Our impact

Tackling the climate and nature crisis is core to our purpose - to build trust in society and solve important problems. We've been delivering and reporting on sustainability for over a decade, with a focus on reducing the environmental impact of our business. We continue to build on our longstanding achievements, from being carbon neutral since 2007 to achieving ‘Platinum’ status with EcoVadis for the past three years.  

In 2020, we made a worldwide commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, with our near-term goals validated by the Science Based Target initiative. As well as decarbonising the way we operate and actively separating our business growth from our emissions, we are assisting our clients on their path to net zero and working with our suppliers to address their climate impact.

While we are making good progress towards meeting our net zero commitments and broader sustainability near-term targets by 2025, we know we need to maintain our focus to deliver the scale of change needed to transition to a sustainable and net zero economy. That is why we continue to invest and innovate to reimagine a sustainable future.

Driving a net zero and sustainable future

With the launch of our net zero commitments and sustainability targets, we moved our baseline reporting year to FY19. Our total carbon emissions have decreased by 51% compared to this baseline, while our revenues increased by 20% over the same period. 

We have achieved an 87% reduction in our Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions since FY19, surpassing our target of -50%. This is a result of our ongoing efforts to enhance energy efficiency in our offices through energy-saving projects and renovations during the year.

Building on energy efficiency achievements of prior years, these new initiatives included the temporary closure of several offices, including London Embankment Place, for four days over Christmas. This resulted in savings of approximately 230,000 kWh of energy. Further projects included upgrading the lighting to LED in our Newcastle and Edinburgh offices, moving cleaning services to daytime hours to allow for earlier floor lighting shutdown, and rolling out a heating and cooling optimisation strategy across our UK offices. This last initiative enables our building management systems to operate responsively based on environmental conditions and occupancy. These measures have led to a 20% reduction in the Energy Usage Intensity (EUI). We also source 100% of our electricity from renewable sources. 

Although our business travel emissions have risen this year following the easing of pandemic-related restrictions, we have successfully reduced our total carbon emissions by 51% against our FY19 baseline.

To build on this progress, our Thoughtful Travel programme is designed to encourage our people to be more considerate of emissions when planning business travel.  It challenges the frequency and mode of travel as well as the size of the team required to travel, to ensure that we do not return to the scale of pre-pandemic travel patterns. Through our new Net Zero Travel Dashboard, teams now have data-driven insights to shape both how we engage with clients and each other in line with our net zero commitment. 

Since 2007, we’ve continued to offset our residual carbon emissions in line with our near term net zero target  (excluding our extended Scope 3). Recognising the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services, the projects we support are focused on forests in recognised biodiversity hotspots and meet both the REDD+ and the Climate, Community & Biodiversity (Gold) standards.  These projects form part of the portfolio of projects supported by the global PwC Network. We are also members of the LEAF Coalition (Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance), one of the largest public-private initiatives aimed at safeguarding tropical forests and expanding the market for high-quality carbon credits. Our current focus is to support projects that reduce and avoid emissions while protecting existing carbon sinks, to accelerate global decarbonisation, before transitioning to removals by 2030. 

As part of our ongoing supply chain sustainability programme, we’ve been working closely with our key suppliers on setting science-based carbon reduction targets (SBTs), and currently, 42% of our suppliers have set their own validated SBTs. To further support our suppliers, this year we ran a year-long SME support programme, designed to assist smaller suppliers to accelerate their decarbonisation journey which, in turn, will support us to decarbonise our supply chain. We've also improved the way we measure the performance of our supply chain, by transitioning to a third party sustainability assessment platform. This has enhanced and streamlined our review processes and allows us to benchmark a supplier’s performance more consistently, while reducing the burden on the supplier of having to complete a bespoke survey.

Regenerative and circular consumption

Although our resource consumption increased this year, as our people returned to the office, we have kept below our FY19 baseline, and our robust strategy keeps us on course to meet our FY25 goals. Our total waste consumption has dropped by 60% since FY19, surpassing our -50% target, with 92% of our waste being reused or recycled, exceeding our 90% target. While our paper usage remained consistent with last year, we've reduced it by 77% since FY19 and we’re on track to achieve our -80% target by FY25.

Nature positive

Last year, for the first time, we published a detailed view of our water and land usage. Throughout FY23, we have built on this and have included metrics in our FY25 targets

Some 61% of our water consumption takes place in high water-stress areas, including London, Reading and Watford. However, we have managed to decrease our overall water usage by 19% since FY19. 

We have been supporting nature through green spaces in our buildings since 2012, creating various habitats for a range of birds and invertebrates, primarily in our London offices. This year we started to explore how we can widen our impact. We’ve begun reporting on the proportion of our buildings across our portfolio that have a green roof and will monitor the success of these, where possible, through ecological surveys.

We are already embedding nature positive action throughout our business operations, with our people, and with clients through our new centre for Nature Positive Business.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory

Our GHG Inventory provides a detailed breakdown of our emissions by category according to the GHG Protocol. We reviewed and assessed all fifteen Scope 3 categories, with those omitted not applicable to our business.

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Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom

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