Environmental sustainability continues to be a C-suite level priority for Deloitte and advancing Deloitte’s progress on sustainability and climate change has been prominent on the agenda of the Deloitte Societal Impact Council, a senior leadership group focused on Deloitte’s social impact and responsible business agenda. Council participants are drawn from across geographies and businesses and includes members of the Deloitte Global Board of Directors, the Deloitte Global Executive and other senior leaders. The council is co-chaired by the Deloitte Global CEO and Deloitte Global Board Chair, underpinning the importance of this agenda.
During FY2020, one of the main activities of the Societal Impact Council was to define Deloitte’s commitment to addressing climate change. As a result, WorldClimate, a new climate change strategy, was formulated to focus the organization on making responsible climate choices. Four pillars support the strategic direction:
- Achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030;
- Addressing Deloitte’s internal policies and procedures to align with its climate ambitions;
- Educating and inspiring Deloitte people to act on climate change; and
- Working with ecosystems for collective impact.
These ambitions were agreed to by the Deloitte Global Executive and Board in early FY2021 and will now serve as the roadmap for the coming decade.
The WorldClimate agenda will complement the growing sustainability services provided by Deloitte firms. Offerings currently include environmental sustainability services related to strategy, resource productivity, risk mitigation, attest services and supply chain. Renewable energy services are also expanding as clients explore innovative supply arrangements. And Deloitte firms have engaged with clients on a broad range of environmental sustainability topics, including energy, water, greenhouse gas emissions, plastics, circular economy and supply chain.
While the WorldClimate strategy was being developed in FY2020, sustainability activities continued to be advanced across the organization, including some notable accomplishments.
Supplier Code of Conduct and Our Commitment to Responsible Business Practices
This year, Deloitte introduced a new Supplier Code of Conduct applicable across the organization. The code establishes a consistent baseline for doing business with Deloitte, and sets out expectations around issues of human rights, labor, the environment, integrity, ethics and anti-corruption. Some of the environmental measures the code encourages include improving resource efficiency, minimizing and eliminating waste, developing innovative environmental practices, and measuring and reducing pollution and emissions.
For the first time, Deloitte has formally outlined the responsible business principles in which it believes, and the commitments Deloitte has made via Our Commitment to Responsible Business Practices. This includes Deloitte’s commitments to reduce the environmental impact of its own operations, achieve carbon-emission-reduction goals, and support sustainability initiatives as part of the most-senior-level agendas.
Both statements reinforce Deloitte’s dedication to actively combat climate change.
All carbon emissions resulting from air travel in FY2019 were offset through the purchase of third-party-verified carbon credits, and planning is underway to purchase a combination of renewable energy or offsets to address FY2020 emissions.
Deloitte’s carbon-reduction goals set in FY2019 included an 11% reduction in business travel by FY2025. In the latter half of FY2020, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the cessation of business travel for Deloitte professionals and for many Deloitte clients. This unexpected forced grounding has opened up new examinations of how Deloitte does business while continuing to serve clients effectively. As the world emerges from the pandemic, Deloitte is rethinking some of the traditional ways in which it operates, particularly business travel. Deloitte leaders anticipate continuing to serve clients effectively and grow the business, while also reducing travel below pre-pandemic levels.
Deloitte Africa’s new headquarters in Waterfall City, South Africa, which opened in FY2020, achieved a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver rating in recognition of its sustainable design. It builds on a legacy of Deloitte landmark locations embracing sustainability in their designs including The Edge in the Netherlands, The Gateway in Belgium and 1 New Street Square in London. Environmental features incorporated in the South Africa building design include solar panels, rainwater harvesting and storage, electrical blinds used to track the sun and reduce electricity usage from air-conditioners, a bottling plant in the basement of the building to ensure glass-bottled water replaces plastic bottles, and composting of wet food waste.
In October 2019, nearly 750 new Deloitte firm partners attended Deloitte’s first zero-waste event of its kind, in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Working together with the venue and a waste management vendor, 92% of materials from the meeting were diverted from landfill, resulting in hundreds of pounds of waste being recycled, composted and donated. In addition to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, the event offered valuable lessons that will be shared across the organization to encourage more zero-waste meetings.