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.
Direct air capture
The commitment to remove direct residual emissions from the atmosphere is paramount. Projects can be nature- or technology-based to capture emissions over the long term. 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 these 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 a given year comes from renewable sources that same year. 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.
Addressing refrigerant gases
Refrigerant gases have a strong greenhouse effect. When we include this source of emissions in our carbon footprint, we discovered significant leaks in the commercial refrigeration circuit used for our restaurants in Geneva.
Plugging these leaks has led to significant reduction , and there are ongoing efforts to prevent recurrence as part of a continual improvement plan. The switch to less potent gases wherever possible is also contributing to reducing the footprint.
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:
- 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 2021
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. Biochar is a stable solid that is rich in carbon and can endure in the soil for hundreds if not thousands of years. Unlike conventional fertilisers and conditioners, biochar offers lasting benefits by increasing fertility, contributing to water retention and improving the overall porosity of the soil. 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 has been removed for 2021 is 2,500 tCO2, i.e. ~60% of the emissions for our operations.
Coastal ecosystems are being cleared and degraded three times faster than forests. When this happens, these ecosystems turn from vital carbon sinks into major producers of GHG emissions. We have selected a Verra-certified coastal restoration project in Guinea-Bissau. Guinea-Bissau, a tropical country on West Africa’s Atlantic coast harbors a rich variety of ecosystems and wildlife, including vast areas of mangroves and terrestrial forests that serve as precious carbon sinks. As the first REDD+project of its kind in the country, this project aims to protect the country’s unique ecosystems while simultaneously reducing GHGs and contributing towards sustainable development in the region. Alleviating poverty within the country is a key goal, with the project aiming to create sustainable jobs that benefit both the Guinean people and their natural environment.
The project has been funded to cope with half of the emissions of our value-chain in 2021, i.e. ~4,350 tCO2.
Forests are natural carbon sinks that must be protected and enhanced. The project with have selected is in the Gulf of Mexico and works with the local communities for the improved forest management, reforestation, protection and conservation of 51,175 hectares of tropical rainforest. The project promotes the economic development of the local communities by generating alternative sources of income, which includes 1074 people, all of which are of Mayan decency. This project has been funded to cope with the other half of the emissions of our value-chain, i.e. ~4,350 tCO2.
This Improve Forest Management of Tropical Rainforest project in Mexico is Climate Action Reserve certified.