Deloitte certified for CO2 Performance Ladder

New to the list of certificate holders: the Dutch branch of consultancy firm Deloitte. Known as one of the big four in the finance industry, this international company also has a lot of knowledge on issues surrounding the climate transition. In conversation with Internal Sustainabilty Lead Mark van Rijn, we get to know the company. 'Climate neutral? We are not yet. But we have picked the low-hanging fruit and we are a very ambitious organisation. So we take on this challenge with good courage.'

1. What makes you a special certificate holder?

'You wouldn't say so when you see me,' says Mark cheerfully, 'but the company has an average age of 32 and diversity is important to us. Our 'purpose' is: 'to make an impact that matters'. I have the impression that our clients and people who come to work here think we are authentic in that.'

'We are also committed to CO2 reduction at Deloitte. It is one of the strategic business goals and Deloitte therefore wants to become netzero according to the definitions of the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). 'That is global policy, and the part Deloitte Netherlands falls under must implement ISO 14001 or equivalent.'

2. Is that why you chose the CO2 Performance Ladder?

Mark: 'Yes, I thought ISO 14001 was too rigid and didn't have the right scope. That standard also deals with waste and water, for example. These are not material topics for us. I want to focus on what matters to us and that is CO2 reduction. So we went for the 'equivalent' option: the CO2 Performance Ladder. We also see that the CO2 Performance Ladder is becoming increasingly important for our customers, which can result in award advantage.

These two things together made us think the CO2 Performance Ladder was a good fit, and then you start looking: does it fit, is it feasible, does it add value for us and for our clients? And that turned out to be the case. We are now certified at level 3. And now, through an impact analysis, we are looking at whether implementation of level 4 or 5 also fits.'

3. What do you like about the CO2 Performance Ladder?

Mark: 'What I like about the CO2 Performance Ladder is that you systematically evaluate and adjust your CO2 performance and thus keep it alive. What you often see is a report that is drawn up once a year and then little happens with it. This is different with the CO2 Performance Ladder. CO2 has already received a lot of attention in recent years, but with the Ladder we think about it even more thoroughly and are working on it in an even more structured way.

We also communicate more about everything we do. Whereas our CO2-reducing measures previously had no place in our annual reporting, they now get a permanent recurring place. With the CO2 Performance Ladder, we communicate in even more detail about the measures we take and the reduction of our CO2 emissions as a result of these measures.'

4. What are the biggest sources of CO2 emissions at Deloitte? And how will you reduce them?

'Within our own operations (scope 1 and 2), we cause the largest bulk of CO2 through mobility, travel. In addition, part through accommodation: we are in 15 buildings in the Netherlands. As for those premises: in 3 premises we buy the energy green ourselves, but in the others we depend on what the landlord buys. We are in talks with them to convince them to buy green energy there too.'

And the policy on mobility? 'No flying unless necessary,' says Mark. 'During corona, we found that we can also serve many of our international customers remotely and we continue to do that as much as possible. The trips we make within about 600/700 km we do as much as possible by train and when we do fly we no longer automatically do so in business class on routes to America.' Less space is less CO2, is the reasoning. 'Furthermore, we want all 3,500 cars leased by Deloitte employees to be electric by 1 January 2026.'

5. What do you think is the biggest challenge for a climate-neutral future?

'People's behaviour. Those who do not see the urgency of changing behaviour for the benefit of the climate are less willing to do so. Take as an example someone who 'doesn't feel like' driving electric to their holiday destination because it takes longer due to charging. It's not about you as an individual, but about the collective, about the future. So that's a big challenge.'

Mark continues: 'on the other hand, I think it is important not to judge each other for the choices we make, because that leads to polarisation. Let's stop judging each other and especially applaud the steps someone does take.'

6. Which organisations do you think should go for Ladder certification?

Mark: 'The big CO2 emitters in the Netherlands. When I look out over the port area from the 44th floor of our building in Rotterdam, and the heavy industry located there, I sometimes think to myself: in a few seconds, as much CO2 is emitted there as Deloitte Nederland emits in a whole year. So if the big emitters are helped to reduce their CO2 through certification, I am certainly in favour of that.'