Accenture has long understood the need to minimize the impact of our operations in an energy- and carbon-constrained world. Since 2007, when we first quantified our carbon footprint, our commitment has continued to evolve and grow. Today, we build and test innovations like cloud computing that inherently reduce environmental impact.
Our environmental strategy focuses on three areas: running efficient operations that reduce emissions and other impacts; enabling client and supplier sustainability; and engaging our people, leaders, partners and other stakeholders.
We use digital technology to collaborate, learn and connect with our teams and our clients, while reducing the cost, time and necessity of travel and travel-related carbon emissions.
Environmental stewardship is ingrained in our Code of Business Ethics and our core values, specifically Stewardship. These inform our Environmental Responsibility Policy, which our Environment Steering Group (ESG) established in 2007, updated in 2014, and reviews annually.
Accountability for our environmental strategy starts with our Chairman & CEO and cascades to our governance bodies, which oversee our environmental policy and corporate objective of fostering environmentally sustainable growth.
Chairman & CEO, Accenture
More than 80 percent of our carbon footprint consists of the emissions our people generate from air travel for business purposes and from the use of electricity in our office locations. We are committed to identifying, evaluating, and when possible, minimizing the impact of significant environmental aspects, such as these, for our organization.
Since setting our initial carbon target in fiscal 2008, we have reduced our per employee carbon emissions by more than 47 percent against our fiscal 2007 baseline—an eight-year reduction from an average of 4.04 to 2.14 metric tons of CO2 per employee. This reduction is equal to avoiding approximately 2.6 million metric tons of CO2 or the annual electric usage of about 350,000 North American homes.
Managing our energy use helped make last year the most energy-efficient one in our company’s history. Since 2007, the collective electricity efficiency of our offices around the globe has improved more than 28 percent. These emissions savings are equivalent to a reduction in oil consumption by more than 1 million barrels and a savings of more than US$96 million in energy spend.
To improve our energy efficiency by 30 percent against our 2007 baseline by the end of fiscal 2020, we will continue to execute our environmental strategy, increasing efficiencies and improving infrastructure, and using energy monitoring capabilities in new facilities and existing operations.
Accenture is ISO 14001 Environmental Management System-certified globally. ISO 14001 is an international standard for organizations to minimize their environmental impact. It is a key credential for many of our clients and tangible evidence of our commitment to being an environmentally responsible partner.
Collaboration technology minimizes our need for travel yet also poses a challenge: technology upgrades that necessitate disposal of obsolete electronic waste (e-waste). More than 99 percent of our total disposed equipment—more than 46,000 laptop and desktop computers weighing 180 metric tons—was disposed in a method avoiding landfill, primarily through management by responsible disposal vendors.
Replacing nonrenewable with renewable energy is part of our supply chain sustainability strategy. Last year, use of renewable energy allowed us to avoid more than 57,000 metric tons of CO2 across our global operations. In addition, we purchased over 30 percent more renewable kilowatt-hours compared to the previous year.
Renewables in India continue to be an area of success, and challenge, for us. We procure a significant amount of zero-emission, renewable wind electricity for our largest office in Chennai, India, where our status as the building’s single tenant encourages our landlord to actively partner with us. Our demand is helping to drive the ongoing development of new renewable sources and to support steps that contribute to closing India’s energy supply gap.
Digital will be key to achieving Accenture’s environmental goals for 2020 and beyond. With a philosophy of moving ideas, not people, we have embedded the expectation of minimizing travel into our culture:
In 2015, we averaged nearly 9 million videoconferencing minutes per month.
Accenture is one of the largest global users of Skype for Business and more than 500 clients communicate with our people through such platforms.
Accenture Broadcast averaged more than 100 events per month.
Smart Work helps our people explore alternative travel arrangements and encourages making smart decisions about travel spend and taking advantage of tools and technologies that help to reduce the need for travel and commuting. Besides advancing environmental stewardship, Smart Work helps to enhance work/life integration, the morale of our people and the quality of service we deliver to our clients.
In North America, all significant client projects have the tools, resources and ability to implement Smart Work, and many have already implemented one or more components to facilitate strong connections between team members when they are working virtually.
We help business, government and civil society identify, develop and implement sustainability strategies in an era of digital disruption. These strategies drive performance, address clients’ most pressing needs and also help them create positive environmental and social impact.
Last year, we began to build, test and deploy new methodologies to measure the emissions our clients avoid when Accenture delivers targeted solutions and services for them.
In 2015, we also identified the opportunity to add relevant new capabilities such as climate adaptation consulting and services.
We have expanded our environmental goals to also include a new supplier transparency and action target: by the end of fiscal 2020, 75 percent of our key suppliers will disclose their targets and actions toward emissions reduction.
We take a collaborative approach to advance sustainability practices in our supplier network across our six primary procurement categories: contractors; HR and professional services; IT and telecom; marketing and communications; travel; and workplace services and facilities.
Through questions about labor, ethics, business continuity and environmental practices in our Requests for Proposals (RFPs), we strive to confirm that potential and existing suppliers are operating responsibly. We require that every RFP for competitive bid include a questionnaire on environmental practices, and we weight sustainability factors when making procurement decisions.
Helping India’s 12th largest state revive its economy and create up to one million new jobs over the next decade
Clearly articulating the commercial relevance of sustainability efforts
As Accenture strives to contribute to the global environmental and climate agenda, a key role we take on is that of collaborator, convener and thought leader. We team with other businesses and organizations to gain insight into issues and solutions that will help make the world a better place. We invest in research and development each year to help create, commercialize and disseminate innovative business strategies and technology solutions, including those that help our clients and suppliers improve their sustainability performance. Some highlights from 2015 include: COP21 Climate Summit, United Nations initiatives, World Economic Forum initiatives, CDP initiatives, Global e-Sustainability Initiative and World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
The success of our environmental programs is the result of energizing, equipping and inspiring our people to advance our sustainability goals.
Our leaders have made our environmental goals public and articulated a set of environmental principles that guide our business and help to instill the same values in our people. Local environment leads implement programs to reduce our energy consumption. Our people constantly invent ways to execute our environmental strategy in their daily work and through awareness-building, education and behavior-change initiatives that help foster positive sustainability attitudes and habits.
Our people in the Philippines devised and ran an energy contest in which our people were given direct access to smart energy meters. Each floor in the office building competed against the others in an attempt to reduce energy consumption from the previous month’s baseline by the highest percentage.
Rain trees across Mumbai were perishing at an advanced rate. To solve this problem, two colleagues on the Accenture Digital Analytics team in India analyzed more than 600 trees and determined that there were a number of culprits. The team used social media to raise awareness, crowd-source support and influence local authorities. As a result, the local municipality dug water pits to protect the future of the green cover in the city.
Our Eco Champion networks develop innovative approaches to eco-smart work practices and support our efforts to drive their adoption around the world. Today, we have Eco teams across all of our geographies, including more than 5,600 employee volunteers.
Our people also spearheaded local efforts such as addressing office waste and emissions, promoting telecommuting and alternative travel options, and organizing Earth Day and United Nations World Environment Day events.
Learn about how we will equip more than 3 million people by 2020 with workplace and entrepreneurial skills through our corporate citizenship initiative, Skills to Succeed.
Learn how we foster a culture of inclusion and diversity.