Our CO2 objective
In our business operations we have set strict targets for reducing the Group’s carbon footprint per employee. The design for Pictet’s headquarters in Geneva was chosen to minimise the building’s environmental impact. We have also set ourselves an ambitious target, namely to reduce the average carbon footprint per employee by 40% by 2020.
In 2007, we began calculating the Group’s CO2 emissions as part of a newly defined environmental strategy. Business trips and energy consumption account for more than 90% of the Group’s emissions.
What are we doing to reduce our carbon footprint?
Video conferences on the rise
Pictet’s videoconferencing (VC) network was expanded by installing additional systems. We now have 290 rooms with VC equipment, and these systems were used for a total of 78,184 hours in 2019, an increase of 8% on 2018. With a 450% rise in the number of video conferences between during the past 10 years, the improved availability of such equipment does encourage employees to make greater use of VC facilities.
Improved energy efficiency at our head office
Over the past decade, we have installed three systems to improve the energy efficiency of our headquarters: heat transfer, solar air conditioning and photovoltaic solar energy. Thanks to these three installations, the Pictet Group avoided 295 tons in CO2 emissions in 2019.
As a result, we can reduce our environmental impact in three areas, by preventing CO2 emissions, cutting heating oil consumption and producing photovoltaic electricity.
By way of example, the 330 m² of photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of our head office produced 42,703 kWh of green electricity in 2019 – the equivalent of recharging 470 electric cars. These panels provide all the electricity for the solar air conditioning system and the charging points for electric cars and bicycles.
The solar air conditioning plant, with an area of 600 m2, has 364 collectors and is also installed on the roof of the main building. The energy collected is used to produce cold and hot water. Finally, the heat transfer system between our Geneva buildings allows us to recover the surplus heat given off by the IT centres and telecommunications rooms, and saved more than 103,500 litres of fuel oil.
Meanwhile, the Group’s bank in Luxembourg has been awarded the local “SuperDreckskëscht fir Betriber” quality label since 2015, which certifies efficient and ecological waste management in accordance with international standard ISO 14024.
Promote the use of electric transport
Pictet encourages the use of different types of electric transport. There are several charging points available for employees to charge their electric cars or bikes. These points use green electricity produced on the premises by additional photovoltaic solar panels installed on the roof of the main building.
A recent in-house survey asking employees in Geneva how they travel to and from work produced very encouraging results. Conducted by MobileIdée, a firm specialised in mobility management, the survey showed that 41% of our employees commute to work by public transport and 19% use bikes, e-bikes or walk to get to work.
To promote the use of clean modes of transport in Geneva, e-bikes have been made available to employees free of charge for the fourth year running (from April to mid-November).
In 2019, 7,052 e-bikes were borrowed by staff at our Geneva head office, a 28% increase on the year before. These bikes covered a total distance of 45,207 kilometres, saving 25.3 tonnes of CO2, representing a 94% enhancement on 2018.
Fund clean-energy projects to offset carbon emissions
Through the funding of clean-energy projects, Pictet has already achieved its carbon neutrality target for the period 2014-2020 by offsetting 70,000 tonnes of carbon. The projects include the construction of hydroelectric installations in China and the building of biomass power stations in Thailand.
Understanding and managing waste
In our quest to minimise the direct impact of our business, and that of our employees, we also launched in 2018 a landmark campaign to cut our single-use plastic consumption.
We identified two main sources of plastic waste – our employee restaurants and offices supplies – and put in place more sustainable alternatives. Thanks to this initiative, the Pictet Group reduced use of disposable plastic by 90% in just 12 months.
Quantis – a sustainable development consultancy – assisted Pictet through this process to understand how companies deal with plastic waste. Together, we developed strategies to integrate the use of plastics with a more sustainable approach. While it is important to reduce the use of plastic as much as possible, our role is to ensure that the alternative options are not even worse for the environment. For example, replacing plastic packaging used for food might not necessarily be positive if it leads to an increase in food waste. That’s why we advocate an approach that avoids single use.
It is more than ten years since we started making a concerted effort to achieve our CO2 objectives, and the results have been positive so far. Time has now come to think about what happens after 2020 and to expand our spheres of action.
We need to consider our consumption of materials and resources — and reduce this significantly. With this in mind, we are developing new measures to be implemented across the Group in Switzerland and abroad.
Raise employee awareness
Raising employees’ awareness of environmental issues and of the measures taken by Pictet has long been part of our approach.
We hold an annual “Sustainability Week” for staff at all our offices. The aim is to make staff aware of their consumption habits and remind them of Pictet’s position on environmental, social and governance issues. As part of the event, staff around the world are able, for example, to attend talks given by internal and external experts, learn about local flora and fauna, take part in e-bike excursions, and visit the installations used to reduce Pictet’s carbon footprint and generate our own clean energy.
In 2018, beehives with 50,000 bees were installed on the rooftop of our Geneva headquarters. More than thirty Pictet employees look after the hives, harvest honey and learn the basics of beekeeping. By promoting this initiative and marketing the honey throughout the company, we raise staff awareness of the decline in bee populations and threats to biodiversity.
Improving energy efficiency
Our plan is to boost the involvement of our foreign branches, analyse our general consumption and involve each of our employees more than before.
The initial findings of this assessment are that we should begin by targeting our branches in Asia and the Bahamas, where there is considerable scope for improvement.
We will need to identify, measure and analyse exactly where we should take action, set ourselves further objectives and launch new projects. At this stage, we are looking at what we have called our Environmental Approach 2.0.
As yet, very few measures have been developed regarding transport, and we need to look at what can be done there. A formal working comprising 13 people from across the Group has also been set up to push ahead with our environmental approach at our branches abroad.
Reconsidering our entire consumption chain
Our carbon footprint is part of a broader issue, that of our general consumption, which needs to become more sustainable.
To achieve this we have to study the Group’s entire consumption chain, from our suppliers and their working practices through to the sorting and recycling of all the material we use, especially our IT equipment.
This work, which is wide-ranging, has begun and requires a lengthy preparatory phase of analysis and data collection. It will allow us to set ambitious yet realistic targets and then launch new initiatives aimed at protecting our environment.
The first step we have taken is that, from now on, in addition to direct emissions, Pictet will analyse indirect emissions from the Group’s operations, such as the carbon footprint associated with staff members’ journeys to and from work. Moreover, the Group has now chosen to base itself on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) guidelines, developed in partnership with the World Resources Institute in Washington and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in Geneva.