Protect the environment Drastic measures to cut plastic waste at Pictet
Zero plastic within 12 months
Plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental challenges of our time. Garbage patches, made up mainly of floating plastic, now cover vast swathes of the Earth’s oceans, suffocating marine life and blighting entire stretches of coastline.
In 2017, nearly 1.5 tonnes of plastic document covers and more than 2 tonnes of throw-away cups and lids were used at Pictet.
That’s why, at the initiative of its Partners, the Pictet Group has set itself an ambitious target – to cut use of throw-away plastic by 75% by the end of 2018. At Group level, our aim is even to ban throw-away plastic completely by June 2019.
How we are going about it
We identified two main sources of plastic waste — our staff restaurants and office supplies — and we looked for more environmental friendly alternatives. The initiative was launched in June 2018 in Geneva, and will be extended to the Group’s other offices over the coming months.
At the staff restaurants, single-use items have either been phased out, in the case of drinking straws, or replaced by biodegradable ones. At the supply room, pens, binders, highlighters, document covers and other supplies have been replaced by plastic-free alternatives.
Our CO2 objective
In our business operations we have set strict targets for reducing the Group’s carbon footprint per employee. Pictet’s headquarters in Geneva was built to minimise the building’s environmental impact.
In 2007 we began calculating the Group’s CO2 emissions in response to a newly defined environmental strategy. We also set ourselves an ambitious target: to reduce the average carbon footprint per employee by 40% by 2020.
Business trips and energy consumption account for more than 90% of the Group’s emissions.
What are we doing to reduce our carbon footprint?
Using videoconferencing to reduce business travel
Pictet’s video conferencing (VC) network was expanded considerably in 2016, with the installation of 66 additional systems, equivalent to a 40% increase, bringing the total number of rooms equipped with a VC system to 231.
Use of VC systems
These systems were used for a total of 52,255 hours in 2016, proving that availability of the additional equipment did encourage employees to make greater use of this facility.
Increase energy efficiency at our head office
There are three main installations used at Pictet’s head office in Geneva to increase the building’s energy efficiency: solar aircon, heat transfer and photovoltaic solar energy. As a result, we are able to prevent CO2 emissions, cut down on heating oil consumption and also produce photovoltaic electricity.
Installed in 2008, the 330 m² of photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of the head office produced 40,200 kWh of green electricity in 2016 – equivalent to the electricity consumed by 10 households in a year.
Promote the use of electric transport
Pictet encourages the use of different types of electric transport. There are several charging points available for employees to charge their cars or electric bikes. These points use green electricity produced on the premises through additional photovoltaic solar panels installed on the roof of the main building.
To promote the use of clean modes of transport in Geneva, e-bikes have also been made available to employees free of charge for the third year in a row from April to mid-November.
In 2017, 545 staff at our Geneva head office borrowed e-bikes and covered a total distance of 26,620 kilometres, saving 10.8 tonnes of CO2.
Fund clean-energy projects to offset carbon emissions
By funding a series of clean-energy projects, Pictet has achieved carbon neutrality for the period 2014 to 2020 by offsetting 70,000 tonnes of carbon.
It is now ten years since we started making a concerted effort to achieve our CO2 objectives, and the results have been positive so far. Now it’s time to think about what happens after 2020 and to expand our spheres of action.
From now on we need to consider our consumption of material and resources and reduce this significantly. With this in mind, we are seeking to develop new measures to be implemented at all Group entities in Switzerland and abroad.
Raise employee awareness
Raising employees’ awareness of environmental issues and of the measures taken by Pictet has long been part of our approach.
We hold an annual “Sustainability Week” for staff at all our offices. The aim is to make staff aware of their consumption habits and remind them of Pictet’s position on environmental, social and governance issues. As part of the event, staff around the world are able, for example, to attend talks from internal and external experts, learn about local flora and fauna, take part in e-bike excursions, and visit the installations used to cut Pictet’s carbon footprint and generate our own clean energy.
In 2018, beehives with 50,000 bees were installed on the rooftop of our Geneva headquarters. More than thirty Pictet employees look after the hives, harvest honey and learn the basics of beekeeping. By promoting this initiative and marketing the honey throughout the company, we raise staff awareness of the decline in bee populations and threats to biodiversity.
Improve energy efficiency
Our plan is to boost the involvement of our foreign branches, analyse our general consumption and involve each of our employees more than before.
The initial findings of this assessment are that we should begin by targeting our branches in Asia and the Bahamas, where there is considerable potential for improvement.
We will need to identify, measure and analyse exactly where we should take action, set ourselves further objectives and launch new projects. At this stage then, we are looking at what we have called our Environmental Approach 2.0.
There are also still very few measures being developed in the area of transport, and we need to look at what can be done there. A formal working group consisting of 13 people from the whole Group has also been set up so that we can push ahead with our environmental approach at our branches abroad.
Reconsider our entire consumption chain
Our carbon footprint is part of a more general issue, that of our general consumption, which needs to become more sustainable.
To achieve this we will have to study the Group’s entire consumption chain, from our suppliers and their working practices through to the sorting and recycling of all material used, especially our IT equipment.
This work, which covers a wide spectrum, has just begun and will require a lengthy preparatory phase of analysis and data collection, thereby allowing us to set ambitious yet realistic targets and then launch new initiatives aimed at protecting our environment.