Progress toward our goal

Progress toward our goal

When we conducted our first carbon footprint analysis in FY07, we began our process to define, measure, and manage our carbon footprint. We did this by applying the WRI/WBCSD Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol and estimating our emissions comprehensively across a range of activities, including our office operations, and employee travel and commuting, which collectively constituted 83% of our footprint in FY13. Based on this work, we set a carbon reduction goal and developed programs to cut our GHG emissions 20% by FY12, compared to an FY07 baseline. In FY11 we reached our reduction goal ahead of schedule, and committed to reducing our carbon footprint an additional 10% by FY16, for a total of a 30% reduction in absolute terms.

PwC U.S. carbon footprint FY07 to FY13

Total GHG emissions and GHG emissions per full-time employee

Progress toward our carbon reduction goal

PwC U.S. carbon footprint

Composition of our carbon footprint

PwC U.S. Carbon Footprint

Progress to goal bar graph
Area FY07 FY08 FY09 FY10 FY11 FY12 FY13
Air travel 110,000 90,559 71,237 70,222 78,940 108,617 111,657
Commute 85,165 83,079 68,968 67,268 71,977 81,791 36,527
Workspace 52,389 56,153 49,144 52,435 52,854 52,648 52,763
Other 46,004 43,716 42,068 37,273 39,545 40,435 42,127
Total CO2e (gross of RECs) 293,558 273,507 231,417 227,198 243,316 283,491 243,074
RECs 0 0 0 0 0 26,324 52,763
Total CO2e (net of RECs) 293,558 273,507 231,417 227,198 243,316 257,167 190,311
CO2e per FTE 9.5 8.9 7.4 7.2 7.3 7.0 4.9

All of the energy we used in our offices in FY13 came from renewable sources. We purchased renewable energy certificates, which mitigated our workspace energy use. This and other efforts have helped us to exceed our FY16 goal. But merely reaching our goal is not enough. We know it is important to demonstrate our ability to sustain this level of reduction for the long term. The challenge ahead is to manage our carbon emissions as the firm increases the overall numbers of partners and staff to meet the needs of our clients. In addition to our focus on absolute carbon reduction, we also continue to monitor our emissions by full-time employee. Since our initial measurement in FY07, we have reduced our emissions per employee by 49%.

To stay on track in terms of our 30% reduction goal, we are continuing to build on our environmental strategy with a variety of approaches, including exploring ways to manage our air travel, being flexible in where we work, improving the efficiency of our offices, and leveraging the enthusiasm of our Green Teams.

PwC U.S. carbon footprint composition

Breakdown by major emission category

Scope emissions

PwC U.S. carbon footprint by scope

Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions

Scope emissions

PwC U.S. carbon footprint composition – Breakdown by major emission category %
Air travel 46
Workspace 22
Commuting 15
Other 17
PwC U.S. carbon footprint by scope Metric tons of CO2e
Scope 1 – Diesel 97
Scope 2 – Electricity 52,763
Scope 3 – Air, commute, reimbursed miles, other 190,214
Total 243,074

More on our carbon footprint

  1. Our GHG footprint is calculated using a detailed and documented methodology. We use the following standards in calculating emissions, as relevant:

    • Greenhouse Gas Protocol
    • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    • U.S. Energy Information Administration Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS)
    • Environmental Defense Fund Paper Calculator
    • Defra/DECC

    These standards include assumptions about the composition of GHGs in various kinds of emissions. While the vast majority of our GHG emissions are CO2, our calculation also includes other GHGs, for example, from car and bus exhaust. We report in CO2e, which accounts for these other GHGs. We do not have any biogenic emissions.

  2. The baseline year for our GHG footprint is FY2007, which corresponds to the expansion of our corporate responsibility efforts and focus on reducing our environmental footprint.

