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Advancing our own sustainable transformation in 2023

Chris Hodgson
Jan 31, 2024

The extreme heat experienced globally in 2023, the hottest year on record, annihilated any remaining doubts about the need to raise our collective levels of action on the climate crisis. Our Sustainable Business Trends report, published in December 2023, reflects the growing urgency, showing the number of executives recognising the business case for sustainability has tripled since 2022.

At Capgemini, we have set an ambitious global target of a 90% carbon reduction across all scopes by the end of 2040, becoming one of the first companies to have our net zero targets validated according to SBTi’s new Net Zero Standard.  

2023 was a pivotal year in which we continued to embed our ambition, creating the conditions we need for a sustainable business transformation of this scale. In short, we recognise there’s no time left for blue sky thinking. Our plans are concrete, and we’re taking action now. 

Setting ambitious near-term targets for the UK

To drive bold initiatives, it was key to have buy-in from the top and clear targets to hold the business accountable; in 2023, our UK Country Board set strengthened near-term carbon reduction targets to drive emissions reductions well ahead of the 2040 net zero goal. We set out a three-year plan to achieve absolute reductions against our 2019 baseline of 40% by the end of 2023, 45% by the end of 2024, and 50% by the end of 2025. Our 2023 performance will be shared in our annual report following data audits, but we are confident we have exceeded the target reductions set for 2023, putting us on the right path for further reductions.  

Strengthening governance, creating our Decarbonisation Board

To help us meet these ambitious targets, we established a ‘Decarbonisation Board’ of senior leaders, with accountability across six key areas: upskilling our people and establishing a vision for a net zero business; embedding carbon as a key performance indicator in business reviews; sustainable business travel; low carbon commuting; support for sustainable home-working; and decarbonising our estate. 

Each of these senior leaders actively drives collective change, challenging existing behaviours and mindsets to advance the sustainability agenda. For example, VP Rachel Greedy, UK Head of Delivery, leads on sustainable business travel and puts her sustainability principles into action; choosing a seven hour rail journey from Taunton to Edinburgh instead of flying to a business meeting, Rachel also challenges the need for her to fly around Europe and often chooses to join internal events online, because of the carbon cost. 

Embedding carbon as a business metric

One of the key pillars of our sustainability programme is about embedding carbon as a business performance metric and getting people to manage carbon in the way we are used to managing finances. In 2023 we monitored our carbon budget closely; carbon emissions reporting for business travel is now integrated into monthly business performance reviews and we introduced a mechanism that makes all UK VP bonuses dependent on their business line delivering within the travel carbon budget allocated to them.  

Creating sustainable delivery models 

We recognise that as consultants, our carbon footprint isn’t created from the manufacture of goods, but in the delivery of services, and we know we need to rethink how we operate and deliver those services to our clients if we are to achieve our net zero ambition.  

To start this process, in 2023 we worked with one of our biggest clients to create and pilot a Sustainable Delivery Framework, which sets a blueprint for sustainable delivery. The aim is to test new ways of working and reduce our delivery emissions. Once the pilot is proven, roll out will continue during 2024, and our ultimate ambition is to replicate it across our largest accounts, and encourage clients to use it in their wider supplier ecosystems too. 

Supporting sustainable home working  

An important area we started to address in 2023 was our working from home emissions. In September, we teamed up with energy experts Big Clean Switch to deliver a series of webinars focused on reducing home energy consumption for both homeowners and renters, attracting over 2,000 of our employees. We also introduced home energy assessments and home improvement loans as part of our employee benefits package; by opting in, Big Clean Switch will organise home energy assessors to identify measures that will improve home energy performance, and following this, Capgemini UK is offering our employees an interest-free home improvement loan to finance sustainable improvements such as insulation, solar panels, or a heat pump, empowering our people to cut their carbon footprint and save on energy bills. 

Transforming our mobility

Business travel remains the largest source of operational emissions and a key challenge we need to tackle. During 2023, we worked on minimising emissions from business travel and commuting, through sustainable hybrid delivery, and by making low carbon options available when travel is absolutely necessary.  

We introduced ‘net zero travel standards’ setting out bold new rules for how we travel; our people should only fly long haul for essential client activities, and they shouldn’t take flights within the UK. If they must travel to Europe, they should choose train services over flying. Within the UK, they should take public transport instead of driving between cities. Of course, circumstances arise in which exceptions have to be made. 

Indeed, some people have to travel more than others to do their job. Therefore, we’ve instigated peer-led carbon coaching conversations for our top 50 travellers, exploring sustainable behaviour changes and the reduction of carbon intensive travel. Following the introduction of the travel standards we have already seen a reduction in carbon emissions per mile travelled, showing we are starting to decarbonise the way we operate.  

Investing in sustainable operations 

We continue to invest in sustainable operations, transitioning to renewable electricity contracts, optimising our IT infrastructure, and minimising waste. We’ve championed energy efficiency, with insulation installed at our Inverness office and gas boiler replacement projects ongoing at our Nairn and Abingdon offices. And we’re tackling other emission sources in our offices, including refrigerant gases in air conditioning units. Our Zero Hero campaign encouraged the reuse and recycling of unwanted office equipment, promoting circular economy thinking. Looking to the future, in 2023 we designed a sustainable estate standard to ensure any new offices will meet our sustainability criteria and are future fit for our net zero goals.  

Accelerating through 2024 

We know our people are the drivers of change and therefore, in 2024 we’re focusing on programmes that empower our people to make more sustainable choices; by providing sustainability training, better access to their carbon data, and travel planning tools that help balance cost, carbon, and time. Collaboration continues to be critical, and we encourage our clients, partners, and suppliers, as well as our people and diverse stakeholders, to work with us to drive operational change.  

With ambitious goals, concrete actions, and a collaborative spirit, Capgemini is confident in its journey towards a net-zero future. 


Chris Hodgson

UK Head of Environmental Sustainability
Chris is responsible for leading, developing and implementing Capgemini UK’s net zero roadmap. He is a Practitioner member of IEMA and has over 15 years of experience working in the field of sustainability. He’s passionate about helping create a shared vision for a net-zero future and his Connectwell project won a Global Good Award for Environmental Behaviour Change by aligning technology, culture and capabilities.

    Sustainability trends 2023

    Report from the Capgemini research institute