Goals and projects to reduce our carbon emissions

By 2030, Pictet aims to cut its direct greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared with 2019 levels, with residual emissions mitigated through an approach that includes removing carbon from the atmosphere.

Our goals to reduce carbon emissions

The objective of a 55% reduction by 2030 compared with 2019 levels is both a significant and absolute objective, and has been approved by the SBTi. Pictet will continue to offset its emissions but will take a more impactful approach:

For direct1 emissions, we have shifted to financing projects that remove emissions from the atmosphere and aim to increase our allocation to these projects to 100 percent by 2025 and onwards.

For indirect2 emissions, Pictet has deployed a diversified removal-sequestration approach, influenced by leading thinking on offsetting projects.

Two types of project to address unabated emissions
 Projects    Nature-based examples  Technology-based examples       
Coastal restoration
  Bioenergy crops
Direct air capture

The commitment to remove direct residual emissions from the atmosphere is paramount. Projects can be nature- or technology-based to reduce or avoid emissions (standard projects), capture them over the long term (advanced projects) or remove them (leading projects). Most financial institutions offset their emissions by funding standard reduction or avoidance projects. Overall, however, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere does not decrease. Reducing the emissions from our operations to zero is therefore a serious step forward on the path to carbon neutrality. By financing all project types, Pictet acknowledges that there is no silver bullet, that our multi-offset approach for indirect emissions is leading edge and that every type of project is worth supporting.

1 – Direct emissions for running offices and indirect emissions for the purchase of electricity, i.e. scope 1 and scope 2.

2 – Emissions for business travel, non-energy consumption and others, i.e. scope 3 upstream. Excludes investments (scope 3 downstream) that are being considered separately to align with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) recommendations to achieve net-zero for the financial sector.

How reduction will be achieved

Decarbonising our electricity purchases

Wherever possible, we opt for green electricity supply. However, at many of the offices that we rent, this is not always feasible, either because we share a building or because the offer does not exist in a given city/country. The result is that half the carbon emissions for our operations stem from the purchase of our electricity.

The way to decarbonise our electricity is to purchase Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs), which document that the energy we consume comes from renewable sources. These are known as Guarantees of Origin in Europe, RECs in North America and I-RECs in a growing number of countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

Fixing and preventing refrigerant leaks

Refrigerant gases have a strong greenhouse effect. When we included this source of emissions in our carbon footprint, we discovered significant leaks in the commercial refrigeration circuit used for our restaurants in Geneva.

Research into plugging these leaks has already begun, and there are ongoing efforts to prevent recurrence as part of a continual improvement plan.

Multi-offset approach

We are committed to removing 100% of our direct residual emissions from the atmosphere and adopting a multi-offset approach to cope with the scope of our indirect emissions. The rationale for the multi-offset approach is that there is no single solution to fight climate change — only a mix of solutions will do.

Our multi-offset approach ties in with this recommendation, with our financing of the following types of project:

  • Standard projects – which involve avoidance and reduction of emissions. The goal here is to contribute to decarbonising vital activities, mainly in the least developed countries.
  • Advanced projects – which entail emission sequestration thanks to natural processes. The aim of such projects is to enhance and broaden natural carbon sinks, mainly through afforestation and stewardship of ocean ecosystems.
  • Leading projects – which consist of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) using chemical processes. The target is to achieve “net negative emissions”, i.e. to remove more CO2 from the atmosphere than is emitted.

Strategy for offsetting our emissions

Our strategy is twofold: financing carbon removal projects to remove the emissions from our operations from the atmosphere, and implementing a multi-offset approach for our value chain to prevent, sequester and remove these emissions. To do this, we support and fund projects run by internationally recognised suppliers with solid references. These are high-quality projects and subject to extensive certification regarding the quantity of emissions processed.

Selected projects to deal with all our emissions for 2020

Carbon removal

The removal of carbon from the atmosphere for long-term storage is achieved by modern technological means. These technologies are currently in the early stages of development, such as Direct Air Carbon Capture & Storage (DACCS) or Bio-Energy Carbon Capture & Storage (BECCS). The cost of removing a tonne of carbon is extremely high (10 to 50 times higher than emission-avoidance projects), and the amounts that can be removed from the atmosphere are currently marginal.

However, by financing technology projects, Pictet wishes to contribute to the development of these solutions, which are essential to achieving the 2050 carbon-neutrality objective.

We have selected biochar as the carbon removal technology. The biochar industry as a whole has an estimated removal potential of up to 2 GtCO2 annually (anthropic emissions total 40 to 50 GtCO2). The quantity that needs to be removed for 2020 is 2,000 tCO2, i.e. ~50% of the emissions for our operations.

European Biochar Certification

Carbon sequestration

Carbon sequestration projects use natural means to conserve carbon in the biosphere, namely reforestation and afforestation or soil, mangrove or peatland restoration projects.

Sequestration projects need to be supported as they seek to strengthen and increase natural carbon sinks. It is estimated that 30% of anthropogenic emissions could be sequestered.

We have selected the TIST Programme project in Uganda, delivered by SouthPole. It involves empowering subsistence farmers to combat deforestation, poverty and drought. For 2020, our contribution to this programme allowed us to sequester 8,000 tCO2.

TIST Programme

Carbon emissions avoidance

Emission-avoidance or emission-reduction projects can be carried out by natural or technological means. Natural means aim to limit the destruction of existing natural areas and often have many co-benefits. Meanwhile, the usual technological means seek to reduce emissions by adapting and improving industrial or domestic processes (e.g. community cooking stoves and agricultural methane). But new technological solutions are also emerging, such as green hydrogen, sustainable aviation fuels or green cement.

We have selected a natural-based solution project for coastal conservation in Guatemala, delivered by ClimateSeed (a social business company launched by BNPP that provides an online platform). By contributing to this project, we can mitigate the rest of our emissions for 2020, i.e. 2,240 tCO2.

The Guatemalan Conservation Coast Project

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