Mike Nicholus
Global Geographic Services Environment Director, Chicago
January 07, 2019

‘Dad’s Job is to Save the Earth!’: Climate Action at Accenture

Mike Nicholus

Recently, as government leaders, economists and scientists gathered at COP24 to take action in support of the Paris climate agreement, our Chairman & CEO Pierre Nanterme announced a major milestone in Accenture’s environmental journey: our new science-based target.

This is a commitment to reduce Accenture’s absolute greenhouse emissions (Scope 1 and 2 by 65 percent and overall by 11 percent) by 2025 from a 2016 baseline—we are the largest professional services company to make this type of commitment.

As Accenture’s global geographic environment services lead, this was a proud moment for me, and it reflected over a year of hard work by our team around the globe. We began making plans to pursue a science-based target when it became clear we would exceed our 2020 environmental goal well ahead of schedule, reducing our per-person carbon emissions by more than 50 percent.

To take our efforts to the next level, we identified completely new opportunities to make more absolute reductions; the low-hanging fruit had long since been harvested.

What’s the role of a geographic environment services lead?
I think I have the best job in the company. It’s up to me to ensure that we’re setting the right environmental strategy for our operations at a global level, and to work with smart, driven colleagues around the world to localize and execute that strategy.

Arming our locations with innovative technologies and informative data helps decouple business growth from carbon growth—but all of these initiatives only work because Accenture is full of passionate people who are dedicated to the end goal.

My passion for global collaboration—and figuring out how to drive change in a complex organization—is a big part of how I ended up in this role, which is essentially the fourth different career I’ve had in my 23 years at Accenture. I started in a client-facing consulting role fresh out of university in 1995.

A big part of why I joined Accenture was the idea that I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to DO when I grew up. In a company as large and diverse as Accenture, there are tremendous opportunities to do things that align both with your skill set and your personal interests.

And it was that series of challenges and opportunities that ultimately brought me to my current role—my dream job.

Work that matters
The best part of working on Accenture’s climate action initiatives is that even on the toughest days, I know that what we’re doing matters. As my kids like to say, “Dad’s job is to save the Earth.”

And they’re right. This work is deeply fulfilling to me because it directly impacts the future for my children—our generation must be the one to mitigate climate change. I enjoy bringing my work home (I annually raise an army of praying mantises in the garden as an alternative to pesticides) and into my community.

It’s funny how the topic of my work comes up in unexpected places. I coach my kids’ baseball team, and one day during practice, one of the players’ parents asked me, “Hey, are you the same guy who talked about climate change at their school?” I confirmed that I was, and he laughed and said, “Heh. So, it’s your fault that my kid is yelling at me to shut off the lights around the house now.”

I’m inspired by the young people I meet, the people in Accenture and the actions world leaders are taking to accelerate the shift to a low-carbon economy. I’m looking forward to helping Accenture support our clients, suppliers and governments in delivering the low-carbon economy.

Read more about Accenture's efforts to advance sustainability.

Join a company committed to taking action against climate change. Find your fit with our team and do work that really makes a difference.

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