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Our Environmental Ambition

Our environmental impact

Based on our SDG impact assessment, we consider nine SDGs material. Three of these are directly related to the environment:

SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
SDG 12 - Responsible consumption and production
SDG 13 - Climate action

From the nine material SDGs we have selected four focus SDGs, these are the ones where we as an organization can have the biggest impact. SDG 13 is one of these focus SDGs. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and affects us all. That goes for parents worried about the future of their children to pension funds making 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.

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PwC Net Zero by 2030

Our global ambition is to become Net Zero by 2030, in line with SDG 13. Net Zero simply means, not adding new emissions to the atmosphere. For PwC this comes down to reducing our absolute emissions as much as possible, but by at least fifty percent. We offset our remaining emissions with Carbon Removals, for example by planting new forests to extract CO2 from the atmosphere. Combined, this makes our emissions Net Zero.

We report our emissions in accordance with the GHG protocol of the World Resources Institute (WRI) and in line with the criteria and recommendations of the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). Through our compliance with SBTi we ensure that our environmental ambitions and targets are sufficient to limit global temperature rise to well-below 1,5°C compared to pre-industrial levels, the preferred goal of the Paris Agreement.

The focus on global carbon emission reduction is important. It is the most important step we can take to limit climate change and live within the means of our planet.

PwC strives to make positive contributions to society and the environment. We do this through our people, our business, and by increasing the sustainability of our own organisation. We want to be at the forefront of the transition to a more sustainable society. In line with our Global strategy ‘the new equation’, we realize bold and result-oriented solutions: technology-driven and human-centric.

PwC has been climate neutral for years, this simply means that we offset all of our CO2 emissions. A few years ago, we embraced the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and established a 100% circular ambition for 2030. With this we mean no emissions, no waste and optimal reuse of resources. In 2017 we introduced an internal CO2 price of 100 Euros per tonne CO2. Finally, in September 2020, PwC announced its global Net Zero ambition in line with the maximum of 1.5 degrees temperature rise as defined in the Paris agreements.

In concrete terms, our Net Zero ambition means:

  • At least 50% absolute reduction in 2030, with the aim of 100%
  • Compensate for remaining CO2 with Carbon Removals
  • At least 50% of our suppliers (based on emissions) commit to similar reduction

The Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) is the organization that assesses whether scoping, objectives, and progress of companies are in line with the Paris climate agreements. SBTi is a collaboration of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). PwC's global emissions reduction targets, part of our 'Net Zero by 2030' ambition to combat climate change, have received independent validation from The SBTi.

Where we want to make a difference

Air travel and rail transport

Although customer contact remains an essential part of our work as a global organisation, the COVID crisis casts a new perspective on travel. We have become more familiar with online meetings, but customer appointments remain important. It's about finding a new balance.

It is important for us, as an international company, to think along about the future of aviation. As part of this we are involved as a chairman in the 'Anders Vliegen' working group in the Anders Reizen Coalition (‘Travel Differently’). A network of large companies working together with the objective of making their business mobility more sustainable. We also encourage innovation in aviation, including a financial donation to the Netherlands Aerospace Centre (NLR) for the purchase of an electric aircraft. 

Thanks to the contract with SkyNRG, colleagues at PwC Netherlands will be flying entirely with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) as of January 2022. This makes PwC the first large organisation to take this step. With this commitment, we are reducing our own CO2 emissions for business air travel and contributing to the future of sustainable paraffin.

Together with other companies, airlines and airports, united in the World Economic Forum's Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition, PwC aims to ensure that at least 10% of the world's jet fuel supply is sustainable by 2030. 

PwC is contributing to sustainable aviation

Read more about sustainable aviation

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. Over fifty 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.

Energy

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. In FY21, we have achieved our ambition of switching to 100% renewable electricity. We achieved this ambition in line with our RE100 agreement one year sooner.

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.

Waste

We reduced our residual waste by 57,58 percent in the past 2020/2021 financial year. We have reduced our recyclable waste by 53,63 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 2020/2021 was 2 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 (EFI) 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 achieve net zero?

  • 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 landfills 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 focuses 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 79, 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 79 in 2022.

Contact us

Wineke Haagsma

Wineke Haagsma

Head of Corporate Sustainability, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)65 170 13 44

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