Tackling a challenge on the scale of the global climate emergency will require collective action and for every part of society – from governments, to businesses, organisations and citizens – to come together, galvanised by the one, common goal of reaching Net Zero.

I believe passionately that business has a vital and central role to play in driving towards this goal; and at Capita we are very mindful of our own responsibilities and how we must make significant, sustainable changes to how our organisation operates. Published today, Capita’s Net Zero strategy sets out credible, science-based targets which will take us on a journey to Net Zero by 2035, going beyond our existing emissions reductions targets verified by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

But setting out this clear direction of travel is just the start. We know that to achieve our ambitious strategy, fighting climate change must become part of our DNA, so that it is integral to our culture and underpins every decision we make. We also know that can have an even bigger impact by harnessing the power of our global networks – engaging our 55,000 people and providing the tools for them to make environmentally conscious decisions. This includes:

Changing how we work

With 35,000 people across Capita now working in hybrid ways, we are not only able to offer increased flexibility to our colleagues, but we also have a unique opportunity to reduce our environmental impact by changing how we use our offices and continuing to connect virtually.

Research from the Capita Institute has found that 54% of businesses are reducing business travel to achieve Net Zero – and, like them, we see this as a vital element of achieving our own targets. That is why we have set ourselves the ambitious target to reduce business travel by 75% by 2030 from 2019’s baseline.

And, crucially, our approach will continue to be ‘virtual first’ for all focused work and routine meetings. Although many roles do require regular office or field working, we can all reduce our environmental impact by matching our work to our location. This means using our offices carefully and appropriately – for example to come together and collaborate, both within our teams and with our clients and partners.

Empowering individual impact

It is critical we engage with our teams across the world to help everyone understand and reduce their own carbon footprint. Launching in October, our ‘do one thing’ campaign highlights the individual changes that make a difference – including support to create an environmentally friendly home working environment.

In our Experience division, a pilot is underway with Mobilityways, to allow people to track and reduce their own commuting emissions, empowering the adoption of sustainable modes of transport. The results of this pilot will inform a broader programme we’ll roll out next year, ensuring that everyone at Capita is empowered to make low carbon travel choices.

And at a senior level, from 2022, we’ll be linking our Net Zero commitments to executive pay.

But we won’t stop there – and we realise that we must challenge ourselves to look outwards as well as inwards. Capita’s network extends beyond our own people to our clients, partners and more than 24,500 suppliers, so we know there is much more we can do. We are calling on all our key suppliers to share in our commitment by setting their own science-based targets within the next 2 years through SBTi – and want 85% of them to have done so by 2030. By working together to tackle supply chain emissions we can drive even more change, and this is an important part of reaching our targets.

In a little over a month, leaders from across the world will come to Glasgow for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). This provides us all with the opportunity to challenge ourselves and each other and be aware of the corporate and personal responsibility for the changes we can each make within our own sphere of influence. I believe that collectively, at Capita and across society, we have an incredible opportunity to rise to the climate challenge – and make a real, lasting difference.

To find out more about Capita’s Net Zero strategy, visit our climate change hub.

Written by

Jon Lewis

Jon Lewis

Chief Executive Officer, Capita

Jon leads Capita’s transformation and strategy, so we can solve complex challenges for our clients. He was previously chief executive officer of the multi-national consultancy, engineering and project management business, Amec Foster Wheeler. Prior to that, he had a 20-year career at Halliburton Company Inc, where he held a number of senior roles.

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