A Win, Win, Win for Sustainability

By guest contributor: Heather Meloy, Corporate Responsibility, PwC
PwC logo

PwC has met Verizon's latest green supply chain metrics. In this blog, Meloy shares PwC’s approach to addressing sustainability.

Many people believe that environmental stewardship is important because of the linkage between human activity and environmental degradation; others see pending resource scarcity as a potential risk to their way of life; and some simply want their children and grandchildren to have access to the same places and experiences they had. The key for organizations is not to debate the rationale for addressing these issues, but to make environmental efforts material to their staff and stakeholders.

At PwC, environmental stewardship is twofold – it is a powerful agent used to engage staff in our corporate responsibility program while also making progress on our carbon reduction goal. Whether it is the waste we create, the energy we use in our workspaces, or means of transportation we take to service our clients, we recognize we have an impact on the environment. Limiting this impact is not just doing good, it is being smart.

Waste by definition is inefficiency, so finding more efficient ways to manage our travel, energy usage and spaces in which we work is good business and also engages staff on something they care about – the sustainability of our business.

By connecting with our staff, clients and other stakeholders, we’ve determined that the most material environmental issue connecting our passions, impact and the long-term goals of the firm is climate change. Therefore, we have made a public commitment to reduce our carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2016. We were able to set this ambitious goal because we saw the potential impact on our staff, clients and company and recognized this as an engagement opportunity as well as a responsibility. Making environment about our people was transformative for us – it allowed us to make tangible changes and propelled our environmental program to new heights.

Here are a few examples of how we are accomplishing our environmental goal:

Webcam graphic Exploring ways to manage our air travel. Travel is and always will be an essential part of serving our clients, and we look for ways to be smarter about when and where we travel.  We encourage our staff to find alternatives such as combining trips or eliminating some trips by substituting meetings with videoconferences when it makes sense. For us, it is not just about the miles traveled, it’s also about the time our employees get back for themselves.
Transportation graphic Being flexible in how we work. Today’s workspace does not always mean a dedicated office or cubicle – and we provide our people with the flexibility to work in the way that makes the most sense for them, their teams and their clients – whether that is in the office, at a client site or remotely. This, in turn, directly impacts the costs, emissions and time involved in commuting.
Offices graphic
Improving the efficiency of our offices. Studies have shown LEED spaces are more productive and more pleasant to work in. Fourty-four percent of our office spaces are in buildings that are LEED-certified or have LEED-certified interiors. By making better use of the space in our offices, our buildings can accommodate more partners and staff with fewer square feet while still providing them the appropriate environment to remain productive. Our hoteling system allows our people access to office space when it is needed and frees up that space when it is not; waste reduction programs make it easy for our people to use less and recycle more; and we purchase renewable energy credits (RECs) to cover our workspace energy use.

Ultimately, meeting our carbon reduction goal will rely as much on the engagement of our people as on systematic changes like lighting retrofits. By connecting the economic, social and environmental proverbial triple bottom lines, we have been able to engage our staff to reduce costs and help contribute to our sustainable future. Now that is a win, win, win.

To learn more about our CR story, please see our Corporate Responsibility Report.