Our environmental and community responsibilities

Firestation

The Fire Station is a social enterprise hub near our More London office. It also houses the Brigade restaurant.

 
Throughout this report we talk about how we try to do the right thing across a diverse spectrum of activity, from our Building Public Trust initiative to our talent and people strategy. This objective also extends to the environment and the communities in which we operate.

We develop new services to support a more sustainable economy, and we create new ways of working for ourselves to lessen our impact on the environment. This year, we continued with this approach and tried to make sure that our earlier investments are having a greater impact across our whole business.

Innovating towards a new view of business

Businesses, investors, governments and other stakeholders are increasingly looking beyond pure financial return on investments, and our award-winning Sustainability and Climate Change practice continues its pioneering work in addressing this need. For example, we’ve been using our Total Impact Measurement and Management framework to help clients measure the social and environmental impacts of their activities. You can read more about this at www.pwc.co.uk/TIMM.

We’ve been working with the Department for International Development (DFID) to coordinate its IMPACT programme in Africa and South Asia. DFID’s new IMPACT Fund is investing up to £75m of public money to fund innovative solutions for development and help create sustainable investment markets that work for disadvantaged communities. We’ve helped leading multinational insurance group RSA, formerly known as Royal Sun & Alliance, develop a new sustainability strategy. Chief Executive Simon Lee had this to say about our work: “PwC brought both an external perspective and challenge to our thinking, both invaluable as we developed our revised Corporate Responsibility strategy.”

We’ve continued to publish insights to support the sustainability agenda. Our Low Carbon Economy Index: Too late for two degrees? report has been used widely by NGOs and governments around the world. We also produced a report for Defra on the international threats and opportunities of climate change to the UK.

Reducing our own environmental impacts

We’re committed to reducing or eliminating the adverse effects our business has on the environment, wherever possible. Our clients and our people expect it, and it also helps us reduce costs in a number of areas.

Over the past 12 months we’ve continued to make improvements. Our carbon footprint is down by nearly 8% compared to last year; this now totals 58,116 tonnes. This means we’re currently ahead of our goal to reduce our total greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from 2007.

Our business travel carbon footprint has dropped year-on-year by 7.4%. Travel is still one of the most challenging environmental impacts for our business. This is why we’ve launched a firmwide programme to encourage online meetings. We’ll report back on its performance next year.

Other environmental impacts – energy, water and paper usage – are on track to meet our targets for 2017. We’ve disposed of 3.4% less waste this year.

Electricity consumption in particular has fallen by more than 13% compared with last year, largely through good energy management and running the trigenerator in our More London office on biodiesel for a full year. The trigenerator is both energy-efficient and less carbon-intensive.

Helping entrepreneurship flourish in our communities

Last year, we started to focus our community engagement on areas where we could use our business and measurement skills to support social enterprise in the UK. One example of this, which we featured in this report last year, is the Fire Station, our social enterprise hub, and Brigade, our social enterprise restaurant.

We also continue to support the School for Social Entrepreneurs which is also based in the Fire Station. We fund six bursaries throughout the UK as well as mentoring support to over 40 social entrepreneurs. As a follow-on to this, we’ve launched the PwC Social Entrepreneurs Club across the UK which is helping over 190 social entrepreneurs and we’ve opened five new Centres for Social Impact in Scotland, the North and the Midlands.

These centres are places where our people can share their business skills with social entrepreneurs to help them attract investors, or provide other support.

To give all these initiatives a boost, we ran a month of employee volunteering as part of our ‘One Firm One May’ programme. This saw over 1,800 of our people dedicate almost 16,000 hours to help social enterprises up and down the country.

We’ve continued to improve how we measure our volunteering initiatives to give us a better idea of the number of people we’ve been able to help, which is 15,113 this year. And we’ve increased our focus on the impact of our volunteering. While the total number of hours is down from last year, at 45,386 hours, the impact is greater. We’ve developed a way of assessing the social value of our efforts. It shows that there are increased levels of business awareness, job readiness and confidence as a result of the support from our people.

In the year ahead, we’ll continue to look for ways to improve what we do and we’ll also continue to help our clients adopt practices that are sustainable for the long-term. For more information visit www.pwc.co.uk/corporatesustainability.