  3. We consolidate our emissions calculation based on operational control within the United States.

  4. Our GHG footprint calculation includes the WRI/WBCSD Scopes 1, 2, and 3 as described below. Our GHG intensity ratio calculation includes Scopes 1, 2, and 3. The denominator is full-time equivalent employees (FTE), a measure of the number of people we employ. As a professional services firm, our emissions are driven by the activities of our employees in the delivery of their professional duties, so this is the most relevant factor by which to normalize our emissions.

    Scope 1: We have very limited direct (Scope 1) emissions, which are related to the use of diesel fuel for backup generators.

    Scope 2: Our Scope 2 emissions are those related to energy consumption in our workspaces. We currently include all U.S.-based operations. We lease nearly all of our workspaces and our energy use is most often embedded into the overall operating expenses of our leases. In cases where we have energy meters in our leased spaces, they typically measure energy used for lighting, plug loads and computer room heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), but miss the significant energy used to heat and cool our spaces. We are working to determine the best mix of submetering solutions and lease provisions we can employ to generate data more useful to our efficiency efforts, but in the interim we use Energy Information Administration's (EIA) 2003 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) and Egrid to determine our indirect energy use.

    As part of an integrated strategy to reduce our GHG emissions, 100% of the energy we used in our offices in FY13 came from renewable sources. We purchased renewable energy certificates (RECs) for 110,643 MWh, which lowered our overall CO2 emissions from 243,074 to 190,311. The RECs, from wind energy projects across the country, are certified by Green-e Energy and verified by an independent third party.

    Scope 3: Our estimate encompasses the following:

    • Air travel: Carbon emissions from fuel consumption related to commercial airline flights, including domestic travel and international travel to move PwC U.S. employees point-to-point. Total carbon emissions for each flight are calculated based on the equipment type flown, fuel burn rates and total flight mileage. The flight’s total carbon emissions are then divided between passengers and cargo and allocated to each seat using the seating configuration of the flight. First and business class seats are allocated a higher proportion of the emissions to reflect the increased seat size.
    • Employee commuting from personal cars and mass transit: Fuel consumption used by PwC U.S. employees traveling from home to our offices, based on responses to a voluntary survey of PwC employees. In FY13, we collected refreshed data from 24% of our partners and staff.
    • Reimbursed miles: Carbon emissions from fuel consumed by PwC U.S. employees traveling for business purposes using personal cars.
    • Paper in workspace: Carbon emissions from energy consumed in manufacturing, distribution, use, and disposal of paper used in PwC U.S. offices and data centers.
    • Toner cartridges: Carbon emissions from energy consumed in the manufacturing, distribution, use, and disposal of toner cartridges used in PwC U.S. offices and data centers.
    • Other: Carbon emissions of PwC U.S. employees associated with categories that are tied to air travel and FTE. This category consolidates the following activity types which collectively constituted < 10%="" share="" of="" overall="" emissions="" between="" fy07–fy10.="">
      • Emissions Associated with Air Travel:
        • Auto Travel: Rental Cars
        • Hotels: Transient
        • Hotels: Group
        • Meetings: Hotels
      • Emissions Associated with FTE:
        • Auto Travel: Black/Town Cars
        • Meetings: Alternate Venues
        • Meetings: Transportation
        • Paper: Printed Materials
        • Mass Transit: Buses
        • Mass Transit: Taxes
        • Mass Transit: Trains
  5. In FY11 we reviewed the first four years of results and concluded that 13 of the items we calculate (called “other” in our charts) had a cumulative impact of approximately 10% of our footprint. We therefore decided not to calculate an actual footprint for these items every year, but rather estimate them based on past actual measurements. Instead, every four years, we recalculate a footprint for the 13 items, at which point we will determine whether there has been a change in their relative impacts and therefore a need to refocus. This approach allows us to direct our efforts to the most significant drivers of our footprint.
  6. As a firm that provides audit and assurance services, we recognize the pivotal role that auditing can play in not only ensuring the reliability and credibility of data, but also in the learning and continual improvement that is the result of audit processes. For both of these reasons, we partner with our U.S. Sustainable Business Solutions practice to review our carbon footprinting methodology and results. This process allows us an opportunity to share leading practices and refine our strategy.