PA Consulting announces sustainability commitment of Science Based Targets (SBTs) to 1.5°C

PA Consulting (PA), the consultancy that’s bringing ingenuity to life, today announces its commitment to setting Science Based Targets (SBTs) to ensure its environmental practices contribute to limiting the global temperature rising beyond 1.5°C. The SBT Initiative (SBTi) is a partnership between UNGC, Carbon Disclosure Project, World Resources Institute and the WWF to propel climate action in the private sector by encouraging companies to set carbon reduction goals in line with the science of climate change.

PA’s commitment to driving continued sustainable growth is an integral part of its ambition to create long-term value for all stakeholders and honour its environmental responsibilities as a firm. This new commitment is the latest effort by PA to put sustainability and climate action front and centre in PA’s internal operations and with PA’s clients, and builds on a legacy of work creating sustainable outcomes through client work; partnerships, including with the United Nations Global Compact and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation; and inspired thought leadership.

The power of sustainability to achieve ingenious solutions  

Sustainability is at the very heart of PA’s purpose, and its efforts to support its clients to adapt and transform and realise new value streams from sustainable business. PA’s diverse teams of experts combine innovative thinking and breakthrough use of technologies to progress further, faster. PA’s been helping clients create a more sustainable world for decades. For instance, in 1981, they commissioned Richard Rogers, the architect behind the Lloyds Bank building in London and PA’s own Global Innovation and Technology Centre in Cambridge, to work with PA’s team to design an autonomous, self-sufficient and non-polluting home.

More recently, PA’s helped limit greenhouse gas emissions through its work to:

  • stop more than 35,000 tonnes of CO2 entering London’s air every year by developing the business case for RE:FIT, the programme set up by the Mayor of London to help cut carbon emissions in the UK capital

  • reduce nearly 100,000 tons of CO2 generated, and cut steam production by 30 per cent, for a leading nuclear operator. PA also demonstrated the power of digital-twin technology to create an operational excellence machine to help achieve this goal

  • transform Denmark’s largest energy producer, Ørsted, to enable it to achieve its commitment to increasing green energy production to 99 per cent by 2025. PA’s digital, design and agile experts overhauled Ørsted’s culture, supporting it with building capabilities and strengthening processes to lead its transformation to green energy

  • provide detailed market and on-the-ground analysis to AMP Capital, a global investment manager, to accelerate electric bus deployment in Latin America.

Driving sustainable development by developing and scaling new technologies

From material science and manufacturing process development, to improving agriculture and food harvesting and designing circular economy models, PA has a longstanding history of developing and scaling new sustainable technologies. Successes include:

Building on its existing technology and innovation expertise

New technologies play a key role in supporting the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). PA’s vast experience in transformative digital technologies help capture, process and interpret data, to enable innovation to be more productive and efficient than ever before. Working in collaboration, PA’s insights have:

  • created a framework for businesses to innovate towards the UN SDGs with the United Nations Global Compact. PA continues to support the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and leading organisations globally to promote business models and practices that extract value from traditional waste

  • helped farmers make smarter decisions presented by global food challenges and digital agritech with its data-driven insights. PA’s research identified 75 per cent of technology companies and start-ups lack a visible sustainable revenue model

  • developed a Circular Business Model Design Guide to empower organisations of all sizes and sectors to be more sustainable. It has been used by companies ranging from SMEs to big global players as a blueprint to help shape business models that create, deliver and capture value in ways that also benefit society and the environment

  • devised ways for developing nations to embrace the Circular Economy in their manufacturing industriesas part of its work with the UK’s Department for International Development

  • propelled carbon reductions in aviation and aerospace through its sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) research. The report offers a deep dive into what's blocking the SAF industry's progress and what leaders across the value chain need to do to kick start action and achieve the industry’s commitments to the Paris climate agreement. 

 Ken Toombs, CEO, PA Consulting, says: "We believe that combatting climate change is a vital element of building a positive human future and there’s never been a more urgent need to scale our commitment to reducing carbon emissions. We will be working closely with our people to educate colleagues and clients on our new commitments to support the journey towards a more sustainable future.”

Jonquil Hackenberg, Global Head of Sustainability, PA Consulting, added: “Our commitment to set SBTs will aid not only our firm’s progress towards reducing the effects of climate change on tomorrow's world, but also our clients' efforts to reduce their end-to-end carbon footprint. With these new global firm-wide ambitions, I am confident that we are on track to deliver sustainable innovation and impact at scale.”

Background to the SBTI

The Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) is a partnership between UNGC, Carbon Disclosure Project, World Resources Institute and the WWF.

The SBTi defines and promotes best practice in science-based target setting. Offering a range of target-setting resources and guidance, the SBTi independently assesses and approves companies’ targets in line with its strict criteria.

The scale of an organisation’s commitment is tied to limiting temperature rise to 2°C, ‘Well Below 2°C’ or 1.5°C, with the scale of reductions needed in line with the chosen scenario.

Criteria include:

  • Objectives need to be set within two years of committing to the SBTi

  • Objectives must run over 10-15 years, with annual reporting on progress and two to three target reviews within the timeframe

  • Initial targets are intended as a first step towards being a net zero or carbon negative company

  • The potential for offsetting is very limited and restricted to scope three emissions only. Even then, offsets must be demonstrated to be good quality, with preference for activities which we can control/oversee over the course of the commitment.



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