Creating a better future
In order to mark World Environment Day (June 05), Accenture, a global management, consulting, technology and outsourcing company, has launched its annual Eco Challenge, a fun way to engage its employees and the general public in sustainable thinking and acting.
For 2012, the company created "Are You a Green Superhero?" a challenging game whereby players answer questions about Accenture's sustainability commitments, performance and offerings, as well as general environmental information. If players answer correctly, they will move through five "superhero" levels and earn new titles. The ultimate goal is to become "Grandmaster Green".
In order to increase chances to play the "Green Superhero" game well, it's a good idea to get familiar with the company's sustainability initiatives. Accenture has embedded environmentally sustainable growth into the modus operandi of its businesses across all of its operations, from management practices to interactions with its clients, suppliers and employees.
For example, the company runs a Smart Work program to promote eco efficiency by stimulating telecommuting where and when appropriate. Similarly, it encourages staff to use technological tools, such as Telepresence, web-conferencing and other collaboration technologies, to help increase travel efficiency. In fiscal 2011, the company reduced its per employee emissions by approximately 30 percent from its fiscal 2007 baseline.
Energy efficiency and renewable energy are also part of Accenture's sustainability efforts. In 2011, the company's collective energy efficiency activities helped it save approximately 63,400,000 kWh compared with its fiscal 2007 baseline. This translated into the avoidance of 44,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions and approximately US$7.8 million. The company also implements Remote Energy Monitoring (REM) technologies and has connected more than 150 smart meters in 20 locations in 10 countries. Renewable energy accounts for more than 10 percent of Accenture's office electricity and it plans on expanding its use over the next two years.
Water efficiency is also another big sustainability issue. To take positive steps in regards to that, in 2011, Accenture performed an analysis of water consumption in offices located in areas of water scarcity using the World Business Council for Sustainable Development's Global Water Tool. It estimated that its per-workstation consumption in those locations is less than 10 meters³ annually, and plans to continue to work with building-management companies to promote the careful use of water.
E-waste is also part of the plan and Accenture uses a global tracking application to make sure electronic equipment does not end up in landfills. In 2011, it tracked the disposal of more than 38,000 laptops and desktop computers comprising more than 173 metric tons of equipment. Approximately 99 percent of these were disposed in a method avoiding a landfill, primarily through management by responsible disposal vendors.
Engaging employees and business partners is also key to Accenture's sustainability practices. The company promotes global Eco Challenge competitions to encourage sustainable behavior. In 2011, more than 160 teams representing more than 1,400 employees calculated their carbon reduction amounts against their starting carbon footprint, using an online tool. Together, they committed to reduce more than 3,300 metric tons of carbon—the same amount of carbon emitted by 1,780 round-trip commercial flights between London and Bangalore (based on emissions factors from the United Stated Environmental Protection Agency).
The company also engages suppliers by asking them about their environmental performance. In 2011, 98 percent of the requests for proposal issued by the company included environmental questionnaires. In 2010, Accenture became a corporate member of Carbon Disclosure Project's Supply Chain program and asked its top global IT suppliers to respond to its questionnaire on its behalf. It received a 100 percent response rate.
Finally, Accenture works with clients to help them leverage their assets and capabilities to innovate and produce positive environmental impacts. For instance, it has helped Pão de Açúcar, Brazil's first green grocery store, become the industry's sustainability leader through operational efficiency and excellence.
Image credit: Accenture
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