Assessing our performance
Building on the work we did between 2007 and 2012, our 2013 to 2017 sustainability strategy has been based around two key principles:
Being a catalyst for change - using our skills, voice, and relationships to work with others and become “part of the solution” through activities that influence change in the marketplace, with clients and suppliers.
Doing the right thing - advancing an active agenda of sustainability initiatives which create value for us and for our stakeholders.
We’ve focused on four key areas: environmental stewardship, community involvement; responsible business through our supply chain; and workplace and diversity. We hold ourselves accountable in each area with an extensive set of measures and challenging targets. We publish our progress against them each year in our sustainability scorecard and corporate sustainability website.
This year we’re reporting on our five-year results against these targets, and we’re really pleased with what we’ve achieved. However, there’s always room to do more so we’ve also developed a new framework for the next stage of our journey. We’ll be reporting against it, from 2018.
Stakeholders and materiality
We use a materiality matrix to help us identify the areas of focus for our sustainability strategy. First developed in 2011, in consultation with key stakeholders, it's aligned with our purpose and principal risks, and has helped us prioritise our investment of time and resources. It's also shaped our approach to sustainability reporting. Over the years, we’ve developed, assured and reported metrics for the most material areas, grouping them by our four focus areas.
We review the matrix with our stakeholders regularly to make sure it remains relevant. And in 2017, we undertook a more extensive exercise as a key input to the development of our new Responsible Business framework.
Doing the right thing
We believe in being a responsible business and doing the right thing, for the good of our business and our stakeholders. This includes acting in a way that upholds social and environmental standards.
Our community engagement, for example, has focused on four main areas, with our schools programmes aiming to give children a good start in life; our social entrepreneurs’ club helping start-ups addressing social and environmental challenges; and our team volunteering helping our people develop their environmental awareness. We also have extensive fundraising programmes for a range of partner charities via the PwC Foundation.
From an environmental perspective, our aim has been to decouple our environmental impacts from our business growth, and to pioneer sustainable solutions, focusing our carbon emissions, resource consumption and waste. We’ve also offset residual carbon emissions at the end of each year, ensuring we've been carbon neutral since 2007.
We report our results against the targets for our 2013-2017 strategy below.
Catalyst for change
We use our knowledge, skills, voice, and relationships to influence change in the marketplace, collaborating with clients, NGOs and suppliers to pioneer new ways of doing this.
Over the last five years we’ve achieved this in several ways, from trialling new low carbon technologies in our offices, to launching our new Responsible Technology approach this year. We’ve also promoted sustainability in our supply chain though our ‘Going circular’ programme, by encouraging our suppliers to reduce their carbon emissions, by committing to ‘buy social’; and by responding comprehensively to the Modern Slavery Act.
In addition, our Sustainability & Climate Change team have been working with the United Nations to develop new tools and reporting protocols to help business assess their contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We have used these to set out our own contribution to the SDGs, prioritising them and reporting our progress against each.
Measuring and being transparent about our performance against our targets - both positive and negative - has been a key principle underpinning our sustainability strategy. It also means we can meet the growing demands of a range of stakeholders for detailed sustainability information.
We approach our reporting using the same best practice standards that we recommend to our clients. So as well as assuring and reporting on our non-financial performance in our sustainability scorecard and on our corporate sustainability website, we also report the estimated financial value of our broader contribution to society, using our Total Impact Measurement & Management (TIMM) framework. We’ve used it for five years to measure the economic, tax, social and environmental impacts that reflect the outputs of our business model.
Our sustainability performance has also been recognised through a range of benchmarks and awards.