Updates for management advice
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Boston Consulting Group will no longer fly potential graduates across Europe to be eaten and drunk on international travel, highlighting the trend of companies seeking to reduce their carbon footprint.
High-achieving graduates who were offered contracts to join the consultancy’s London office have traditionally been invited to all paid weekends away to European destinations such as Florence and Lisbon.
The US-based group, which has offices in more than 90 cities around the world, competes fiercely for recruits with the other leading consulting firms such as McKinsey and Bain & Company.
The tours included sightseeing and wine tasting in vineyards and were also attended by experienced BCG consultants, who were tasked with convincing students to join the group as advisors to some of the world’s largest companies such as Starbucks, Shell and GlaxoSmithKline .
But future events will now be held domestically or at international locations accessible by train, as the group aims to reduce its carbon footprint.
The change comes as many companies make net zero climate promises and, after the shift to remote work, established video calling as a viable alternative to many business trips.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also accelerated BCG’s efforts to reduce travel distances for internal events such as training in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint and save travel time, said Mai-Britt Poulsen, BCG’s managing partner for the UK. Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium.
“We are committed to reducing our carbon emissions by 50 percent per student by 2025,” she said. “In London, this means graduates would take the Eurostar to Paris for training.” In the past, graduates may have flown.
A senior partner at another major consulting firm said its annual two-week residential bootcamp for new hires would go online in part in the future as the pandemic had shown that parts of the program could be run remotely.
The event, which the consultant said had a ‘work hard play hard’ atmosphere, was also a social occasion and a way to educate new consultants on the basic skills required for their role.
Consultants at several companies said many national or European partner and board meetings, as well as internal training sessions, would go online or be held as hybrid events after the pandemic.
Pressure from advisory groups to reduce their carbon footprint has also increased pressure for some employees to avoid business class, which is more carbon intensive, one of the consultants said.
Business travel is responsible for more than 75 percent of the carbon emissions of many professional services companies, prompting groups such as BCG, KPMG and Deloitte to use online tools that show employees the carbon impact of their travel plans before they book.
BCG has also banned its consultants from taking flights from Paris to Nice, while staff at KPMG’s London office must take the train for travel to Leeds, Manchester, Paris or Brussels.
“Once Covid-19-related travel restrictions are lifted, we will ask our people to think more carefully about how much to fly,” said Carmine Di Sibio, global chair and chief executive of accountant EY.
“For example: could you do the meeting online? Could you take a longer trip instead of two shorter ones? Can you fly a shorter route to your destination? Are there alternatives with lower CO2 emissions that you could use, such as a train?”
Kevin Ellis, senior partner and chairman of PwC UK, said he expected business travel by his company to decrease by about two-thirds compared to pre-pandemic levels.