Managing our carbon emissions

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

We want to play our part, contributing to the UK’s targets of cutting greenhouse gases by 37% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, against 1990 levels. So we set a target to reduce our absolute operational carbon emissions by 25% by 2017 against our 2007 baseline. Achieving a 5% drop in 2017 year brings our total emissions reduction to -29% (scope 1, 2 & 3), significantly exceeding that ten year goal. It’s a result that we’re delighted with as we continue to decouple our environmental impacts from business growth.

We pioneer new, low carbon technologies wherever feasible contributing to our 29% reduction (see chart below). And we try to pass on what we've learned to our clients and others through case studies and downloadable 'Lessons Learned'.

Opportunities and risk

Our performance on our carbon emissions The environmental impacts of our business represents 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 effectively also gives us a chance to innovate and strengthen our reputation as a sustainability leader and differentiate ourselves 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 helps us to avoid cuts costs because it’s about reducing the energy we consume and the travelling we do, as well as the financial cost associated with both our participation in the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) and our choice to offset. We estimate that over 2007 to 2017 we we’ve saved over £21m in energy and carbon costs since 2007 as a result of our initiatives.
On the other hand, climate change poses other potential risks to our business including disruption to travel or the operation of our offices’ energy, both of which are integral to the operation of our business.

You can find out more about our overall sustainability risks, specific climate change risks and opportunities, and our governance.

Our approach and programmes

Our carbon management strategy involves:

  • measuring and reporting our carbon footprint
  • setting targets for reducing our absolute carbon emissions (i.e. scope 1, 2 and 3)
  • minimising our emissions by improving operational efficiencies and investing in innovative technologies to reduce our resource consumption and the waste we generate
  • minimise unnecessary travel by encouraging our people to adopt new technologies to collaborate with colleagues and clients remotely
  • 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 networks to accelerate best practice
  • encouraging and helping our people to reduce the emissions they generate in their working lives
  • buying energy from certified renewable sources wherever practicable
  • offsetting our Scope 1,2 and 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’ve held the Carbon Trust standard since 2009, for measuring, managing and reducing our carbon emissions. And we recently achieved the Carbon Trust Supply Chain level 2 standard. We also respond to the CDP each year...

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.

Valuing our impact

Using our Total impact framework, we’ve valued our total greenhouse gas impact at £65m. Only X of it is attributable to our direct operations, down Y from five years ago. The vast majority, however, falls outside of our own operations, so we’re continuing to work with suppliers to understand the opportunities reduce their impact.

Contact us

Bridget Jackson
Head of Corporate Sustainability
Tel: +44 (0)20 7213 2435

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