Climate change risks and opportunities

We use the same governance structure to deal with climate change risk as we use to deal with all risks to our business. We weigh climate change risk in proportion to all other risks and monitor it regularly. There are currently no limate change risks among the firm’s principle risks.

We’ve outlined below what we see as the main climate change risks to our firm, listing those that would have the biggest impact first.

Climate change risk 






Failing to incorporate climate change thinking and legislation into our services.

Our people must be aware of the risks and opportunities climate change may bring to the audit, tax and advisory services they offer our clients.

New understanding of climate change and associated issues, including expected changes to climate, weather patterns, sea levels and the availability of water.

Changes to the law, or voluntary standards.

Expected long-term increase

We update our staff training to include new legislation, as appropriate, and run an ongoing sustainability awareness programme for our people.

Policy, legislative and other changes in the commercial environment offer us opportunities to help clients develop strategies to deal with climate change.


Disruption to UK and international travel, preventing our people from delivering client engagements.

We rely on our people being able to support clients across the UK and around the world. Our ability to move people around is critical.

Severe weather or flooding associated with climate change.

Expected long-term increase

We invest in technology and behaviour change programmes to encourage alternatives to travel, such as using web-conferencing with our clients instead of avoidable travel.

This allows us to deliver our services to clients with less disruption.


More expensive travel

Increasing fuel costs and tax.

Potential inclusion of airlines in carbon trading schemes.

Expected increase

The need for alternatives to travel helps us reconsider the way we work – with a view to cutting our costs, our carbon emissions and to enhancing our people’s wellbeing.


Rising energy costs

We need energy to deliver services to our clients, primarily for our buildings and information technology.

Potential energy price increases

UK regulation, including:

  • The Renewables Obligation (RO), which requires an increasing proportion of renewable sources from energy providers
  • The Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), charging for carbon associated with energy use in our buildings.


We have an energy and carbon reduction strategy in place.

Our innovations mean we’re gathering valuable expertise which we can use to help our clients solve these problems too.


Less energy security - leaving us at risk of being unable to work.

Potential UK and worldwide resource constraints for fuel and electricity.

Expected increase

Our drive to reduce energy consumption across our offices and our investment in trigenerators which run on recycled cooking oil give us greater predictability, lower energy consumption, carbon emissions and costs.


Breaching environment-related laws

Our reputation as a trusted adviser rests on us meeting regulatory requirements.

UK regulation, including:

  • Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC)
  • Energy Performance of Buildings
  • Environment Act 1995
  • Environmental Protection
  • Site Waste Management Plan
  • Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).

No significant change

We have strong controls in place, including our ISO 14001 Environmental Management System, to ensure compliance with all regulation.

Our client work on policy development and evaluation means we’ve the expertise to respond fast and well to regulatory and legal changes impacting our business.


Failure to meet stakeholder expectations relating to climate change and sustainability.

Rising awareness and understanding of climate change and its business implications.

No significant change

We’ve established methods for discussion with our stakeholders to understand their expectations of us, and take action to mitigate any reputational risks which are identified.

How are we adapting to climate change?

We’ve analysed the risk of climate change to our firm and are now implementing the following measures to help us adapt appropriately:

  1. Cutting the amount of national grid energy we require. We’re doing this by cutting our energy use, piloting and introducing innovative technologies such as voltage optimisation, active chiller beams and smart gas metering. And we’re moving toward secure, proprietary systems and biofuels for some of our power generation.
    Find out more about our energy reduction.
  2. Minimising unnecessary travel, in part by providing technology to help us connect with clients without always being in the same room as them. A key element of this is the use of online meetings: we’ve increased our usage by more than 2000% in the last four years, and have set a new target to triple usage again by 2017. We’ve invested in a UK-wide video conferencing network, including more than 40 high definition video conferencing suites in our 7 More London and Embankment Place buildings.
  3. Helping our people understand sustainability and climate change, including the impact these issues are having on our business and on our clients. We started this work in 2007, when more than 200 senior leaders and partners undertook extensive training on sustainability and have been active in building awareness since. We have more than 8,000 of our people signed up to our sustainable behaviours campaign which improves their understanding of the issues at stake and help them work more sustainably. And in 2013 we launched our award-winning on-line sustainability training this year to enhance the quality of our work by helping our people to consider longer term sustainability considerations in their client work.

See our risks section to find out more about our approach to sustainability risks.

Contact us

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

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