PwC UK Sets Emissions and Renewables Targets for 2022

21 February 2018 2 min. read
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The UK wing of global professional services firm PwC has published new emissions and renewables targets for 2022. Among the plans, the Big Four group aims to purchase electricity from entirely renewable sources, and invest in new technology to help other firms reduce its carbon emissions.

PwC has been reporting on its environmental progress since 2007. Since setting its first carbon emissions targets in that report, the firm says that it reduced the carbon footprint associated with energy consumption in its buildings by 77% during a time when the business grew by 44%. Moreover, PwC also confirmed that it reduced its overall carbon footprint, including emissions associated with its travel, waste, and materials, by just under 30% whilst growing its business by almost a half.

By redesigning offices as flexible working spaces and “hot-desking,” PwC was able to use less office space, while larger offices were refurbished to boost its sustainability and reduce energy consultancy. This will continue into 2019, when PwC will inhabit a new, sustainable office in Birmingham. PwC also invested in new technology, piloting new low-carbon technologies, including using tri-generators in its offices that run on used cooking oil. 

PwC UK Sets Emissions and Renewables Targets for 2022

Despite this progress, the company acknowledges areas of struggle. One of them has been client-facing air travel, as the geographic expansion of PwC’s business has led to more international travel by consultants. Management consultants typically spend 80% of their working time in new locations, according to recent data, and by the end of last year, PwC’s client-facing air travel had actually increased to represent 80% of the company’s carbon footprint.

In order to build towards improving those remaining areas, the firm has articulated a number of radical new targets for 2022. The most notable of these is that PwC aims to reduce its total operational carbon emissions by 40% over the next four years, while it also plans to lower business travel carbon emissions by 33% per full time employee. PwC UK also intends to maintain their energy reduction at 50% from the baseline while growing the business.

One way in which  it intends to do this is by purchasing 100% of electricity from verified renewable sources within the next four years, eliminating Scope 2 carbon emissions. This method will see the firm offset 100% of its total Scope 1, 2, and 3 carbon emissions as reported each year, to remain carbon neutral.

Kevin Ellis, Chairman and Senior Partner at PwC UK said, “Being very clear on what we wanted to achieve has allowed us to challenge ourselves to do things differently — from how we light, heat and cool our buildings, to how we design and use our office spaces, and how we work. We’ve made good progress, but recognise that we’ve also made some mistakes along the way and that’s why we’re keen to share our experience.”