By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
Accenture recently released its 2014 Corporate Citizenship Report, “Making a Measurable Difference,” which announces a series of 2020 goals and highlights the company’s efforts to collaborate with others to improve the way the world works and lives. Below are a sampling of answers the company provided highlighting the takeaways from the “Making a Measurable Difference,” report.
What’s the quick background of Accenture’s Skills to Succeed initiative?
We’re in a climate of constant change and volatility. Not only is building a resilient workforce more important than ever, but having the skills that open doors to meaningful, lasting employment is critical. According to the International Labor Organization, more than 200 million people are currently unemployed worldwide, including more than 70 million young people. To keep these numbers from increasing, an additional 280 million jobs must be created in the next five years.
In an effort to close this gap and increase the amount of people in jobs, we launched Skills to Succeed in 2009 to advance employment and entrepreneurship opportunities around the world. The initiative draws on two of our core capabilities: training talent and convening partnerships to achieve tangible, measurable results. Increasingly, we’re bringing together our people, clients, nonprofits and others, and also leveraging technology to accelerate our impact and drive innovative, durable solutions.
Can you give an overview of Skills to Succeed’s impact to date?
Over the past six years, we’ve worked with our nonprofit partners to equip more than 800,000 people with workplace and entrepreneurial skills. Now, we’re working towards our next goal: equipping 3 million with these skills by 2020 – which also includes an increased focus on successful transitions from skill-building programs to jobs and businesses, as well as improving our collective ability to measure and report our outcomes.
A great example is our work with Fundación Entreculturas. Over the last four years, we’ve partnered with them to develop a program that has equipped 95,000 disadvantaged youth to date across 10 Latin American countries with technical and professional skills. The program’s market-oriented focus provides a new talent pipeline that fills urgent business needs – 19,000 of these youth have landed jobs.
Skills to Succeed is focused on reaching millions and effecting global change, but behind the numbers are the individuals whose lives are transformed by gaining these skills – the true heart of the initiative. We’re honored to have the opportunity to work with these individuals, and to help them drive improved economic opportunities for themselves, their families and their communities
What is Accenture’s environmental strategy moving forward? What has been accomplished?
We’re on a constant environmental journey – climate change and environmental sustainability present challenges and opportunities for Accenture and our stakeholders. We’re committed to incorporating leading environmental practices into our business strategy and operations and to fostering environmental awareness and responsibility among our employees, clients and suppliers.
Currently, more than 80 percent of our carbon footprint consists of emissions generated from air travel for business purposes and from electricity use across our offices. Since setting our initial carbon target in fiscal 2008, we’ve reduced our per employee carbon emissions by more than 43 percent against our fiscal 2007 baseline. That’s an average of 4.0 to 2.3 metric tons of CO2 per employee, approximately 2 million metric tons in total. In other words, we’ve avoided the annual electricity usage of about 275,000 North American homes.
Our carbon reductions are a reflection of the passion and focus of our people who foster environmental awareness and make thoughtful decisions in support of our environmental strategy and performance. By the end of fiscal 2020, we aim to reduce our carbon emissions to an average of two metric tons per employee—representing a more than 50 percent reduction against our 2007 baseline—and begin to measure and report the impact of our work with clients and suppliers in key areas of sustainability.
Looking ahead, we aim to deliver for our clients in the most environmentally and economically efficient manner possible by continuing to work sustainably. To make our work less travel intensive, we’ll continue to invest in collaboration technology, focus on staffing locally where possible. By explicitly managing the need for air travel, we’ve reduced its use, even as our workforce has expanded.
What are some other big takeaways from your latest Corporate Citizenship Report?
In addition to our new Skills to Succeed and carbon reduction goals, our latest Corporate Citizenship Report, “Making a Measurable Difference,” illustrates our commitment to advancing inclusion and diversity among our people and suppliers.
By the end of fiscal 2017, we’ll grow our percentage of women new hires to at least 40 percent worldwide. Within our supply chain, we’ll develop a total of 170 small, medium and diverse suppliers through our Diverse Supplier Development Program by the end of fiscal 2016.
What’s in the future?
Moving forward, we’ll continue increasing our measurable impact in the communities in which we live and work, bringing fresh ideas to advance client sustainability, developing innovative learning approaches to help our people grow and providing workplace and entrepreneurial skills training to individuals around the world.
Our more than 336,000 women and men around the world bring the same passion and rigor to our corporate citizenship initiatives as they do to client service by convening innovative partnerships, leveraging technology and delivering measurable solutions. We’re more confident than ever of our ability to team with a wide range of partners across business, government and civil society to make an even more profound difference in the years to come. This is Accenture at its best.