Environmental stewardship

Our overarching ambition is to minimise the environmental impact of the PwC network and demonstrate our commitment externally through appropriate reporting.

As a provider of professional services PwC has a relatively low environmental footprint but believes good environmental stewardship is part of an organisation’s licence to operate.

Many PwC firms are working to develop more environmentally-efficient business practices for their own operations. Most PwC firms are managing their environmental impact by understanding and then mitigating their greatest impacts such as carbon measurement and reporting, and many are putting in place behavioural change programmes.

However, our greatest potential for influence is to impact the environment positively through our work with clients.

To learn more about our commitment to environmental stewardship please see our CR commitments page.

We’re creating new client services. With a global network of 700 people in our Sustainability and Climate Change practice, we are a leading advisor on sustainability, climate change and green growth. Consultancy teams from across the PwC network also get involved in global events such as the UN Climate Summits, World Economic Forum and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

We’re creating a new language for business decisions: In 2011 PwC UK and PwC Germany helped PUMA to become the world’s first company to produce an environmental profit and loss account. In doing so we helped to establish a reporting milestone that encouraged other businesses to connect financial and environmental performance. In FY13 we went a step further and released 'Measuring and managing total impact: A new language for business decisions’ which explores why business needs total impact measurement, how to do it and the benefits of embedding it into decision making. This helped to showcase ‘Total Impact Measurement & Management’ (TIMM), the framework we’ve developed with our clients to provide the total perspective on business impacts, including GHGs and other air emissions, water pollution, waste, and land and water use.

We’ve reported our GHG emissions: FY 2013 was the first year that we were able to report publicly on our network’s GHG emissions. With this second year of emissions reporting completed, we now have comparative data and can begin better understand and look at trends within our network, essential steps towards setting a network-wide emissions reduction target.

We’re supporting the development of water management best practices. PwC recognises the importance of water to environmental sustainability and business continuity. PwC is a member of the UNGC CEO Water Mandate, a public–private initiative that aims to assist companies in the development, implementation, and disclosure of sustainability policies and practices around water. PwC primarily supports these aims through our work with clients, our thought leadership and by contributing our knowledge and water subject matter expertise to the following initiatives:

Virtually all business organisations, whether small or large, utilise water in the production of their goods and services.  The extent of this use varies across industrial and economic sectors.  As a network of professional services firms, PwC’s water consumption is relatively low compared to other industries such as manufacturing, as it is not a primary input to the delivery of our services.  However, we recognise that water management is a wider societal issue.  In addition to providing the above contributions and supporting to clients to manage their water impacts, some PwC firms have implemented water management practices in their offices.  For example:

  • PwC in Brazil has introduced several water efficiency measures over the last two years, including investing in new technology (dual flush system, filters for taps, amongst others) and staff engagement campaigns. These efforts have resulted in an average of 58% reduction in monthly water consumption to date.
  • PwC in the UK focuses their efforts on an investment programme to reduce water consumption in its offices (as they enhance their real estate portfolio) and has a target to reduce water consumption within its offices by 50% by 2017.

We’re creating new sustainable office environments. For example, in addition to its BREEAM outstanding rated 7 More London, office building, PwC UK has recently completed the refurbishment of its Embankment Place office which has scored the highest ever BREEAM rating in the UK. Other PwC firms' offices that meet environmental ‘gold standard’ or higher are Atlanta, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Prague, Shenzen and Toronto.

We're engaging our people - Employee participation is critical to reaching our carbon reduction goal, as a majority of our emissions relate to air travel and commuting, factors that employees can influence.  PwC US’ network of Green Teams drives the firm’s broad environmental stewardship strategy at the individual, office, and market level. Since 2013, 18 Green Teams competed in PwC US' annual Green Challenge, building a network of over 2100 members.  Their initiatives recycled over 1.2 million items and/or pounds, impacted over 800 students and educators through community outreach events, and had a significant hand in educating partners and staff about virtual collaboration tools and office recycling programs. As a result, Green Teams are more connected and, through our national programs, more focused on driving long-term change at the local level..