PwC Bermuda to offset air travel, energy use
PwC Bermuda is to shrink its environmental impact through a combination of efficient practices and a commitment to offset 100 per cent of its air travel emissions and energy consumption.
A carbon offset is a way to compensate for emissions by funding an equivalent carbon dioxide saving elsewhere.
Environmental organisations and the Government voiced support for PwC’s actions and expressed hopes that other companies would follow suit.
Arthur Wightman, PwC Bermuda leader, said: “Climate change and resource scarcity are major forces shaping our future. Without real and lasting global action, average temperatures are predicted by scientists to increase by more than two degrees Celsius, a threshold at which they believe potentially irreversible environmental changes will occur.
“Our people rightly demand that we take a leadership position in this area.
“Avoiding or reducing emissions associated with our energy use is the starting point of our strategy. Over the course of the last few years we have taken many actions to reduce our absolute carbon impact.”
In late 2017, PwC moved into new offices on the fourth floor of Washington House, on Church Street, an upgrade that helped the firm reduce its carbon footprint by half.
“We continue to work hard to drive this down further through elimination of single-use plastic at our office and events, digitising our processes and recycling,” Mr Wightman said.
“While our priority is reducing our absolute carbon impact, offsetting is an important part of our strategy to mitigate the impact of our unavoidable emissions. The greatest impacts from operating our business come from the energy we use to power our offices and our air travel.
“This is why we have decided to take the extra steps of offsetting air travel emissions and to sourcing renewables for our electricity consumption wherever possible and offsetting residual energy use.
“We believe business has a key role to play in solving societal challenges alongside other stakeholders. These commitments are, for us, a recognition of the need to accelerate the pace of change. Individual business commitments, collectively, will make a critical difference to that.”
Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs, praised PwC’s environmental efforts.
“These initiatives are all very meaningful, tackling a broad range of environmental issues from the reduction in energy and paper usage to the elimination of single-use plastics in the workplace,” Mr Roban said.
“These business practices provide excellent examples of what can be done to reduce human impacts on the natural world, while at the same time improving the work environment for employees and business efficiencies.”
The Government was committed to eliminating single-use plastics by 2022 and had also pledged to promote energy conservation and use more renewable energy, he added.
“We hope more companies will implement an efficiency plan such as that of PwC Bermuda,” Mr Roban said.
Eugene Dean, Greenrock chairman, said PwC’s environmental commitments proved that the actions required to address climate change and reduce our impact on the environment were “diverse, achievable and accessible to us all”.
“Changing mindsets requires leadership and PwC’s willingness to act means that they now possess the potential to inspire countless others to do the same,” Mr Dean said.
“Some actions require us to change simple behaviours while others require sizeable investments that reap benefits over time. Some actions may seem far less convenient initially, however we ultimately derive satisfaction from the knowledge that we are doing something inherently good.
“At Greenrock, we focus on education that encourages conscientiousness and inspires action that leads to positive change.”
Kim Smith, BEST executive director, said her organisation aimed to promote the idea of human activities being “designed and carried out in harmony with nature and not in competition with it”.
“I am absolutely convinced that a disregard for the impact of our activities on the environment will come back to haunt us,” Ms Smith said.
She added: “BEST applauds the good example of PwC as they work to make tangible changes to their processes and policies, in recognition of the impact on the environment of their business activities. Their willingness to take a lead role with this initiative is a reflection of their corporate values, and employees of PwC can be proud to work for such a socially conscious and committed organisation.”
Anne Hyde, Keep Bermuda Beautiful executive director, said: “We applaud PwC for taking the lead and setting the example to sustainably reduce solid waste and eliminate single-use plastics from their office and PwC events.”
During the America’s Cup finals in Bermuda in 2017, PwC and KBB were represented on the Legacy and Sustainability Committee.
Ms Hyde said: “We were shoved onto the world’s stage to produce Bermuda’s biggest event which was set to the highest standards for economic, social and environmental sustainability.
“PwC picked up the ball and ran with it, and we are delighted to see, they are still running with it. PwC staff have educated themselves on concepts that might normally fall outside the realm of chartered accountants.
“We hope that this will be a catalyst for more businesses to follow suit.”
Any local businesses can contact KBB for assistance with matters including waste reduction, reuse and recycling, Ms Hyde added.
The PwC global network has joined the RE100 initiative of over 150 global businesses dedicated to growing the global demand for renewable energy, led by The Climate Group, an international non-profit, whose mission is accelerating climate action.
In selecting carbon-offsetting investments, PwC member firms will aim to reflect local priorities. Its offsets are verified by an independent third party to an established standard or protocol.
“We may submit local projects to vet for future investment,” PwC added.
Through these projects, PwC globally is projected to have collectively impacted nearly three million people worldwide, protected or restored 656,000 hectares of forest, generated 209,000 MWh of clean energy and created over 570 new full-time jobs.
Bob Moritz, global chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd, said: “The world’s current economic model is pushing beyond the limits of the planet’s ability to cope. And healthy environmental ecosystems are critical to healthy economies. It’s time to accelerate the pace of change.”
PwC Bermuda’s environmentally friendly features and culture includes the following.
Energy-efficient features: central energy management system, energy recovery ventilators, groundwater cooling for 24-hour data rooms, central atrium for natural lighting in offices, rainwater collection for over half of potable water supply, low-e glazing coated with SolarBan 60 for low solar heat gain.
Plastics: No single-use plastic items in our office kitchens; no single-use plastic water bottles at PwC Bermuda corporate and social events; we build awareness of the plastics issue among our employees and encourage behaviours that help tackle plastic pollution, including recycling, reusing, and annual park and beach clean-ups.
Paper: shift towards using less paper and more information in digital format, energy-efficient printers set to default to double-sided printing, office paper, paper waste and printing cartridges all recycled, central recycling hubs for all office waste with all desk-side trash bins removed.
Electronics: laptops and mobile phones returned when employees leave the firm are reused, refurbish and donate disused laptops and equipment, we only hand out IT accessories (mice, laptop bags, etc) on request, encouraging our people to use those already issued.
Technology: our adoption of Google Gmail and the G Suite of tools in 2018 enables us to work in a more agile, efficient and innovative way. Teams can easily connect with one another online or on their mobile phones using Google Hangouts, allowing our people to take advantage of work-from-home and flex-time policies as well as reduce international business travel.
For more information on PwC’s approach to corporate responsibility, visit https://tinyurl.com/y6adp5eo