Managing our carbon emissions

Our carbon emissions are relatively low compared to many sectors, as we set out in our statement on climate-related financial risk. However, they’re our biggest environmental impact, and we want to play our part in contributing to the UK Government’s targets of cutting greenhouse gases by 37% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, against 1990 levels.

Having reduced our total carbon emissions by 29% between 2007 and 2017, we set new targets to go further by 2022, compared to the same baseline. These are:

  • to reduce our total operational carbon emissions (tonnes CO2e) by 40%
  • to reduce carbon emissions from business travel (tonnes CO2 e) by 33% per FTE
  • to purchase 100% of electricity from verified renewable sources, eliminating our scope 2 carbon emissions
  • to remain carbon neutral by continuing to offset 100% of our total scope 1, 2, and 3 carbon emissions (tonnes CO2e) as reported each year

These also support the targets for PwC globally.

We’ve seen a 35% reduction in our total emissions since 2007 (scope 1, 2 & 3) and are making good progress towards our 2022 target. This includes a reduction of 90% in our combined Scope 1 & 2 emissions, which has also helped us to save an estimated £30m in operational energy and carbon costs over that period.  

We pioneer new, low carbon technologies wherever feasible. And we try to pass on what we've learnt to our clients and others through case studies and downloadable 'Lessons Learned'.

Our approach and programmes

Our carbon management strategy involves:

  • setting targets for reducing our absolute carbon emissions (scope 1, 2 and 3)
  • minimising our emissions by improving operational efficiencies and investing in innovative technologies and approaches to reduce our resource consumption and the waste we generate
  • buying renewable energy from certified sources wherever practicable
  • minimising unnecessary travel by encouraging our people to adopt new technologies to collaborate with colleagues and clients remotely
  • working with our suppliers to understand the opportunities to improve our supply chain footprint, including food
  • sharing our knowledge of carbon accounting, management and reporting from our client work and operational experiences across our networks to accelerate best practice
  • offsetting our Scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions by buying carbon credits certified under the REDD+, CBB and VCS standards.

Measuring and reporting our emissions

We follow a rigorous process to calculate our carbon emissions, using GHG Protocol and Defra guidelines, and we report them transparently each year in our annual scorecard, which is published with our Annual Report. We’ve held the Carbon Trust standard since 2009, for measuring, managing and reducing our carbon emissions; and we hold the Carbon Trust Supply Chain level 2 standard. We also support the global PwC network response to the CDP.  

You can find out more about our specific environmental impacts and solutions, in our pages on business travel, energy consumption, material consumption, and waste generation

Offsetting our emissions

While we’ve significantly reduced our carbon emissions since 2007, the remaining emissions we produce still contribute to climate change, so we offset them to achieve carbon neutrality, by purchasing credits from carbon offsetting projects. 

Find out more


Valuing our impact

In 2017, using our Total impact framework, we estimated the societal impact of our total greenhouse gas emissions at £65m. However, only 0.1% of it was attributable to our direct operations, down 45% from five years earlier. The vast majority fell outside of our own operations, and we’re continuing to try to understand ways to reduce this impact with our key suppliers.

Supply chain carbon emissions

From 2013 to 2017 we asked our key suppliers to submit their emissions data to the CDP’s (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project’s) supply chain programme, as a way of encouraging them to share information on how they’re working to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change. We also hosted a number of key supplier workshops, which focused on helping them to measure and set targets for reducing their emissions. Over the five years to 2017, the proportion of our key suppliers disclosing to the CDP increased from 25% to 81%. However, we have a target for 80% of our key suppliers to have carbon emissions targets, and in 2019 only 47% reported that they had them. 

Contact us

Bridget Jackson

Chief Sustainability Officer, PwC United Kingdom

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