Reflecting on lessons from ten years of sustainability

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What do marathons, elephants and discarded rule books have in common? I can explain all in the second instalment of our Thought Leadership series, TenFromTen, where I reflect on the lessons from ten years of sustainability at Capgemini UK.

When I look back to 2008, I think what an important year it was for the UK’s environmental sustainability agenda. The Climate Change Act 2008 finally passed into law, setting a 2050 target and roadmap for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions across the country and providing an agreed system of carbon budgeting.

2008, was also a significant year for Capgemini UK’s environmental programme as we also formalised our carbon reduction targets and established a robust sustainability programme. Over the last decade we have systematically reduced our absolute carbon emissions by 42%. Ten years on, we are reflecting on what we have learnt in the process.

‘TenFromTen’ summarises the key lessons we’ve learnt from 10 years of our sustainability programme at Capgemini UK. In each of three parts, we focus on a different aspect of our programme. Today, in Part 2, we’re sharing four lessons from driving efficiency within our operations, particularly reducing office and data centre energy consumption, carbon from our business travel, and waste.

To summarise the key lessons we have learnt:

  • To reduce energy consumption, there are no quick fixes. You need a marathon mentality.
  • To make a difference, don’t ignore the elephant in the room. In our case, this was travel.
  • To create a new standard in sustainability, it is better to start with a blank piece of paper and re-write the rule book.
  • To solve a sustainability problem, you need a 360-degree lens, and sometimes, you need to flip the problem on its head and ask a different question.

I wonder how many of our lessons resonate with other sustainability practitioners?

Click on the button to read Part 2 of our three part thought leadership series.




In 10 years we’ve come a long way: from embedding sustainability targets into our ground-breaking seven-year IT services contract with the Environment Agency, to becoming the first in our sector to announce a bold new science-based target. Most recently, we have taken sustainability to another level, setting a new global commitment to help our clients save 10million tonnes of CO2e, as a vehicle to embedding sustainability into our client offerings.

We have often been asked questions about how and why we did things: how and why we created Merlin (still one of the world’s most sustainable data centres), how and why we created our award-winning Travelwell programme. I hope this series goes some way to sharing not just the how and why behind our sustainability programme, but also some of the lessons we have learnt along the way.

At the end of the year, I will share our final lessons in the series, on ‘Being Impactful’. These will look at what we have learnt through collaborating with our clients and suppliers on sustainability.

In our previous lessons in the series, we highlighted how setting ambitious targets is key to driving sustainability and innovation, the importance of collecting good data, and making sure you leverage the expertise of your own people. Please do see what we learnt on managing our programme ‘Lessons 1-3: Managing our environmental impacts’.

To find out more about our global approach to Environmental Sustainability please read the 2017/18 Capgemini Group Environmental Sustainability Report.

For more information about the Architects of Positive Futures programme in the UK please read the 2017/18 Capgemini UK Architects of Positive Futures Report


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