Simon-Kucher & Partners aims for carbon neutrality in 2021

04 March 2021 2 min. read
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Strategy and marketing consultancy Simon-Kucher & Partners has committed to becoming carbon neutral by the end of 2021. The firm will boost carbon offsetting efforts, while looking to switch operations to 100% renewable energy.

As pressure mounts on the public and private sector to take quantifiable action to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, recent months have seen a growing number of major consulting firms announcing targets to become carbon neutral. The latest of a growing cohort of consulting firms to do this is Simon-Kucher Partners, which has launched a landmark drive to boost its sustainability by the close of 2021.

Commenting on the news, Andreas von der Gathen, CEO of Simon-Kucher, said, “2020 provided us with an opportunity to think about how we could re-define ‘the new normal,’ for our business, in a more sustainable way… We’re making a commitment to reduce our footprint with a more sustainable approach to travel and green energy.”

Consulting is a particularly travel intensive industry – pandemic permitting – with the movement of consultants accounting for as much as 80% of a management consultancy’s carbon footprint. While the coronavirus lockdown has shifted much work to the virtual sphere, this is likely to revert as the pandemic draws to a close. As a result, Simon-Kucher’s drive for carbon neutrality by 2022 hinges on new travel rules.

Founded in 1985, the company now has around 1,400 professionals worldwide, all of whom will be issued new travel guidelines in the coming weeks. At the same time, the German origin advisory firm will deploy a number of wider sustainability initiatives globally – including plans to switch to 100% renewable energy.

Fabian Farkas, Head of the firm's global CSR committee, added, “Sustainability is a priority topic across all levels, functions, and regions of our company. We are proud to be making this commitment together as part of our sustainability journey at Simon-Kucher.”

On top of this, the firm will now focus on reducing its carbon footprint and compensating for remaining emissions with carbon offset credits. Corporate purchases of carbon offsets typically support projects that reduce greenhouse gases, such as renewable energy or forestry projects.

Many consulting firms have committed to carbon neutral and net-zero carbon targets. The first phase generally involves reducing travel, using efficient and renewables-powered offices, and offsetting a large amount of carbon with offset purchases. The net-zero phase – which many large consultancies have committed to reach by 2030 – involves transitioning offset purchases to options that directly produce renewable energy or reduce carbon.

Earlier in the year, Big Four firm EY announced it became carbon neutral last year, and now hopes to be a net zero firm by 2025. Kicking on from its early success, EY has since announced plans to become carbon negative by the end of 2021 – a timeline which looks set to be echoed throughout the industry.