Kearney’s net zero plans receive SBTi backing in industry-first

12 September 2022 3 min. read
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As the consulting industry looks to assert its green credentials, many firms have launched net zero targets which link back to the Paris Agreement. But according to a press release from Kearney, the consulting firm has become ‘the first management consultancy in the world’ to have its targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative.

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments. It is a global body enabling businesses, formed to evaluate the ambitious emissions reductions targets set by companies, to ensure they are in line with the latest climate science. As well as independently assessing and approving targets, it also offers guidance to reduce barriers to adoption.

As it looks to provide industry leadership on net zero drives, Kearney has worked with the SBTi to comply with its standards for science-based targets. The consultancy hosts an office network and supply chain in some 40 countries, and its attempts to green its business take place across the entire organisation.

Kearney’s net zero plans receive SBTi backing in industry-first

Kearney’s commitments to reducing emissions in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C pathway centre upon reducing its scope 1 and 2 emissions – those owned or controlled by a company –  by 50% by 2030. Meanwhile, its scope 3 emissions – consequences of the activities of the company occurring from sources not owned or controlled by it – will be cut by 30% by 2030; including a 30% drop in emissions from business travel.

Meanwhile, the firm aims to use only renewable energy to power its offices by 2025, and it will continue annually sourcing 100% renewable electricity through 2030. Through all this, Kearney aims to ultimately reduce greenhouse emissions by 90%, and hitting ne zero, by 2050.

The targets have been evaluated and approved by the SBTi. This is something Kearney believes is a first for a consulting firm.

Alex Liu, Managing Partner and Chairman at Kearney, commented, “To be the first management consultancy firm with approved net zero science-based targets is an incredible achievement. As consultants, the biggest sustainability impact we can create is through helping our clients with the opportunities and challenges in the transition to a low-carbon future.”

Kearney is also actively working across its offices and supply chain partners to neutralise the impact of residual unavoidable emissions. In order to do this, Kearney is investing in carbon removal technologies and projects with proven environmental, social and economic benefits, that meet stringent international certification standards. Meanwhile, the firm remains committed to transparency and accountability in demonstrating its contributions toward a sustainable and equitable future.

“We need to act fast, we need to act now, and we need to base our actions on science if we are to have any chance of meeting our necessary goals,” added Liu. “With this milestone, we are living up to our vision to lead in sustainability, while continuing on our double-digit annual growth trajectory, and demonstrating global leadership for our industry to follow.”

Other firms are likely to move to further strengthen their net zero credentials in response to Kearney’s move. Earlier in September, for example, Accenture added Carbon Intelligence to Sustainability Services line. The London-headquartered consultancy specialises in helping global businesses reduce their overall carbon footprints with SBTi strategies.