We recognize that the size of our organization and the nature of our business create a significant environmental impact. To address this issue in a structured and transparent way, we have implemented BCG Green—a series of initiatives designed to diminish our impact at both the global and local levels.
To reduce our emissions from travel and energy consumption, decrease our waste production, and boost our recycling, we launched five global initiatives at the start of 2009:
- A program that significantly increases the use of video conferencing between offices
- Guidelines that increase rail use for all trips of less than three hours
- A program that optimizes all in-office heating, ventilation, cooling, and lighting
- A change of printer settings in all our offices that reduces the consumption of paper, toner, and energy
- A strategy that ensures every BCG office worldwide has recycling facilities and that encourages offices to further develop their recycling programs
We developed some of these ideas as a result of successful local initiatives; the Eurostar train, for instance, is already used for more than 90 percent of our travel between London and Paris and has served as a great example for offices in other cities. In other cases, BCG has found innovative new solutions. For example, in Jakarta, where there are no government or large-scale recycling programs, BCG's recyclable materials are collected by a local charity that uses the proceeds to fund its work.
Each year we hope to implement more global initiatives. In addition, we actively support local “green teams” in each BCG office by sharing best practices, conducting training sessions, and providing access to an online library of environmental information. These are just a few of our successful local initiatives:
- BCG’s Brussels office provides its staff with information on fuel-efficient cars and tips on driving efficiently, and recently staff members were given the opportunity to test-drive hybrids during an office outing. Several other offices have adopted similar initiatives; as a result, hybrids now constitute 20 percent of the cars driven by members of the Athens office.
- The Toronto and Dallas offices stopped using water in plastic bottles, an initiative that saved Dallas about 25,000 of these plastic bottles per year. Both offices replaced bottled water with a water-filtration system, and Toronto provided reusable Sigg bottles for its staff.
- Our Greater China system (Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Taipei) has implemented a range of green initiatives, including the promotion of a “lights off” pledge and the use of reusable dishware instead of disposable alternatives.
We are also putting in place a process that will provide us with detailed information on BCG's global carbon footprint and with several green-performance indicators. These data will be used to track the effectiveness of our environmental initiatives as well as to identify opportunities for new initiatives and improvements. The initial findings following the global changes to our printer settings suggest that we have already reduced our paper consumption by between 20 and 25 percent.
Finally, we are investing in case work to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of our clients. Working in partnership, we have the potential to lower global carbon emissions on a scale far greater than could be achieved by reducing only our own emissions or by purchasing offsetting emissions credits.
This is a long-term journey, and we hope that we can successfully leverage our expertise to improve the environment and have a positive impact that far exceeds BCG's own environmental footprint.