Managing our environmental impacts

As a professional services firm our environmental impact is small compared with many other industries. But our clients, our people and other stakeholders still expect us to minimise our impact, and as a responsible business whose operations ultimately rely on natural resources, we want to do everything we can. So, minimising the environmental impact from our operations is one of our main sustainability objectives.

Most of our operational impact comes from carbon emissions generated by business travel and by energy in our buildings. So, our carbon mitigation programme is central to our efforts, and we also offset our operational carbon emissions, as reported each year. We also work to reduce the resources that we consume, such as paper and water, and the waste we generate.

Our approach

Our environmental policy outlines our approach to managing and reducing our operational impacts and provides the framework for our environmental targets. We’re very pleased with our ten year performance against these to 2017

We have an environmental management system which has been certified to the international standard ISO 14001 since 2008, for all of our UK offices where we have operational control.

We also engage our people to raise awareness of sustainability issues and encourage them to take action to reduce their environmental impacts.

And we’re proud to have achieved a number of recognised standards in environmental management – particularly from the Carbon Trust and BREEAM. You can find out more about these in our credentials section.

We measure our progress against our environmental targets throughout the year and report externally at the end of each financial year in our Annual Report. Full results are in our operational scorecard.

View more

Opportunities and risks

Disruptions to our energy supply or from extreme weather can impact the operation of our offices and our ability to travel, both of which are integral to our ability to deliver our services to our clients. We proactively manage these risks through our business continuity and environmental management systems.

However, our clients and other stakeholders also expect us to actively manage our environmental performance as part of our approach to being a responsible business. This represents an opportunity for us as it influences our reputation, and gives us a chance to innovate and differentiate ourselves from competitors. Additionally, our Sustainability and Climate Change practice provide advice to clients on environmental impacts, so we aim to ‘walk the talk’, adopting best practice in our own operations, and make our case studies and lessons learned publically available to stakeholders. We also know from our internal analysis that our environmental performance is important to our people and influences their view of the firm as a great place to work.

Improving our environmental performance also makes good commercial sense as it helps us to reduce costs from the resources we consume.  We estimate that - cumulatively - we’ve saved over £25m in operational costs between 2007 and 2017, as a result of our initiatives. These savings have primarily come from avoided energy, paper and water consumption, and carbon-related costs associated with the government’s CRC scheme, and our voluntary commitment to choice to offset our residual carbon emissions each year.  We also save on the cost of avoidable business travel.

View more

Awareness and education

We launched a large scale sustainability programme in May 2011, 'Building our blueprint for better business', which thousands of our people have subscribed to. This programme has two key objectives:

  1. To ensure our staff are well informed about sustainability issues
  2. To support and encourage them to take action to reduce our impact on the environment.

Over the years, campaigns have focused on the use of online meetings as an alternative to avoidable travel, how to improve our waste and recycling performance, and cycling to work, together with promoting social enterprises and social impact measurement as a key part of our Community affairs programme.

We also developed an online training module to build a sustainability mind-set across the firm. Called ‘Think Sustainability’, the course was voted the best internal engagement project by the sustainability network 2degrees at their 2014 awards. Over 90% of our people completed the course when it was first launched.

View more

Valuing our impact

We’re also shaping the debate on important environmental issues and collaborating with our clients on their environmental impacts.

For instance, building on our support to Puma’s ground-breaking environmental profit and loss account in 2011, we launched our Total Impact Measurement and Management (TIMM) framework in 2013 which goes a step further, helping organisations to give a financial value to their total economic, tax, environmental and social contribution to society. In 2017 we’ve continued to help several clients to better understand their impacts, and reported on our own total impact for the fifth time.

We’ve made our methodology ‘open source’ as part of our contribution to the technical development of the Natural Capital Protocol.

View more

Contact us

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

Follow us