PwC bans staff from flying business class to achieve net-zero carbon emissions

  • Business Class Restriction: PwC directs senior staff to fly economy class, limiting business class use to long-haul night flights or essential business trips.
  • Net Zero Target: PwC aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030, identifying business travel as a primary source of pollution at its UK branch.
  • Carbon-Conscious Travel: PwC urges staff to extend business trips to minimize the number of flights, emphasizing the environmental impact of business-class seats, which are 50% more carbon-intensive than premium economy.
  • Emission Reduction Progress: PwC’s annual report indicates a 49% reduction in business travel emissions compared to pre-pandemic levels, but challenges persist in meeting the 2030 target.
  • Cost-Cutting Measure: The shift to economy class aligns with PwC’s cost-cutting efforts, including a recent plan to cut up to 600 jobs amid a slowdown in demand for advisory services.
  • Industry Trends: PwC’s move follows a trend among Big Four accountants, with EY considering abandoning its headquarters and others trimming staff after years of rapid hiring to cope with increased M&A activity.
PwC bans staff from flying business class to cut carbon footprint and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030
PwC bans staff from flying business class to cut carbon footprint and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 (Image: Bjorn Erik Pedersen/CC 3.0)

PwC’s Carbon Emission Strategy: Senior Staff Restricted from Business Class

PwC has instructed its senior staff to refrain from flying business class as part of its commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. According to reports, senior staff were informed in October that only those on long-haul night flights or those traveling for “business critical reasons” would be permitted to use business class.

The directive applies to partners, directors, and accompanying staff, with the previous policy allowing business class travel for flights lasting at least five hours. PwC, in its effort to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, recognizes business travel as the largest contributor to carbon pollution within its UK operations.

Marissa Thomas, a partner at PwC UK, emphasized the importance of thoughtful air travel to meet sustainability goals. She stated, “Flights account for the majority of our carbon emissions, so we’re only going to meet our net zero target if our people take a really thoughtful approach to air travel.”

Thomas explained that business-class seats are approximately 50% more carbon-intensive than premium economy seats, urging partners and directors to carefully consider the necessity of such accommodations. Business class seats are considered more carbon-intensive due to their larger space requirements on planes and higher likelihood of remaining unoccupied.

PwC’s annual environment report indicated a 49% reduction in business travel emissions compared to pre-pandemic levels, but it still falls short of the 2030 target. Over two-thirds of business travel emissions are attributed to air travel.

Beyond environmental considerations, the move is expected to contribute to cost-cutting efforts. PwC recently announced plans to eliminate up to 600 jobs through a voluntary redundancy scheme, responding to decreased demand for advisory services. Similar actions have been taken by other Big Four accounting firms, reflecting a shift in employment dynamics after years of extensive hiring to meet the demands of increased M&A activity.

In a related development, rival EY is reportedly in talks to abandon its headquarters near London Bridge, a 10-storey building that has served as the headquarters for EY’s UK and Ireland business since 2003, accommodating around 9,000 staff, including its global executive team.


Source(s): The Telegraph; Yahoo News

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