L.E.K. Consulting promises to reach net-zero carbon by 2030

06 July 2021 Consulting.us 3 min. read

L.E.K. Consulting, a global management consulting firm, has pledged to achieve net-zero carbon operations by 2030.

Boston-based L.E.K. will join an expanding group of consulting firms that have promised to reach net-zero carbon emissions. That group now includes the MBB strategy firms, the Big Four accounting and consulting firms, and numerous others such as Point B and Stantec.

The first step for many was achieving carbon neutrality, which can done by simply purchasing carbon offset credits and not modifying operations. Net-zero requires a reduction in emissions and investment in projects that remove the remaining carbon dioxide produced by a firm’s operations – including forests, farms, and carbon capture and mineralization technologies. 

For a typical consulting firm, this would likely mean reducing the amount of flights its consultants take, powering offices with renewable energy, and then funding initiatives that directly remove carbon from the atmosphere to cancel out the remaining emissions.L.E.K. Consulting promises to reach net-zero carbon by 2030L.E.K. has been carbon neutral since 2008, but will now bump up its sustainability program to net-zero carbon targets by 2030.

"Like our clients, we are keenly tuned in to the importance of reducing carbon emissions to society overall. We acted early to understand and address the impact of our carbon footprint, and we are continuing to strive for industry-leading environmental practices by constantly refining our approach to monitoring carbon emissions, being transparent in reporting them and planning initiatives that advance our sustainability goals as well as our clients'," said L.E.K. global managing partner, Stuart Jackson.

L.E.K.’s upgraded sustainability strategy will include accurate emissions tracking, emissions offsets, employee behavior change, and a move to green energy. The firm specifically plans to transition all its offices to renewable energy as quickly as possible, as well as work with employees to reduce carbon footprint via altered travel frequency and hybrid work.

“We will ask certain questions before traveling that we may not have in the past," Jackson added.

Much of a consulting firm’s carbon emissions are tied to frequent air travel – which accounts for approximately 2.5% of global carbon emissions. Car travel is another factor. Though travel to client sites will always be a part of the industry, the impact of the pandemic has caused many industries – management consulting included – to re-evaluate the amount of business travel actually required. Teleconferencing has proven viable in many cases, and cost savings and carbon emissions reduction are among the benefits.

Business travel isn’t expected to bounce back nearly as rapidly as leisure travel, and some analysts are predicting a permanent reduction in business travel volume in the long term. According to a recent Accenture survey, more than half of respondents who normally travel for business expect to reduce this activity in the future.