Over the past several years, consulting firms around the world have turned new attention to assisting clients with a wide variety of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives, but none have the same sense of urgency as those focused on climate change, and specifically net-zero emissions goals. As world governments continue to struggle with making the staggering changes necessary to stave off the worst of the impacts of warming, Bain & Company has recently announced its intention to achieve net-negative carbon status in 2022.
The initiative is very different from many of the carbon neutral or net-zero strategies announced by public companies in the recent past in two ways. First, it commits to specifically support carbon removal and sequestration projects instead of only avoiding future emissions. Second, its ambitious deadline is months – instead of years – away.
“To create real impact in the global fight against climate change, businesses need to lead the way and continuously push beyond the status quo,” said Manny Maceda, the firm’s Worldwide Managing Partner, in a press release. “After leading our industry with more than a decade of carbon neutrality, we asked ourselves how we could take our commitment to the next level. We are taking this bold next step because it’s the right thing to do on behalf of our people, our clients, and our broader communities.”
The firm’s carbon footprint calculation process is administered by an external partner and verified by a third party in line with the CarbonNeutral® Protocol. It is working with outside partners such as Sylvera, Natural Capital Partners, and 3Degrees to ensure that it purchases carbon offset credits for projects that meet the highest quality standards. In 2022, the firm is supporting seven natural carbon removal projects, including reforestation efforts in China, Ghana, Mexico, and Guatemala; as well as forest management projects in the United States and Uruguay.
Over the past decade, Bain has led the consulting industry in sustainability efforts. It was the first firm to achieve 100% CarbonNeutral® status in 2011, which it did by reducing its scope 1 and 2 direct emissions by 84% by converting to 100% renewable electricity; improving the energy efficiency of its offices; and engaging its Green Teams to uncover and implement operational efficiencies.