We recognize that we have two separate and distinct sets of impacts when it comes to carbon emissions from transportation: business travel, and employee commuting.
Business travel is the largest contributor to our carbon footprint, accounting for 32% of the total in FY11. Our air travel GHG emissions rose in FY11, compared to FY10, due to an increase in our overall number of employees, an increase in travel to clients’ sites as the economy has shown signs of recovery, and a “ramping up” of our national training programs. While it is a necessary part of how we do business, we continue to offer alternatives. For example, we ask our people to consider whether they could combine trips, or even eliminate some trips and substitute meetings by videoconference. To encourage the use of videoconferencing, we have made connectivity tools such as Live Meeting and Skype widely available and have upgraded our own technology. We also pledged to plant five trees for every videoconference that took place during FY11 in order to encourage more people to try the solution. These changes have led to great increases in our use of the videoconferencing system: during FY11, PwC staff and partners held 3,951 videoconferences, more than four times the number held during FY10. We planted nearly 20,000 trees as a result.
While many companies feel that employee commuting is "out of scope," meaning beyond their control and therefore not part of their footprint, we have embraced it as a challenge and we work to encourage our people to take the most efficient commute. We have a number of ways in which we do this: mass transit subsidies, carpool matchmaking, and employee and community engagement.
Many of our offices offer a mass transit subsidy for their staff. Late in FY11, we launched a new program, PwC My Ride, which serves as a "carpooling matchmaker." This ride-sharing tool allows our people to easily find other PwC staff with whom they can share their commutes. We already have over 1,200 registered users. A key benefit of this tool is that the cost savings go to our staff. Depending on variables such as the type of car, the distance, cost of gas, and the frequency of the commute, staff can save well over $1,000 per year. In FY12 we will also launch a program to put rental cars at a number of our office locations to offer our staff and partners the ability to rent a car hourly. The cars will allow our staff to use mass transit to get to the office, but still have the added flexibility to use a car during the day, should they need to meet a client.
SPOTLIGHT: Tysons Corner Green Team helps employees cut commutes
The Tysons Corner Green Team partnered with the Fairfax County (Virginia) Department of Transportation (FCDOT) to educate employees of the Tysons Corner office on the negative impacts of single-occupancy vehicle commuting and to highlight alternatives. In the summer of 2011, PwC hosted a Commuter Fair for the Tysons Corner office in which FCDOT provided educational materials and personal advice on alternative commuting options, including public transportation, carpooling, vanpooling, bicycling, and flexible work arrangements.
PwC Tysons was one of nine local businesses recognized in 2011 by the Fairfax County Board of Directors, for being named one of the “Best Workplaces for Commuters” by the National Center for Transit Research. Additionally, the League of American Bicyclists awarded PwC Tysons a bronze designation in its Bicycle-Friendly Business Program, an improvement over the honorable mention received the year before.