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Our circular ambition

Fully circular operations by 2030

Our ambition is to make our operations fully circular by 2030. We define that as achieving zero waste and zero emissions and optimally reusing materials. This is in line with sustainable development goals 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and 13 (Climate Action). Forty-two percent of our business operations are currently circular.

Our circular ambition is aligned to PwC's global aim to become a Net Zero organisation by 2030. This entails reducing our absolute emissions as much as possible, but by at least fifty percent. We offset the remainder needed to achieve Net Zero by Carbon Removal, for example by planting new forestry.

These environmental ambitions affect all parts of our organisation. They call for serious investment and different choices. They are not always easy, but they are necessary. We are gratified to note that our circular ambition is warmly embraced by our employees.

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PwC Net Zero by 2030

Our global ambition is to be operating Net Zero by 2030. Net Zero means reducing our absolute emissions as much as possible, but by at least fifty percent. We offset the remainder by Carbon Removal, for example planting new forestry to extract more CO2 from the atmosphere. That makes our emissions net zero.

The focus on global carbon emission reduction is important. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our times and affects us all. That goes from parents worried about the future of their children to pension funds having to make investment decisions. It is in everyone's best interest that we prevent further global warming and make full use of the opportunities for sustainable growth.

We at PwC operate in more than 150 countries and believe that we have a major role to play in tackling climate change. We do this first and foremost by taking our own responsibility, with the goal of achieving Net Zero by 2030. From 2022 onwards we will only use renewable energy.

But our role is broader than that. Our knowledge of business strategies and transformations also ideally places us to help our customers achieve their sustainability ambitions. We will increasingly integrate sustainability in our services, e.g. with advice on climate risks and online tooling on carbon emissions.

Finally, we are contributing to drawing up and shaping a global climate agenda. In collaboration with bodies such as the World Economic Forum and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, we are working on clear reporting guidelines and frameworks that contribute to long-term value creation for business.

Where we want to make a difference

Air travel and rail transport

Our air travel has the biggest impact on our carbon emissions. In the past fiscal year (2019/2020), carbon emissions from air travel fell by 37 percent compared to the previous year, mainly because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Even though customer contact remains a vital aspect of our work as a global organisation, the corona crisis has placed travel in a new perspective. We have become more accustomed to meeting online, but face-to-face meetings with customers remain important for our work. It's all about striking a new balance.

We are continuing on the course we took before the corona crisis. The key principle is to carefully consider whether we really need to travel by air. And when we do, we opt for direct flights wherever possible: most emissions come from taking off and landing. We mainly take the train for relatively short trips to places such as Frankfurt, Paris and everywhere in between.

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How can aviation become more sustainable?

Aviation accounts for 3% of global CO2 emissions annually. Listen to Wineke Haagsma, Corporate Sustainability Director for PwC Netherlands, explain how to overcome the barrier to widespread adoption of sustainable aviation fuel and help reduce aviation’s impact as the world aims to achieve net-zero targets.

We contribute to the debate on the future of air travel

As an international company we see the importance of contributing to the debate on the future of air travel. We are chairing the working group Anders Vliegen (Fly Different) in the coalition Anders Reizen (Travel Different). This is a network of large companies working together to make their business travel more sustainable. We encourage other organisations to follow our example in doing what we can to reduce emissions from air travel.

We encourage air travel innovations by – to give one example – making a financial contribution to the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR) for the purchase of an electric aircraft. That will make it possible to conduct further research into sustainable air travel. Our donation to Stichting Duurzaam Vliegen (the sustainable air travel foundation) and the Dutch Association of Airports is intended to stimulate the development of aircraft charging stations.

We have also concluded a five-year contract with SkyNRG for the purchase of biokerosene. This sustainable kerosene's carbon emissions are up to eighty-five percent lower than conventional kerosene. By guaranteeing major purchases we are contributing to the construction of the first biofuel plant for aircraft in Europe, which will be near Delfzijl.

PwC backs an initiative to accelerate the supply and use of sustainable jet fuel. Together with other companies, airlines and airports, united in the World Economic Forum's Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition, PwC aims to make at least 10% of the world's jet fuel supply sustainable by 2030. To this end, it will share its knowledge and expertise in this broad coalition to make the aviation sector more sustainable.

Electric vehicles

PwC aims to have a carbon-neutral vehicle fleet by 2025. This is in line with our strategy to achieve fully circular operations by 2030. Forty-three percent of our vehicle fleet is currently electric. Seventy percent of our employees now choose a fully electric car.

The number of electric cars in our fleet has increased partly because we are taking measures to make choosing these cars a more attractive option. Many employees have taken the opportunity to exchange their petrol or diesel car for an electric one without facing a financial penalty, for example. We also offer a bonus system to make leasing an electric car relatively inexpensive. And we are constantly expanding the number of charging stations at our offices to enable both employees and visitors to charge their cars.

We are continuing to discourage the use of fossil fuel cars: it is no longer possible to lease cars with a diesel engine. Only short lease contracts are concluded for petrol cars.


Our office energy consumption accounts for about eight percent of our total carbon emissions. Our measures to reduce energy consumption in our buildings have achieved a reduction of sixty-six percent in five years.

