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Can we pick our clients for their ecological credentials? - Printable Version

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+--- Thread: Can we pick our clients for their ecological credentials? (/showthread.php?tid=1852)



Can we pick our clients for their ecological credentials? - JacquiMachin - 07-22-2020

Hi, there was an interesting question in the chat that I thought I could kick off here,
"in your experience is the value chain a two way conversation yet - i.e. is PWC yet at the point where they will tell clients if they don't improve their ecological performance they may not be suitable clients for you to engage with?"
A great question - it is much easier for us to be able to pick our suppliers (and work with them to improve their environmental performance)! However, working with clients that have seriously negative impacts does pose a reputational risk to us, and I have seen us turn down or decide not to bid on work for this reason. We could always do more though and it's something I think about a lot - where should we draw the line - can we have more (net) positive impact in helping a bad business get better than in helping a good business stay good?
Would love to know others' thoughts on this!


RE: Can we pick our clients for their ecological credentials? - Dave Hunter - 07-22-2020

Thanks for your response, Jacqui. I think this is in many ways the million dollar question. It is all shades of grey but I think willingness to engage with the challenges it brings is half the battle, rather than saying no we will never turn business away.

You mentioned transition risk though and I think this is an element of that - over time, reputational risk from continuing to enable the footdraggers to keep doing what they do will become acute.

There is also the issue of professional advisory firms not just telling clients what they ought to do, but leading by example - potentially relevant to cutting back on the flying to international conferences and the like


RE: Can we pick our clients for their ecological credentials? - Carl@PFE - 07-22-2020

(07-22-2020, 02:08 PM)JacquiMachin Wrote: Hi, there was an interesting question in the chat that I thought I could kick off here,
"in your experience is the value chain a two way conversation yet - i.e. is PWC yet at the point where they will tell clients if they don't improve their ecological performance they may not be suitable clients for you to engage with?"
A great question - it is much easier for us to be able to pick our suppliers (and work with them to improve their environmental performance)! However, working with clients that have seriously negative impacts does pose a reputational risk to us, and I have seen us turn down or decide not to bid on work for this reason. We could always do more though and it's something I think about a lot - where should we draw the line - can we have more (net) positive impact in helping a bad business get better than in helping a good business stay good?
Would love to know others' thoughts on this!
Hi, Jacqui
at PFE we have delivered GHG Reporting and Carbon Reporting (SECR) to a large number of clients but only one's who are captured within the regulatory framework. It would be great to see more take up the option of reporting voluntarily and I would encourage people to do so. We try to educate organisations so they can deliver their own reporting as the process of data collection and analysis really helps you understand where your organisations environmental impact is. Do you think large organisations have a responsibility to drive awareness through their supply chain so people really begin to enact change?


RE: Can we pick our clients for their ecological credentials? - JacquiMachin - 07-22-2020

It's really interesting to pose this as a transition risk - I think it absolutely should be, and there is a massive role for NGOs, activists and the media to hold corporates to account for enabling the footdraggers. Individuals can underestimate their ability to impact the behaviour of big companies, but reputation is a huge concern to business leaders and can be destroyed so quickly.
We definitely try to lead by example (and not tell our clients to do things that we're not doing ourselves) - the operational parts of that (like making our buildings more efficient) have been relatively straightforward, but the behavioural parts (like telling people not to fly) are much harder! Hopefully the current situation will help everyone reassess how much flying is really necessary as that is now the large majority of our remaining carbon footprint.

(07-22-2020, 02:25 PM)Carl@PFE Wrote:
(07-22-2020, 02:08 PM)JacquiMachin Wrote: Hi, there was an interesting question in the chat that I thought I could kick off here,
"in your experience is the value chain a two way conversation yet - i.e. is PWC yet at the point where they will tell clients if they don't improve their ecological performance they may not be suitable clients for you to engage with?"
A great question - it is much easier for us to be able to pick our suppliers (and work with them to improve their environmental performance)! However, working with clients that have seriously negative impacts does pose a reputational risk to us, and I have seen us turn down or decide not to bid on work for this reason. We could always do more though and it's something I think about a lot - where should we draw the line - can we have more (net) positive impact in helping a bad business get better than in helping a good business stay good?
Would love to know others' thoughts on this!
Hi, Jacqui
at PFE we have delivered GHG Reporting and Carbon Reporting (SECR) to a large number of clients but only one's who are captured within the regulatory framework. It would be great to see more take up the option of reporting voluntarily and I would encourage people to do so. We try to educate organisations so they can deliver their own reporting as the process of data collection and analysis really helps you understand where your organisations environmental impact is. Do you think large organisations have a responsibility to drive awareness through their supply chain so people really begin to enact change?

Absolutely! Some companies are already really good at engaging with their suppliers on climate (some food companies who work with farmers on climate-smart agriculture, for example), and I hope that as more big organisations set net zero targets they will have to work much more closely with their suppliers on this.