Our Environmental Commitments

Our ESG Commitments

Our core purpose is helping people, business and society succeed. Our purpose and values, along with our ESG agenda and robust governance, drive our day-to-day behaviour and business decisions. This is why we are addressing the key issues affecting our people, our communities, and our planet, and taking action to prioritise their future prosperity and wellbeing.

“We act on climate change because it’s the right thing to do. Our clients, colleagues and suppliers expect it and future generations deserve it.”

Andy Butterworth, Chief Operating Officer.

Our Environmental Commitments

We’re committed to achieving Net-Zero by 2050. We have had our targets validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), which has the goal of limiting global temperature rises to below 1.5 degrees celsius. 

How are we taking this further?

At the 2021 UN Climate Change conference, COP26, BDO’s Global CEO announced that BDO’s international network of member firms would become Net Zero by 2050. This supports BDO Global’s involvement in the GFANZ commitment (Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero), a global coalition of leading financial institutions committed to accelerating the decarbonisation of the economy.

In the UK, as part of our longer-term ambition to Net Zero, we are committing to halving our overall emissions by 2030. To ensure we are robust in the way we monitor progress, we have now submitted our targets to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to independently verify that we are achieving our goals to their Net-Zero Standard.

The SBTi’s science-based targets are set specifically in line to achieve the goal of limiting global warming to below 1.5°C.

STB Logo

business ambitions for 1.5C

Using the SBTi’s Net Zero Standard, we’ve committed to the following targets:

Near term targets: 

  • We will halve our absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by FY2030, against our baseline FY2020.
  • We’ll engage with our suppliers to ensure 80% of them, by emissions, have a science-based target set by FY2027.

Long-term targets: 

  • We will reduce our absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 90% by 2050 or sooner.
  • We will reduce our scope 3 GHG emissions by 97% per FTE by 2050 or sooner. 

What does the transition to Net-Zero involve?

Both a Net-Zero and carbon neutral status means there is no net increase in Greenhouse Gases being released to the environment, but the move from carbon neutral to Net-Zero requires a shift to include what's called Scope 3 emissions. Scope 3 also includes emissions from investments or those that occur in an organisation's supply chain.

To reach our targets, we will take a number of actions. These include working with our supply chain to reduce their emissions, running our offices on renewable energy, reducing unnecessary business travel, and choosing lower carbon travel options where travel is required. Our Decarbonisation Steering Committee is responsible for leading our journey to Net-Zero.

We know the road to Net-Zero will be complex and change of this scale will not happen overnight. However, with both our near-term 2030 and long-term 2050 targets in place we believe that by making achievable, realistic commitments now, we will make real impact on the environment whilst continuing to support the needs of our people and the businesses we work with.

We want our workspaces to be fit for the workforce of the future, as well as having a minimal impact on the environment. We’re measuring our energy and performance data, collecting employee insights, and following best practice guidance. Our aim is to have all our UK offices running on 100% renewable energy. 

We’re enabling our people to make carbon smart travel decisions, such as enhancing our travel policy to encourage more sustainable journeys and reduce domestic air travel, introducing an internal carbon price for air travel, and developing a partner dashboard to increase visibility of individual and team carbon footprints.

Around 90% our carbon emissions come from our scope 3 emissions – these are the indirect emissions we’re responsible for through the goods and services we purchase. It’s therefore a high impact opportunity for us to work with our suppliers to drive down emissions and stay on track to reach our target. We’re working with our highest emitting suppliers to understand their plans to decarbonise and encourage the setting of their own science-based targets. 

The UK firm’s transition to Net-Zero is being overseen by the Decarbonisation Steering Committee, chaired by BDO Finance Partner, Stuart Collins. The team brings together experts from across the business to execute the firm’s detailed transition plans, including understanding where the firm’s emissions come from, the priorities for change, setting new real estate standards, and how progress is measured. For more information on Governance, visit Legal & Regulatory - BDO.

Progress on our Environmental Commitment 

As we make progress on our transition, we continue to monitor and report on our annual carbon emissions. Our latest progress can be found in our Environmental Report.

  • Reviewed our fleet and implemented a new EV-first scheme for all employee vehicles
  • Moved half our office locations to BREEAM-rated either ‘very good’ or higher, with six offices rated excellent
  • Signed a new lease on Manchester’s Eden Building

Climate Disclosures 

As a regulated business, we provide a high level of transparency about our work and how we run our firm. You can read our latest transparency report here. 

We’ve produced our first set of climate disclosures in line with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Discloses (TCFD) which have been published in our FY23 financial accounts BDO Annual-Report 2023.

As part of our global membership of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net-Zero (GFANZ), and as a requirement under the UK LLP Act, we must report on how we expect our firm to be impacted by both the transitional and physical risks of climate change. Therefore, in our latest Annual Report we provided details on our strategies to manage climate risks and opportunities over different time horizons. 

As a result of our FY23 climate disclosure, we have convened a Climate Risk Working Group to oversee the actions we plan to take to improving how we embed climate risk into our business. 

Credentials and certifications

  • We are certified to the International Standards for Environmental Management (ISO 14001) and Energy Management (ISO 50001). These provide a foundation for us to embed environmental and energy considerations into our operations and ensure future progress.
  • We submit a return to Ecovadis, a sustainability ratings service that evaluates companies on environmental, labor, human rights, ethics and procurement impacts. This year we’ve been awarded a Silver Medal for our progress.
  • We take part in the Carbon Disclosure Project’s (CDP) annual return and are currently awarded a ‘D’ rating