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Environmental stewardship

October 2016

Managing and improving our direct environmental impact were key reasons behind the construction of our new headquarters building in Geneva.

01

In-house environmental initiatives

Pictet's headquarters in Geneva was built to minimise the building's environmental impact. Specific features of the building to achieve this goal are no PVC or polyurethane used in its construction; no halogens in its electrical systems; close to 100% of lighting from low-energy light bulbs (including 15% LEDs); one of the largest solar thermal installations in Europe (for combined solar heating and cooling) and a very high re-use of the thermal energy generated inside the building.
A steady increase in the number of video-conferences
Videoconference
Source: The Pictet group
Other initiatives at Pictet’s headquarters have allowed the following results to be achieved:
  • Gas consumption, chiefly to produce hot water in winter, has been reduced to such an extent that there is very little scope to reduce it further. Indeed, we have managed to cut our gas consumption by 92% since 2007 – from 2,722 MWh in 2007 to 210 MWh at present.
  • Since their installation in 2008, the solar thermal and photovoltaic plants have enabled us to save more than 1,800 tonnes of CO2, which is equivalent to over 600,000 litres of fuel oil. In Geneva, the heating network has been extended to include other buildings housing our offices. At the same time as reducing our consumption of fossil fuels, this system has also led to substantial savings.
  • The steady improvement of our video-conferencing and telepresence systems has resulted in a strong increase in the use of these technologies among staff. In 2015, the total number of video-conferences reached 19,325, an increase of 5% from 2014. We aim to further increase the use of video-conferencing and telepresence, in order to help reduce the amount of business travel, one of our largest contributors to CO2 emissions.
  • With regard to paper, our objective is to reduce its use and promote recycling. In 2013, multifunction printers were installed throughout the Group. To date, they have enabled us to save more than a 100 tonnes of paper, the equivalent of 120 tonnes of CO2 or 2 hectares of woodland. In 2015, we recycled up to 260 tonnes of paper. Moreover, all paper for business use comes from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified sources and is chlorine-free. 

02

Carbon footprint reduction

In 2007, we began to keep a record of the Group’s carbon emissions and set ambitious long-term reduction targets. We also decided to cut the Group’s overall emissions per employee by 40% by 2020. Although the trend in CO2 emissions does not always follow a predictable pattern from one year to the next, the reduction targets remain realistic. In absolute terms, the Group produced 10,425 tonnes of CO2 in 2015.

Even though the Group’s headcount (including those on fixed-term contracts and external consultants) has risen by 54.8% and 10 new offices have been opened since 2007, CO2 emissions per employee have decreased by 25.6% in the same period.

03

Offsetting carbon dioxide

Our overall CO2 strategy relies both on achieving efficiency gains in-house and using mechanisms to offset our remaining CO2 emissions. Since 2014, the Pictet Group has been carbon-neutral, meaning that it has a net carbon footprint of zero. This has been achieved by offsetting a total of 70,000 tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of Pictet’s emissions until 2020, by funding a range of clean energy projects.

The Pictet Group has been carbon-neutral since 2014.
These projects include the construction of small and micro hydro plants in the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Chongqing, Yunnan and Guizhou. The plants provide China’s rural and mountainous southwest with emission-free energy. With no need for retaining dams, natural waterfalls mean that differences in altitude are used to generate sustainable power.

Another project aims to install five biomass units at five cement plants in Thailand. Partial replacement of fossil fuels with less carbon-intensive energy will help to mitigate global warming and benefit local communities.

Finally, we are also funding a forest conservation project in northern Zimbabwe (a region affected by deforestation, poverty and drought), which provides opportunities for poor communities to establish sustainable livelihoods.