Bain steps up sustainability mission with carbon net-negative pledge

11 May 2022 3 min. read
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A long-time leader on sustainability, Bain & Company is making further moves to achieve net-negative carbon status this year, and intends to remain so moving forward.

Global management consulting firm Bain & Company has declared its intention to reach net-negative carbon status this year, and maintain the target annually from now on.

To achieve its goal of removing more than 100 percent of its scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions, the firm will focus on supporting projects that remove carbon from the atmosphere, such as reforestation and direct carbon capture, rather than those that simply seek to avoid future emissions.

Bain steps up sustainability mission with carbon net-negative pledge

Bain & Company has long been a leader in the climate action space, and claims to have been the first consultancy to achieve 100% CarbonNeutral status, more than a decade ago in 2011. Since then, the firm’s office energy efficiency initiatives and switch to 100 percent renewable electricity has seen it reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by almost 85 percent – scope 1 being directly-generated emissions and scope 2 referring to indirect emissions from purchased electricity.

The firm has also been working on its Scope 3 emissions, those derived from its activities further along the supply-chain, with the consulting world a particularly notorious offender when it comes to business travel.

In response, Bain last year made a commitment to slash its travel emissions by 35 percent per employee over five years. As made apparent during the pandemic, the firm now recognises that it can still consult effectively by leveraging remote working technology.

“To create real impact in the global fight against climate change, businesses need to lead the way and continuously push beyond the status quo,” said worldwide managing partner Manny Maceda. “After leading our industry with more than a decade of carbon neutrality, we asked ourselves how we could take our commitment to the next level. We are taking this bold next step because it’s the right thing to do on behalf of our people, our clients and our broader communities.”

In addition to reducing its own footprint, Bain in 2015 pledged $1.1 billion worth of pro bono consulting over ten years, including to support non-profits working on critical environmental challenges, and last year launched ‘Further’, an integrated suite of ESG capabilities with 2,500 employees actively involved.

The firm says that in just the past two years, its consultants have served on more than 600 client projects that tackled sustainability and emissions.

“Our clients are facing increasing and often existential demands around sustainability, social impact, and diversity, equity and inclusion,” stated Brussels-based partner François Faelli, who was in February appointed as Bain’s first ever global managing partner for ESG (environment, social and governance). “Together, we can create new engines for business growth and exciting opportunities for employees while having a transformative impact on communities.”

Tom De Waele

Commenting on the ambition, Bain & Company Middle East managing partner Tom De Waele said: “Governments across the GCC have been leading by example when it comes to setting clearly defined goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With regional countries following a more sustainable approach, we see Bain’s step to push beyond net-zero as a business responsibility to protect this planet.”

Meanwhile, in a recent interview, Australia-based Bain partners Karsten Fruechtl and Brian Murphy described ‘sustainability’ as the new ‘digital’ in its rapid disruption of established industries while increasing consumer demand and opening up opportunities for value creation. As such, they believe that much can be learned in terms of sustainability from the digital revolution, as well as by applying digital.