We install energy-efficient lighting in our car parks, for instance. We also configure our technical systems better: we base the heating and cooling of our offices on how they are used. Almost ninety percent of the energy we use is sustainably generated. From 2022 onwards, 100 percent of our energy will be from renewable sources. This is in keeping with what we have agreed worldwide in RE100, a global network of large companies that are all engaged with renewable energy.

PwC sets high sustainability standards for its office buildings. That means stipulating energy label A or higher with all new housing contracts. All of our fourteen PwC offices are accredited with the BREEAM-NL sustainability label. As well as energy, this label covers other sustainability issues such as health and biodiversity. Our buildings have a sustainability score of at least four out of five stars. If we rent office space, we require the property owners to have the office accredited with BREEAM-NL within six months.


We reduced our residual waste by thirty-seven percent in the past 2019/2020 financial year. We have reduced our recyclable waste by thirty-two percent. Our ultimate aim is not to produce any waste at all. That entails collecting our waste separately and reusing it as much as possible.

Paper is an example of a waste stream that we maximally reuse. We process our paper cups into tissues, which are collected separately and processed into our (Cradle to Cradle) toilet paper. We have also been using circular printing paper since 2017. We would rather not print or copy at all: our preference is to have a paper-free working environment. We use laptops with touchscreens so that we can easily take digital notes. Secure software tools enable us to collaborate effectively online. Our advisory memos and reports are preferably in digital format.

Another waste stream is organic waste. We compost leftovers from our company restaurants in our own composting machine. And we use our coffee grounds to grow mushrooms for vegetarian snacks.|

Our computers and phones are reused. And we have our used office furniture refurbished and given a second life. This is being done during the circular renovation of our head office in Amsterdam.

Circular purchasing

A circular ambition is not complete until it is achieved in the supply chain. We have a circular procurement policy in line with our circular ambition: fully circular operations by 2030. We have been monitoring our circular procurement operations since 2018 and are transparent on this subject in our annual report. In the past financial year, twenty-eight percent of our purchases were circular: up from less than nineteen percent the year before.

PwC has various ways of stimulating circularity in the supply chain. Our terms of delivery include a code of conduct for suppliers, for example. We also consider environmental issues in requests for quotes. The Corporate Sustainability department scrutinises the procurement process as a standard for tenders from 25,000 euros upwards.

The contract with our caterer is one of the success stories of our purchasing policy. We looked together at how catering at PwC could be made more sustainable. That resulted in meals being made a lot healthier for our people. But that’s not all: the products are also produced ethically, locally and responsibly. Sustainable catering has reduced meat consumption by thirty percent, packaging by thirty percent and food waste by forty-five percent.

The price of our carbon emissions forms our sustainability budget

A good way to reduce carbon emissions is to price them. We even take this a step further: the price of our emissions directly forms our sustainability budget. The budget for our financial year 2019/2020 was 1.88 million euros. We use it for measures to reduce and offset our carbon emissions.

We also use the budget for innovations that expedite the energy transition. Last year, for example, we invested in the development of a carbon emissions dashboard to inform our employees about their environmental performance. We are also continuing to work on making our buildings more sustainable. Other examples include the development of the SDG Dome, donating an electric aircraft to NLR for research and a purchase guarantee on biokerosene for cleaner travel.

We charge one hundred euros per tonne of carbon. This amount is based on a study by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB). It also includes social costs, which raises it above the market price for carbon offsets.

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What else are we doing to become a circular organisation?

  • We have launched a pilot together with start-up Winnow in which we use machine learning to measure food waste so that we can reduce it.
  • We use Giant Leaps to analyse the environmental impact of our catering. We encourage healthy eating, less meat consumption and the use of seasonal vegetables.
  • Our head office in Amsterdam is undergoing a circular renovation together with our suppliers. The windows, interior walls, carpet, cabinets, furniture: almost everything is being reused.
  • We take part in Closing the Loop’s One for One programme. For every new phone we buy, we collect one from landfill in Africa.
  • We offer leftover meals and products to Too Good To Go. That way, we contribute to reducing global food waste.
  • The materials in our buildings come with a Madaster materials passport. This makes clear the origin and sustainability of the materials. Insight helps to keep materials infinitely available.
  • We procure new lighting on a circular basis. That focusses on light 'as a service' and on maximum reuse.

EcoVadis Platinum sustainability certificate for PwC Nederland

PwC Nederland has been awarded the EcoVadis Platinum Certificate. This highest sustainability ranking places us among the one percent of the world's most sustainable companies.

EcoVadis is the world's leading provider of business sustainability assessments. EcoVadis has already assessed the sustainability of more than 65,000 companies. EcoVadis analyses a wide range of non-financial management information in four different sustainability categories: environment, labour and human rights, ethics and sustainable procurement. We score especially well on the environment and ethics: ninety out of a maximum of one hundred points in these categories. We score eighty for the labour and human rights category. For sustainable procurement, a category for which we recently introduced a circular procurement policy, we have a score of sixty. PwC has a total score of 81, which earns it the highest platinum certificate.

We have been assessed on sustainability since 2013. This serves to compare us as an organisation with other companies in the sector and helps us to become more sustainable as we work towards our ambition of being a fully circular organisation by 2030. Since 2015, our EcoVadis score has risen from 66 to 81 in 2020.

Contact us

Wineke Haagsma

Wineke Haagsma

Head of Corporate Sustainability, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)65 170 13 44

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