Our three-step approach to achieving net zero

| minute read

by Avinash Lunj, UK Head of Climate and Environmental Sustainability

At Sopra Steria we believe that our services only truly make a difference if they work for people, the planet and if they serve a greater purpose. We recognise the global challenges we all face with climate change, and we’re committed to ensuring our organisation plays an active part in making the world a better place to live in. Through collaboration across our business, we’re empowering our people to prioritise the environment, and utilise their skills and talent to deliver sustainable solutions that benefit the planet.

In 2023, our near and long-term targets for reaching net zero were approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a partnership between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature. The targets were marked against the criteria of the SBTi Net-Zero Standard, which has commonly become adopted by organisations as best practice for setting net zero targets. This is a significant milestone for us, and we’re committed to working towards our target of net zero by 2040.

To get there, we’re adopting a three-stage approach. We call it the ‘three Rs’ to tackling climate change:

  1. Reduce consumption of energy, particularly energy from fossil fuels
  2. Replace fossil fuels as a source of energy with renewable sources
  3. Remove unavoidable emissions from the atmosphere.

Reducing our energy consumption

Our recent Energy Savings Campaign invited our people to share tips on how to keep their energy bills down and reduce their emissions at home. This has helped us to create behaviour changes which benefit everyone.

We’ve established an Energy Efficiency Working Group, with representation from across our organisation – including our Environment, Property & Facilities and I.T. teams – to look at energy efficiency initiatives and investment in measures to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. The working group is exploring options across all our offices to develop a holistic programme that helps to reduce energy emissions and limit the impact of rising prices.

We’ve also reduced our energy consumption by replacing older lighting at over half of our UK offices with energy and cost-efficient LED lights. And in 2022 we closed some of our offices over the Christmas period to minimise our environmental footprint at a time of minimal usage. We've installed electricity sensors at some of our biggest offices to monitor in real time our usage hotspots and take appropriate action.

These initiatives have helped us to half our building energy use in the last eight years.

However, we know there’s so much more to reducing energy consumption than what we use in our offices. As a tech leader we recognise that we also have a responsibility to manage the growth in demand for digital services, in a sustainable way.

  1. In 2022, we reused or recycled 99.5% of our electronic waste as it requires a lot more energy to manufacture a laptop than it does to continually use it.

    Manufacturing a laptop requires around 1MWh of energy, however it will only consume 80kWh of electricity if used for eight hours a day for 200 days (around six and a half months).
  2. We’re working closely with our supply chain to ensure that 90% of our suppliers- accounting for 70% of supply chain emissions, have set GHG emission reduction targets by 2025.
  3. Producing printing paper drives deforestation, so we use closed-loop paper made from recycled fibre. This avoids the emissions associated with the manufacture of paper from virgin fibre, using 83% less water, 72% less energy, and 53% less CO2 based on 500 sheets of A4 paper.
  4. In the UK we are introducing a Sustainable Procurement programme with a new calculation for emissions related to goods and services spending. This was developed to overcome the challenges created by the traditional calculation of emissions using supplier spending data. Our new methodology will:
    1. improve the accuracy of reported data
    2. provide greater opportunities for engagement and collaboration with suppliers
    3. allow the positive environmental impacts from innovation, across our value chain, to be reflected in a trajectory of declining emissions

We will test this new approach with a select group of UK suppliers by the end of 2023 before extending this out across the rest of the supply chain.

Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy

It is well known that switching from fossil fuels to renewable electricity is a key way of reducing emissions. 100% of the electricity that our organisation consumes in the UK comes from renewable sources. This means we have the ability to reduce our Scope 2 market-based emissions to zero as Scope 2 emissions are the indirect emissions associated with the purchase of energy.

Cloud is our default platform for solutions, as a cloud-based data centre uses as little as a tenth the resource – computing power and energy – as dedicated data centre uses.

To contribute to the reduction of vehicle emissions, our new car allowance scheme has eliminated petrol and diesel vehicles from selection. Only battery-electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are now available as part of this employee benefit.


Currently, it’s extremely difficult to completely avoid emissions from all sources – particularly those outside of our control, such as our supply chain and employee commuting. To mitigate this, we purchase carbon removal offsets to fund projects – typically afforestation – that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This is a part of our goal of reducing our emissions to net zero by 2040.

Technology solutions are developing all the time, and we are committed to adopting new ways of accelerating our progress to net zero, and to helping our clients do the same.

Read more about social value and sustainability here.

Meet our Environment and Sustainability team

Read more about why employee engagement is a cornerstone to a sustainable future

Read more about integrating digital technologies to deliver environmental benefits through Smart Mobility Solutions






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