Making the transition to net zero

ESG (environmental, social, and governance) isn't about ticking a box. It's about making a difference for the world and for your business. And we're determined to play our part.

Working towards a sustainable tomorrow

Sustainability is an inherent part of our business. As a firm we are committed to playing a leading role in achieving a sustainable future. This means that we are accountable for our actions and promote responsible business practices in the marketplace. The business community has a key role to play in society and creating value for the common good. We need to ensure we create a positive impact for society and nature. It is no longer just about the E of ESG, but also the S and the G.

To ensure we are part of the solution, we are working to:

  • Support the growth and development of our people and communities
  • Minimise our impact on the environment
  • Incorporate ESG into all of our business processes and create a distinctive business in a responsible way
  • Make every decision and every day count towards a sustainable future

Our commitment to net zero with 2030 goals

The success of our global commitment rests upon the progress territories will make towards net zero. PwC Ireland has established a net zero team and governance structure, with responsibility for the planning and execution of the net zero objective and local territory action plan.

PwC has made a worldwide commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with 2030 goals. This will involve investing in energy-efficiency improvements in our offices and halving the emissions associated with business travel and accommodation. 

As a result of disruption due to COVID-19, we have seen a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions. The pandemic has accelerated the shift to remote working and demonstrated the feasibility of new client delivery models, as part of a longer-term transformation of our services as we work towards net zero.

We also support high-quality, independently verified carbon reduction and removal projects. Such projects are selected on the basis of quality criteria and verification of the carbon reduction impact, and support for broader local economic and social development co-benefits.

In July 2021, our near-term emission reduction targets were independently validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). SBTi's validation affirms PwC's approach to achieve net zero with 2030 goals. 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 Nations Race To Zero campaign and Business Ambition for 1.5°C, which aims to build momentum around the shift to a decarbonised economy.

How PwC Ireland will become net zero with 2030 goals

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PwC will reduce its emissions in line with a 1.5 degree climate scenario, including a 50% absolute reduction in scope 1 and 2 emissions and a 50% absolute reduction in business travel emissions from a 2019 baseline by 2030. In addition, PwC will accelerate its transition to 100% renewable electricity and to mitigate its impacts today, PwC will continue to offset its emissions through high-quality carbon credits.

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Carbon-offset investment

As we actively reduce our emissions towards our near-term targets, to mitigate our climate impacts today we will compensate our emissions through carbon credits.

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Communication strategy

Communicating our net zero commitment to our people, clients and stakeholders is a crucial part of our Territory Action Plan.

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Our people

We are looking to empower our people to make informed decisions around mobility and sustainability. We will bring our people on the net zero journey through engagement and upskilling.

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Supply chain

PwC will engage with key suppliers, encouraging and supporting them to achieve net zero. We commit that 50% of our global purchased goods and services suppliers by emissions will have set their own science-based targets to reduce their own climate impact by 2025.

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PwC Sustainability council

We have had the Green Team for a number of years. This has now evolved into a new Sustainability Council, which will encourage greater engagement and action across the firm.

We will halve our scope 1, 2 and scope 3 business travel emissions from a FY19 base year by FY30.

Our journey to date

  • We have achieved reductions in utilities of 52% gas and 45% electricity since 2008, and switched to 100% renewable electric energy in 2020
  • We have identified the main sources of GHG emissions and have confirmed our baseline position for FY 2019
  • We have opted for a global reporting process for FY 2021
  • We have developed a net zero Territory Action Plan
  • Committed to the global offset procurement process for FY 2022
  • Ongoing communication on our net zero journey to our people

Our initiatives

PwC Dublin moved into One Spencer Dock in April 2007. Given the scale and nature of this construction project, a key objective throughout the building planning, design and fit-out stages was to ensure it was as energy-efficient as could be achieved at the time. These measures included:

  • High-efficiency plant equipment;
  • Data centres with heat recovery (which is used to heat the hot water for the building)
  • Air conditioning that recovers and reuses extracted air to heat fresh air as it is drawn into the building

Within five years of moving into Spencer Dock and with the development of improved technologies considerable improvements were identified within our heating, cooling and ventilation and lighting systems resulting in further reductions in energy consumption. These improvements included:

  • Reprogramming our Building Management System with enhanced environmental controls;
  • Retrofitting a commercial condensing boiler;
  • Installation of a lighting control system with daylight saving and proximity activation
  • Improvements to building insulation where shortcomings were identified

We also now install LED lighting and VRF heat pump air conditioning systems in new office developments.

In retrofitting more energy-efficient plants and equipment, we have cut our primary utility consumption by almost half since 2008.

More recently, significant progress has been made in the area of renewable energy with all PwC Ireland offices availing of 100% renewable electric energy, resulting in zero emissions.

Our Sustainability Council continues to engage with our people through awareness campaigns and local events and are the driving force behind many of our environmental and behavioral change initiatives within the Firm. Some notable achievements to date include:

Waste recovery and recycling

On average we recycle approx 79% of our total waste with the remaining 21% of our waste recovered as solid fuel or within a waste-to-energy plant. As a result, none of our waste is sent to landfill.

Single-use plastics

In 2018, we replaced all plastic bottles from our in-house catering vendors with greener alternatives. i.e. cans or glass bottles. This achieved an annual reduction of 22,000 plastic bottles from entering PwC waste streams.

Biodegradable offerings

In 2018, we introduced biodegradable coffee cups to our Spencer Dock coffee docks and in 2019 extended our biodegradable offerings to all takeaway containers and cutlery. Since, we have reduced our general waste by 7%.

Waste stations

We rebrand and refresh our waste stations on a regular basis and introduced designated coffee-cup waste stations.

Newspaper removal

In 2019, we removed all hardcopy newspapers, replacing these with online subscriptions for employees.

100% recycled fleet paper

In 2020, we moved to 100% recycled photocopying paper. 

The Sustainability Council also runs various events throughout the year. These include WEEE Recycling Days, Bicycle Servicing Weeks and awareness campaigns such as Stop Food Waste, Water Conservation.

All of the above has contributed greatly in enabling PwC Ireland to achieve ISO 14001 Environmental Management and The Business in the Community Business Working Responsibly mark in 2017 and again in 2020.

PwC is a signatory of the BITCI Low Carbon Pledge. We have also recently signed up to The Green Pledge, which aims to be a tool to encourage and support firms in the Irish funds industry to reduce carbon emissions and take action on sustainability issues.


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