Why This Matters
Climate change — severe weather events, extreme temperatures, water shortages and other environmental concerns are impacting people’s ability to live and work safely. In 2019, it was estimated that 1.2 billion jobs — 40% of all employment — were dependent on a healthy environment.1 The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us just how much all jobs rely on our ability to manage our environment. Corporations have an important role to play, together with public sector and civil society, to solve these challenges and ensure a sustainable future for all.
As a professional services company our environmental impact has always been relatively small. The shift to remote working and radical reduction in business travel during COVID-19 have highlighted opportunities for organizations like ours to reduce our impact even further. As we build back better as part of the recovery, we are committed to adjusting our business model to support sustainable ways of working. And we are looking for new ways to advance the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal, especially in the areas of jobs and skills, where we can have the greatest impact.
- Reduced GHG emissions 26% from 2019 and 37% over 2018 baseline (64,360 to 102,373 tCO2e)
- Expanded our Sustainability Pillars to include SDG #13 Climate Action
- Actively engaged in WEF CEO Action Group to advance the Paris Agreement and European Green Deal supporting lighthouse projects to innovate solutions to build sustainability skills
- Long been committed to transparency on climate reporting to CDP for a decade and now aligning reporting with TCFD guidelines
- Designed Climate Action Plan with ambition to reduce emissions 50%+ across all scopes by 2030
- Committed to setting Science-Based Targets and being part of the solution to achieve Net Zero by 2050 or earlier
A CLEAR CODE AND GLOBAL COMMITMENT
Our policy on environmental stewardship, part of our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, is available in 20 languages and is included in annual training for all employees. Our Global Environmental Management Policy and Guidance provides practical examples of how we can deliver on these commitments at the local level.
LOCAL ACTIONS, GLOBAL IMPACT
Over the last ten years, we have implemented a number of initiatives, supported globally, delivered locally, to reduce the impact of our operations around the world:
- Reducing energy use and resulting emissions in our offices, by replacing lighting and electronics, consolidating data centers, conducting energy audits, and promoting employee-driven programs.
- Reducing the impact of business travel by investing in virtual meeting and collaboration platforms, sourcing fleet vehicles with lower carbon impact, limiting air travel when possible, and subsidizing public transport costs for commuting.
- Reducing office waste by printing less and recycling and upcycling furniture and electronics.
2019 saw reductions in all of these areas, and we are setting ambitious goals for 2021 and beyond, especially around business travel and renewable energy in headquarter buildings in many locations.
GREEN CERTIFICATION AND EXTERNAL VALIDATION
Sixty percent of our key market headquarters are in green buildings with certifications from LEED, HQE, BREAM and NABERS, and half of our key market operations have obtained ISO 14001 certification for their environmental management systems.
We partner with EcoVadis, provider of the world’s most trusted business sustainability ratings, to assess our environmental management systems in key markets around the world and aim to achieve Gold or Silver ratings in 30 markets. To date, more than 20 countries — half of them key markets — are already assessed, with a majority rated Gold or Silver.
Our participation in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) means we can be transparent about our initiatives and impact to global stakeholders, while supporting us in identifying opportunities for improvement. In 2019, we completed our 9th CDP Report and received a rating in the “Awareness” band, on par with industry and regional averages.
EVOLVING OUR STRATEGY AND REPORTING
Since 2018 we’ve engaged with EcoAct, a leading international climate change advisory and consultancy, to undertake a wholesale review of our environmental management and reporting strategy. We identified key actions to enhance our strategy and focus our resources for greatest impact, starting with developing a more robust data capture and calculation methodology that is enabling more accurate assessment of our footprint. The new methodology uses raw data from 14 of our largest operations, representing approximately 70% of our total employee population and 80% of our revenues, as well as context based intensity metrics that consider the different activities of headquarters, branch offices and data centers. We are already seeing that more access to accurate data is enabling us to set better informed targets and more ambitious goals.
Ambitious for Improvement: What Next
No war, no recession, no previous pandemic has had such a dramatic impact on emissions of CO2 over the past century as COVID-19 has in a few short months. Multiple sources indicate we are now living through an unrivaled drop in carbon output.2 We have an opportunity to retain this progress as we recover and build back by reimagining work and workplaces. Like many organizations, we saw remote work jump from 20% to 85% of staff during the pandemic, and business travel hit rock bottom lows. We are now reviewing how we use office space for collaboration and innovation – to add value, not just as a default – and how much business travel is really necessary. Alongside other members of the World Economic Forum CEO Climate Action Group, we are setting ambitious goals including reducing business travel by at least 25% versus pre-COVID norms.
We also recognize that as a global leader in innovative workforce solutions, we can have the greatest impact by helping people retrain and reskill for jobs in a low carbon economy. Although current projections for green job creation remain low in the next two years, we are looking now at the skills people will need to transition to these and other new tech roles as they evolve. We are also helping people retrain and reskill from sectors that will lose jobs, as part of our commitment to ensuring a sustainable work environment that can reduce inequity. We will continue to invest in skills, innovation and technology to accelerate progress toward a new future of work that is more sustainable, more resilient and more equitable.