Accenture celebrates World Environment Day and asks “Are you a Green Superhero?”
|In celebration of World Environment Day, Accenture’s Chief Leadership Officer Adrian Lajtha discusses Accenture’s approach to fostering environmentally sustainable growth—for our company and for our stakeholders. Read the interview below and then show your eco-smarts in our new interactive game titled, “Are you a Green Superhero?”
"We are on a journey with our global network of employees, clients and suppliers to achieve more sustainable operations and a smaller environmental footprint," says Adrian Lajtha.Q. What’s our approach to being a good steward of the environment?
Caring about the environment is simply part of who we are as a company. Environmental stewardship is ingrained in our Code of Business Ethics and our core values, specifically Stewardship.
In the last few years, environmentally sustainable growth has become central to all high-performance businesses, and it lies at the heart of our environmental strategy. We are working to foster it across our entire operations, from how we run our business to the services we provide our clients to how we engage with our employees and suppliers. And we have a clear governance structure to drive performance toward our goals and to articulate roles and responsibilities for our environmental efforts.
Our efforts are being recognized: last year, we were included for the second time on the Carbon Disclosure Project's 2011 Global 500 Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index, which represents the top 10 percent of companies. We were also named as a leader in the information technology sector.
I urge everyone to review our recently published corporate citizenship report, “Our Journey Forward,
” which provides more in-depth information about our environmental approach and initiatives. Q. Looking ahead, what are some of our opportunities as we strive for more sustainable operations?
We must continue to make progress as our business grows, so we are on a journey with our global network of employees, clients and suppliers to achieve more sustainable operations and a smaller environmental footprint.
For example, we have a number of energy management and resource conservation programs initiatives underway across our locations, including “greening” our operations, by installing smart building technology in our offices, and procuring office electricity from renewable energy sources. We are also tracking the disposal of our electronic waste—and in fiscal year 2011, we disposed of approximately 99 percent of our electronic waste so that it avoided landfill.
But I think the big opportunity and challenge for us is around our client and business agenda. We are helping our clients consider sustainability as a key lever to long-term success, and with business travel at the heart of our delivery model, we are reinventing client-related business travel through our “smart travel” programs and our use of Cisco® Telepresence next-generation video conferencing technology. In fact, we have now implemented Cisco® Telepresence technology at more than 85 Accenture locations worldwide, including at a number of client sites.
Our internal use of the technology is impressive. I would say that the majority of our leadership events this year have been virtual—yet we haven’t lost anything at all. In fact, we are probably gaining energy by giving our leaders more time to be in the local marketplace, with clients and with our people.
I’d say that while we still have more to accomplish, we’re on the right path.Q. We know that change usually starts at the top of an organization. How is Accenture leadership involved?
If you want to change culture durably, you start with leadership. They set the tone, and people catch it very quickly. At Accenture, first and foremost, we have a commitment that starts with our CEO Pierre Nanterme
and our Executive Chairman Bill Green
. They share a passionate commitment to the environmental agenda, and that’s an unstoppable force that I see playing out across the company as a whole.
But it also comes down to individual leaders. We all have to think about what we can do differently, about our carbon footprint from travel and our financial impact from that travel. It starts with awareness. Then we need the ambition and courage to set targets—and to execute against those targets in a way that becomes part of the institutional rhythm of Accenture. What matters is next month and next year, not just what we have just done now. We very much have that mindset and discipline at the top of the company.Q. Our people love to “give back.” How can they make an impact?A.
There is no question about it: our employees are critical to our success, and we ask them to try and raise the bar consistently—at home, at work and at the clients’ site.
In addition to the smart work and alternative travel arrangements I mentioned earlier, our eco champion networks help us create more innovative approaches to work practices and support our efforts to drive adoption across Accenture. We also capitalize on our people’s passion and enthusiasm to make a difference, most notably in our global Eco Challenge competitions. We’re now starting our fourth annual Eco Challenge, and this year I encourage all Accenture people and our recruits to participate in an online game, “Are You a Green Superhero?
I actually have the easy job, which is to launch the challenge and then watch the extraordinary creativity of our people kick in. And they “get it.” They understand that we’ll make a difference if they lead by example. Nothing else matters than that we actually pick up the baton individually, collectively as teams and, ultimately, as a responsible company. Every year that goes by, we can become prouder of the achievements and the outcomes our people produce. Q. Looking ahead, what is Accenture’s role in the area of environmental sustainability?A.
I’m pleased to report that we will continue to contribute to the overall sustainability agenda, gaining insight into issues and working with other businesses and organizations on solutions that will help make the world a better place. We have already published numerous thought leadership and research reports on topics from energy smart buildings to cloud computing to sustainability performance management. You can find these on accenture.com
Our Sustainability practice is also working with the United Nations Global Compact to develop the private-sector perspective for Sustainable Energy for All, a strategy on the future of global energy. As part of this effort, we are developing a framework for business action, which will define responsible corporate practices and include an engagement mechanism and supporting analytics. We presented the report at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June.
Additionally, as you may know, we signed the United Nations Global Compact a few years ago, and we are involved in a number of very significant global business forums, where we are providing a leadership role and making a difference in this space. More informationPlay the “Are you a Green Superhero?” game Environment on Accenture.com Corporate Citizenship Report Sustainability Services