue our current target of achieving a 35 percent reduction in per employee emissions by the end of fiscal 2015.
Q. Can you give some examples of other ways Accenture employees are contributing to sustainability efforts?
A. We have enthusiastic support for our environmental programs, and our people are at the forefront of local efforts. For example, they address office waste and emissions, promote telecommuting and alternative travel options and organize activities for our Eco Challenge program around events like Earth Day and United Nations World Environment Day.
At the same time, our Eco Champion networks live up to their name by advocating sustainable growth for our company. We have more than 300 eco teams in 40 countries, and about 4,000 employees participate on these teams. They devise innovative approaches to smart work practices, such as our Travel Smart Challenge, and encourage people across our geographies to adopt them.
To learn more about our environmental initiatives and to see how we are working to build a more sustainable world, visit our corporate citizenship pages.
We’d also like to hear from you about your efforts to help drive environmentally sustainable growth.