Climate change is one of the most pressing problems facing our world today. It affects everyone – from families worrying about their children’s futures, to pension funds deciding where to invest. So, it is in the interests of everyone that we see systemic change that averts climate catastrophe and unlocks the potential of green growth.
At PwC, we believe the business community has a key role in making that happen. As a reflection of our strategy to build trust with stakeholders and deliver sustained outcomes, we’re committed to leading by example. That’s why we have made a worldwide science-based commitment to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
The urgency of the climate crisis requires swift and ambitious action to reduce emissions now. To reflect this, our net zero commitment is underpinned by a science-based target to reduce our emissions by 50% in absolute terms from 2019 levels. This is in line with a 1.5 degree scenario to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, as set out in the Paris Agreement. This bold commitment means we are decarbonizing the way we operate and decoupling our business growth from our emissions.
In July 2021, our targets were independently validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). SBTi’s validation affirms PwC’s approach and timeline to achieve its net zero 2030 commitment. Importantly, PwC’s targets go beyond scopes 1 and 2 emissions to include our largest indirect scope 3 emissions. Additionally, PwC has committed to the United Nation’s Race To Zero campaign and Business Ambition for 1.5°C, which aims to build momentum around the shift to a decarbonized economy.
However, we recognize the importance of actively reducing the climate impact of our own operational footprint now. That is why, as we work towards net zero in 2030, to mitigate our impacts today we will continue to offset our emissions through high-quality carbon credits. From 2030 we will remove our remaining emissions to achieve net zero across our network. For more information about PwC’s global carbon offsetting portfolio, click here.
As outlined in our global strategy, The New Equation, we have committed to transforming our business model to decarbonize our value chain, increasing transparency, and supporting the development of robust ESG reporting frameworks and standards. We will also engage our clients and work with suppliers to tackle their climate impact. Our global reach means we can play an integral role in driving the transition to a net zero economy.
Raising our ambition further, faster
“As we support our clients and suppliers in transforming their businesses to achieve net zero, we recognize the importance of actively reducing the climate impact of our own operational footprint – including scope 3 emissions.”
Colm Kelly Global Leader for Purpose, Policy and Corporate Responsibility for the PwC Network
Across our network, we commit to a 50% absolute reduction of our scope 1 and 2 emissions as well as a 50% absolute reduction in scope 3 business travel greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (compared to a 2019 base). Our commitment is aligned to a 1.5 degree scenario which is necessary to avert the worst impacts of climate change.
To achieve our net zero ambition across the PwC network, we will switch to 100% renewable electricity in all territories by 2030. In FY21, we purchased 83% of our electricity from renewable sources, which supports our goal of becoming 100% renewable by 2022 across our 21 largest territories. In 2018, PwC joined the RE100, the global corporate renewable energy initiative bringing together large businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity.
As a global network, we have a global supply chain, and this is where we can have a significant impact on driving the transition to a net zero economy. We want to work with suppliers that have the same level of climate ambition as we do, so we commit that at least 50% of our purchased goods and services suppliers by emissions will have set science-based targets to reduce their own climate impact by 2025.
In addition to taking these steps, we will support carbon removal projects, including natural climate solutions. For every remaining ton (CO2 equivalent) that we emit, we will remove a ton of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, to achieve net zero climate impact by 2030. Our projects will be selected on the basis of quality criteria and verification of the carbon reduction impact, and will also support broader local economic and social development co-benefits. To mitigate our impacts today, we will continue to offset our emissions through high-quality carbon credits.
This new commitment builds on our 2018 global environment commitment to drive efficiencies, go 100% renewable, and offset 100% air travel emissions from FY19 and residual energy use by FY22 across our 21 largest territories. We believe in transparently tracking these efforts, and publish them in our Global Annual Review.
Working with our clients to accelerate net zero transformation
With global reach across 156 countries, broad industry coverage, and 295,000 people who support our clients – from reshaping strategy and transformation, to deals, reporting, audit, and tax – we have a huge opportunity to accelerate the transition to a net zero future together.
We support organizations as they develop and implement concrete plans for how to get to net zero. This includes re-aligning corporate strategy, governance and accountability, operating models, innovation and research and development (R&D), tax strategy and reporting, and enterprise and supply chain transformation. Other areas include people and talent, partnerships and alliances, and corporate affairs and regulatory engagement.
Building on existing client work in sustainability and net zero transformation, we will infuse science-led climate analysis into our areas of service. For example, our Advisory practice will integrate climate risks into relevant engagements, providing clients with insights about climate risks and opportunities as well as helping them to transform their business processes. Another major focus area will be integrating climate-related and other ESG-related factors into mainstream corporate disclosures and governance, where PwC’s Assurance practice will support the development of high quality, aligned disclosure and measurement standards and help clients embed these into their reporting and governance. Across our Tax practice, we will be helping clients understand how net zero transformation will impact tax strategy, transparency and compliance obligations, subsidy and incentive opportunities, and revenue impacts for both public and private sector organizations.
Helping shape and accelerate the global climate and policy agenda
PwC supports reform that puts the needs of stakeholders at the heart of the market economy and connects goals, actions and outcomes into desired social and economic results that fuel long-term sustainability. Supporting the net zero transition is a key part of this process.
As stakeholder expectations rise, organizations increasingly need to report on their environmental and social impacts and demonstrate progress. As a result, there is a greater need for consistent, comparable ESG standards so investors and other stakeholders can clearly see how businesses are creating long-term value for the organization and society.
We were pleased to see the significant support for the IFRS Foundation Trustees proposal to create an Independent International Sustainability Standards board (ISSB) to drive convergence as a global standard setter for comprehensive sustainability reporting. We fully support these efforts to facilitate a coherent approach to standard setting, with interconnectivity between financial and non-financial reporting.
We recognize that some territories may wish to move faster than the ISSB and are supportive of the ‘building blocks’ approach to achieve this. In moving beyond where the ISSB is likely to be, it will be important to leverage the best of existing standards and recommendations issued by existing bodies (e.g. the World Economic Forum Stakeholder Capitalism metrics and the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), the Value Reporting Foundation (SASB standards) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)).
We also contribute to a broader understanding of the importance of net zero and how to achieve it. Our Net Zero Economy Index tracks the rate of decarburization in each of the G20 economies, highlighting what more is needed to achieve the Paris Agreement. We have also launched a practical guide, “Building Blocks for Net Zero Business Transformation”, which is aimed at helping companies of all sectors and sizes move from net zero pledges to wholescale business transformation. The research has been produced in association with Microsoft, who PwC advises on net zero transformation, as a contribution to the CEO-led Transform to Zero initiative.
With a crucial year of global climate action ahead in the lead up to the United Nation’s COP26 climate change negotiations in Glasgow, Scotland, we are working with the UK Government, other parties and non-state actors to help set the stage for a successful COP26. Key to this is helping our clients to set, plan and deliver commitments to reach net zero by mid-century and accelerate near term action towards this goal. Policy, finance, technology and innovation will play a crucial role in delivering a resilient and just net zero transition.