Principles in action
Because you can only change what you measure, in 2007 we began to calculate the Group’s CO2 emissions. An ambitious objective was set at the time to reduce the average carbon footprint per employee by 40% before 2020. Reducing our footprint further, especially in absolute terms given our growth, will require stronger ambitions as far as our infrastructure, mobility and consumption as a firm are concerned.
Use an efficient infrastructure
We built our Geneva headquarters in 2006 with sustainability in mind. At the time – a full nine years before the Paris Agreement of 2015 – this kind of consideration was still rare.
Our objective to reduce our CO2 emissions per employee by 40% by 2020 has been broadly achieved, with a 73% reduction, as you can see below.
However, this result is a direct consequence of the pandemic, which resulted in a sharp decrease in business travel (-83% in 2020 compared to 2019).
Now that the target of CO2 reduction has been achieved for 2007–2020, we have set new targets for the decade 2020–2030.
By 2025, Pictet aims to reduce its direct greenhouse gas emissions by 60% compared to 2019 levels. All direct and indirect emissions generated by our value chain have been offset since 2014. Pictet will continue offsetting these emissions but take a more impactful approach.
For the last decade, long before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Pictet has constantly been expanding its videoconferencing systems with the aim of reducing its carbon emissions linked to business travel.
Because of the pandemic, visio conferencing became a day-to-day tool for all Pictet staff worldwide last year, with more than 80,000 hours’ use per month. When business travel is possible again, Pictet will continue to encourage visio conferencing as an alternative to travelling.
Promoting soft mobility
We encourage our employees to opt for soft mobility solutions for commuting to and from work.
There are various benefits available to employees at our Geneva head office:
- Free recharging stations for electric bikes and cars
- Free public transport for employees who give up their parking spot
- A partnership with Genève Roule, a local association that provides electric bikes
For the past five years, Genève Roule has provided Pictet employees with electric bikes.
What’s the purpose of this partnership?
Daniel Suda Lang (DSL): It’s to show Pictet employees the advantages of cycling, whether for short journeys or to get to work every day. As part of the partnership, we have a bike rental station in the courtyard of the Geneva head office from March to November. Pictet employees can use one of these bikes free of charge during lunch breaks, evenings or even weekends.
Would you consider this initiative a success?
DSL: Since the launch, we’ve seen real enthusiasm for this project. In 2019, 7,052 e-bikes were borrowed at the Geneva head office, a 28% increase on 2018. These bikes covered a total distance of 45,207 kilometres, saving 25.3 tonnes of CO2. The partnership also has a positive social impact, as three or four jobs are created during the rental period, mainly for long-term unemployed people and refugees.
What are the benefits of such a campaign?
DSL: As our urban environments become increasingly dense, we need to diversify our means of transportation. Bikes are a healthy way of getting around, but also a clean one. Our aim is to encourage employees to reconsider the way they commute in the long term. This is also why we encourage employees who wish to buy an e-bike at the end of each season.
Understanding and managing waste
In our quest to minimise the direct impact of our business, and the impact of our employees, we also launched a landmark campaign in 2018 to cut our single-use plastic consumption.
We identified two main sources of plastic waste – our employee restaurants and offices supplies – and put in place more sustainable alternatives. Thanks to this initiative, the Pictet Group reduced the use of disposable plastic by 90% in just 12 months.
Quantis – a sustainable development consultancy – helped Pictet through this process to understand how companies deal with plastic waste.
What advice did you give Pictet to reduce their plastic waste?
Gregory Simonnin: Pictet approached Quantis at the end of 2018 with a very detailed inventory of all the plastic objects used daily within the Group. Together, we developed strategies to integrate the use of plastics with a more sustainable approach. While it is important to reduce the use of plastic as much as possible, our role is to ensure that the alternative options are not even worse for the environment. For example, replacing plastic packaging used for food might not necessarily be positive if it leads to an increase in food waste. That is why we advocate an approach that avoids single use.
What are Pictet’s main challenges in reducing waste?
GS: Pictet has branches all over the world. Waste treatment varies enormously from one country to another, but the basic concept is that plastic waste must not be allowed to enter the environment after collection. We helped Pictet identify the countries in which plastic leakage is a big challenge. In these countries, a drastic reduction in single-use items, particularly plastic, is required.
Have you noticed a change in the awareness of companies about waste management?
GS: We’ve seen increased interest in waste management, and more particularly of plastics, over the past couple of years. We also exchange with several peers in Geneva to share best practices in this “Cut the plastic” campaign. This topic concerns almost all the sectors we work in, from food producers, to cosmetics or sports events.
Responsibility at Pictet
Our brochures give a full view of the Pictet Group’s approach to sustainability and responsible investing.