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Reflecting on 2022: Environmental Sustainability at Capgemini UK

Chris Hodgson
20 Jan 2023

By rolling out carbon tracking tools and training plus updating our global net zero ambition according to the latest climate science, we ensured sustainability remained front of mind.

2022 saw businesses in the UK re-establish working patterns following the Covid-19 pandemic. For us, it was an important year to further our Environmental Sustainability Programme at Capgemini.

Globally, we aligned our net zero targets with the Science Based Target initiative’s Net-Zero Standard during 2022 – the world’s first framework for 1.5°C-aligned corporate net zero targets. Our ambition is to reduce our global carbon emissions by 90%. In the UK, we continued action to ensure our people are equipped with knowledge and tools to conduct the work they do for our business and clients in a more sustainable way.

Chris Hodgson, UK Head of Environmental Sustainability, reflects on 2022 – exploring the progress we’ve made under each focus area of our UK Environmental Sustainability Programme. We will report our annual carbon emissions data in our next Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Report.

Empowering our people

The sustainable transformation of our organisation at the scale and pace we are targeting is ambitious and will materially impact every aspect of how we operate. It requires radical change, and we need our employees’ help as we embed sustainability principles into our business culture and governance processes.

In 2022, we continued work to make carbon a business performance metric. We established this approach in 2021 in consultation with some of our business leaders, in order to make carbon something ‘tangible’ and actionable for individual teams. We expanded monthly carbon reporting for company travel to all business areas in 2022, having created it for key practice areas in 2021. Carbon travel budgets are now set for all business areas, and performance monitored. We ran carbon training sessions for our UK business leaders, where we explained expectations for how we will manage these carbon budgets in a similar way to our financial budgets moving forwards.

To support our people with insights into how they can take action, we rolled out a new virtual learning campus in June 2022 that offers role-specific sustainability training – globally well over 50% of the organisation has completed the foundation programme.

In addition to an ongoing programme of webinars, internal campaigns and training, we run regular sustainability-focused hackathons and challenges that require employees to use their skills to address sustainability challenges. Our 2022 Capgemini Tech4Positive Futures Challenge encouraged employees to develop solutions aimed at protecting biodiversity and reducing reliance on the Earth’s resources. Hundreds of employees across the Group took part, working with not-for-profit partners to develop ideas. Our UK project was one of three winning teams. During this year, they will develop a data-driven rewilding tool to recommend the best type of seeds to plant in specific locations according to biodiversity needs, ultimately supporting bees and other pollinators to flourish.

Our Capgemini Forest continued to grow. We created the forest through social enterprise Ecologi to help our people, business and clients invest in protecting nature. For example, we recognise outstanding employee work by awarding trees in the forest. As of December 2022, we’d helped plant over 885,000 trees – with over 41,000 of these from employee awards during 2022.

Transforming our mobility

Transforming our team’s mobility is a key component of our UK Environmental Sustainability Programme. During 2022, we developed a playbook guiding our teams to deliver for clients in a hybrid way that prioritises sustainability. This playbook equips our teams with the behavioural standards and governance tools to reduce carbon by minimising travel, for example by using our Client Impact Calculator to forecast project CO2e emissions.

As a member of the EV100 global initiative, we look to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles. In 2021, we announced that we’d transition our company car fleet to only electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. As of December 2022, 87% of the vehicles in our UK corporate car programme are now electric or plug-in hybrid models. We also introduced an enhanced mileage reimbursement rate, making the decision to switch to electric vehicles simpler for employees.

Investing in sustainable operations

Capgemini received ‘Gold’ recognition in 2022 through the Green Lease Leaders program, recognising our commitment as a tenant to increase the environmental performance of buildings.

Our team continued action to improve energy and water efficiency and reduce waste across our UK offices, as well as transition to renewable energy contracts. Around 95% of electricity used at our offices and data centres is from renewable sources. During 2022, the team continued to transition our more recently acquired offices onto renewable energy contracts.

Improving energy efficiency at our sites was another important focus for 2022. At our UK offices, we ran projects to install movement sensors to switch off lights, to replace lightbulbs with energy efficient LED bulbs, install more energy efficient hand dryers in the washrooms, and fit improved heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. For example, at our Telford office, the team updated the heating and cooling system to use the heat from ambient air from outside the building. This means the system no longer needs to consume energy to mechanically heat or cool the building during spring and autumn.

Find out more about sustainability at our offices during 2022 in Chris’ recent blog .

Providing sustainability solutions

The greatest contribution to decarbonisation we can deliver is through supporting clients, as their footprints are often far larger than our own. We offer services that enable clients to address their sustainability challenges. For instance, during 2022 we shared news of our recent work with Scottish Water. Capgemini assisted the water and sewage company to reduce its energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by providing near real-time access to operational data using a combination of current infrastructure and new ‘Internet of Things’ sensors and devices.

We also continued innovating to develop new ways to speed our clients’ sustainability journeys. We started a new collaboration with SATAVIA to explore uniting Capgemini’s virtual replica capabilities (called digital twins) with SATAVIA’s digitisation of the Earth’s atmosphere – helping offer clients in the aviation, energy, defence and space sectors an efficient way to identify climate and financial benefits. Another example is our collaboration with Cervest, where we’re embedding asset-level climate intelligence into climate transition, adaptation and sustainability strategies for clients. “Assets” are existing physical entities such as commercial and residential real estate, factories and other infrastructure.

Onto 2023…

The net zero transformation that we’re prioritising requires immediate action. It means radical changes across our business, requiring us to look beyond efficiencies and implement a complete shift in how we operate.

Tackling climate change is a shared challenge. No one company can reach net zero in isolation: we need to collaborate with our suppliers, clients and across sectors to achieve the wider changes needed, such as a shift to a circular economy. Equally, we recognise the growing need for businesses to help protect nature as well as reduce carbon emissions.

I’m pleased to see us start 2023 by reinforcing our ambition through the appointment of Cyril Garcia to our Group Executive Board as Head of Global Sustainability Services and Corporate Responsibility, and look forward to a busy year ahead.

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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.