Bain & Company to go carbon net-negative this year

25 April 2022 2 min. read
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Bain & Company, a global management consulting firm, has pledged to go carbon net-negative this year – removing more than 100% of its 2021 scope 1, 2, and 3 carbon emissions. The Boston-based firm said it plans to achieve net-negative status every year moving forward.

Scope 1 refers to direct emissions from owned sources, scope 2 refers to indirect emissions from purchased electricity, and scope 3 includes other indirect emissions throughout a firm’s value chain. The greatest sustainability challenge for consulting firms is the heavy plane travel of consultants (which was temporarily mitigated by the pandemic).

Carbon neutral status allows companies to simply make offset purchases without meaningfully altering the emissions generated by their value chains. Net-zero and net-negative status entails reduction in emissions as well as support for projects that actively remove carbon from the atmosphere, including forests, farms, and carbon capture and mineralization technologies.

The other Big Three strategy firms and the Big Four accountancies have, at minimum, net-zero by 2030 commitments. BCG has a net-negative (“climate positive,” in their terminology) pledge for 2030.

Bain & Company to go carbon net-negative this year

Bain says its upgraded sustainability pledge makes it the industry leader in the area.

“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, Bain & Company’s worldwide managing partner. “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.”

In 2011, Bain was the first consultancy to achieve 100% CarbonNeutral status. The firm has reduced scope 1 and 2 direct emissions by more than 84% in the last 11 years through a 100% conversion to renewable electricity and office energy efficiency initiatives.

Last year, Bain committed to Science Based Targets Initiative’s 1.5-degree pathway, with specific pledges to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 30% by 2026 and to reduce scope 3 emissions from business travel by 35% per employee in the same time period.

As part of its new net-negative commitment, Bain will follow a footprint calculation run by an external partner and third party in line with the CarbonNeutral Protocol. This year’s offset carbon removal projects include reforestation projects in Mexico, China, Guatemala, and Ghana.

Bain – which has 12,000 people in 38 countries – has also in the last two years advised on more than 600 client projects in sustainability and corporate responsibility.