Managing our carbon emissions

Our carbon emissions are low compared to other sectors, but they’re still our biggest environmental impact.

So we want to play our part, contributing to the UK’s targets of cutting greenhouse gases by 34% and 80% by 2020 and 2050 respectively, against 1990 levels. So we’ve set a target to reduce our absolute operational carbon emissions by 25% by 2017, decoupling our environmental impacts from business growth.

We pioneer new, low carbon technologies, contributing to the 28% reduction we’ve seen since 2007, and we pass on what we've learned to our clients and other organisations. You can find some examples of how we're innovating in our film about our flagship, green office in London or read our 'Lessons Learned' report on how we cut our energy and carbon intensity by a third in the first five years of our target.

Our approach

Our carbon management strategy involves:

  • measuring and reporting our carbon footprint
  • setting targets for reducing our direct and indirect carbon emissions (i.e. scope 1, 2 and 3)
  • minimising our emissions by improving operational efficiencies and investing in technological innovation
  • working with our suppliers to understand the opportunities to improve our supply chain footprint
  • sharing our knowledge of carbon accounting, management and reporting from our client work and operational experiences across our business to accelerate best practice for everyone
  • encouraging and helping our people to reduce the emissions they generate in their working lives
  • buying energy from renewable sources whenever practicable
  • offsetting our Scope 3 carbon emissions by buying carbon credits certified under the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS).

We follow a rigorous process to calculate our carbon emissions, using DEFRA guidelines, and we report them in our voluntary annual operational scorecard. We also participate in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), as well as the UK Carbon Reduction Commitment.

For more about our specific environmental impacts and solutions, read about what changes we've made in our business travel, energy consumption, waste generation and material consumption.

Opportunities and risk

The environmental impacts of our business represent both a business risk and opportunity.

For instance, our clients increasingly expect us to actively manage our carbon emissions and our reputation is influenced by our approach to being a responsible business. So effectively tackling our carbon footprint also gives us a chance to innovate and strengthen our brand as a sustainability leader, differentiating us from competitors. We also know from our internal analysis that it improves employee engagement and increases their view of the firm as a great place to work.

But cutting carbon also cuts costs because it’s about reducing our energy and travel, and because of the financial cost associated with our participation in the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) and our choice to offset.

On the other hand, climate change poses other potential risks to our business including disruption to travel or energy, both which are integral to the operation of our business.

Find out more about our overall sustainability risks, specific climate change risks and opportunities, and our governance.

Programmes

We're tackling our carbon emissions with a range of initiatives that span our suppliers as well as operational travel, energy consumption and waste.

Valuing our impact

Using our new TIMM framework, we’ve valued our total greenhouse gas impact at £37m, much of which falls outside of our own operations. So we’re working more closely with suppliers on measuring and reducing their carbon emissions – see our supply chain page for more.