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Eliminating our environmental impacts

At PwC UK, we have a longstanding commitment to the environment. Since 2007, we have been tackling our greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the resources we consume through two parallel programmes - 'Acting On Carbon' and 'Going Circular'. Now, 13 years later, we have exceeded or are close to our environmental 2022 targets, two years early.

Pioneering new ideas

In order to reduce our direct carbon footprint, we’ve pioneered new standards in green buildings across the UK, in the ‘new build’, ‘retrofit’ and ‘shared tenancy’ categories. We’ve focussed on driving energy efficiency and adopting new technologies. This has enabled us to cut our energy consumption by 60%, exceeding our 2022 target of 50%. We’ve been switching to renewable electricity in our offices, whether controlled by us or by landlords: this year, 80% of our energy comes from green sources. And, we’ve been working to reduce our business travel which this year stands at 55% less per person, far outstripping our aim of cutting it by a third by 2022. 

Low Carbon

Low Carbon
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We also know that the resources we use have a large indirect environmental impact so have been applying the principles of the circular economy to everything we consume. We’ve cut the level of waste we generate by 73% - just shy of our 2022 target of -75%. We’ve eliminated 82% of paper used, surpassing our goal of -80%. We maintained our recycling or reuse level above our 80% target, recycling or repurposing 90% of all paper, glass, metal, food, plastics, and IT waste this year.  We’ve sent nothing to landfill since 2012.

Going Circular

Going Circular
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Since 2007, we’ve increased our revenues by just over two thirds and simultaneously reduced our total, absolute carbon emissions by 60%. Even without the effects of the pandemic, we were on track to cut this by 40% - in line with reductions needed to achieve the Paris Agreement on climate action. This demonstrates that it is possible for businesses to reduce their environmental impacts and at the same time deliver growth.

As an early adopter of offsetting, we continue to balance our residual footprint with high quality verified, certified offsets each year. Most of these have been in biodiversity hotspots around the world, where we have chosen to support biodiversity and indigenous people, at the same time as sequestering 100% of our footprint. This means that we have now been carbon neutral for 13 years. 

A shared journey

We are grateful to many suppliers, standards bodies and other collaboration partners for helping us to pioneer solutions where there were previously none. And to amplify our impact, we’ve shared the successes and lessons of our ‘decoupling’ journey widely with our clients, as well as our people, our suppliers, and the broader marketplace. Together with the research and reports on climate change that we produce for the market, we’re proud to have used both our own experience and our skills to help accelerate climate action for over a decade. 

Net Zero

Looking forward with purpose and ambition

2020 was a turning point so as well as looking back at our achievements over the past decade and more, we’re facing the future with a renewed sense of purpose and ambition. The world needs decisive climate action and business has a role to play. That’s why we’ve committed to being ‘net zero by 2030’. We’ve reset our baseline and are aiming to halve our operational footprint again by 2030 - this time, versus 2019. We’ll also strengthen the way we embed climate action into our supplier engagement, our client services and our market advocacy. We’re excited to be part of the net zero transformation. There’s no time to lose.

 

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Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom

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