Minimising the environmental impact of our operations is one of our main sustainability objectives and our strong relationships with our clients, employees, and suppliers leave us well placed to do this.
As a professional services firm, our environmental impact comes mostly from carbon emissions, especially emissions generated by business travel and by energy in our buildings, so our carbon mitigation programme is central to our efforts. But we also work to reduce the waste we generate and the resources that we consume, such as paper and water.
We’ve embedded environmental considerations across our business using standards, targets and regular performance measurement, and an extensive awareness and behaviours programme across the business. Similarly, our client service teams are also innovating – creating new products that are putting environmental impacts under the spotlight.
Our environmental policy sets out our approach to managing and reducing our impacts, and we work hard to make tangible improvements. Since 2008, the environmental management system for all of our operational buildings within the UK has been certified to ISO 14001. This is the international standard for environmental management systems and provides assurance that we manage our key environmental risks and impacts, and meet the commitments in our environmental policy.
We set targets for all the major areas of our environmental performance, measuring our impact through the year and reporting externally on it at the end of each financial year in our Corporate Sustainability Annual Performance Update.
2012 is an important year, as it’s the end of one five year cycle for our sustainability performance, and the start of another. As a result, we’re now reporting on how we’ve done since 2007 and we’re proud to announce that we’ve reduced our energy intensity by a third, and eliminated all waste we send to landfill from our offices. Full results are in our scorecard, and in our Update report.
We’ve also decided to raise the bar, setting new environmental performance targets out to 2017.
Sustainability awareness and education
In January 2011 we surveyed all of our UK people to find out how they felt about our approach to sustainability. More than 2,500 responded and the results showed that our partners and staff are keen to integrate sustainability into their client work and their working lives.
We’ve already been running a regular sustainability speaker series, 'Sustainability unwrapped', for more two years. This gives employees an opportunity to ask experts questions and to debate and network with people interested in sustainability. All of our partners and staff are welcome to sign up to the events and attend via webcast.
We’ve also produced a short film on sustainability, Sustainability Means Rethinking Business, to explain the business issues associated with sustainability which we used as part of three year sustainability education programme. This has trained our procurement team and our new partners, as well as staff and partners in major offices across the country.
We launched a large scale sustainability programme in May 2011, 'Building our blueprint for better business', using the move of 5,500 of our people to our new green office in More London as a platform to raise interest. 7 More London was the first building in the capital to be awarded the BREEAM Outstanding rating for sustainable building design, so we put on a thought-provoking exhibition and film about all the sustainable aspects of our new home for several weeks after our people moved in.
We subsequently rolled it out across all our regional offices, reaching more than 8,000 employees in total. We captured what we learned about using office moves as a catalyst for behaviour change in a ‘Lessons Learned’ document available in our download centre. Or you can watch a video on the sustainable travel elements of this programme, Walk the Talk.
Embedding sustainability in our staff services
We've incorporated sustainable options into many of the support services we offer to our people in their everyday lives. For example, they can now search for their business travel and staff car leasing deals based on environmental criteria. And environmentally friendly goods are available both through our staff discount site and our staff benefits package.
We’re also shaping the debate on important environmental issues and collaborating with our clients on their environmental impacts. Last year, for example, we helped Puma develop its groundbreaking environmental profit and loss account. The company is now able to value the ecosystem services it uses, and radically change the way it will account for its use of natural resources. We're also leading the alliance that manages the £50 million Climate Development and Knowledge Network for the Department for International Development.
We’ve served as global advisor to the Carbon Disclosure Project and report writer of its three flagship reports - the Global 500, US S&P 500, and UK FTSE 350 - since 2008.