Case Studies

PBSC member firms and organisations from across the UK are working on some of the country’s most pressing issues.

From committing to driving change on diversity and inclusion and reducing inequity, supporting levelling up and promoting PBS trade, to leading on net zero and deploying the very best of its talent to support the COVID-19 response, the sector is a major success story for the UK. Selected initiatives from across PBSC members include:

PBS firms

DIT Tech Export Academy – supported by PwC, Linklaters, Deloitte, KPMG, BDO, Taylor Wessing, EY, Grant Thornton and Clifford Chance.

PBSThe new Academy was launched in June 2020 at London Tech Week Connects by Secretary of State Liz Truss. It will see the first 2 cohorts of smart city tech firms participate in a 9 month programme that will provide a package of support to help them expand and grow their business in the Asia Pacific region.

108 companies applied for the programme across smart cities capabilities, from smart mobility and infrastructure to smart buildings and cyber security. An independent panel selected the successful companies based on the strengths of their products and services, their focus on exporting to the Asia-Pacific region and their commitment to diversity and inclusion, a key priority for DIT and the tech sector more widely. The 30 successful companies are based across all 4 nations of the UK.

The programme was supported by the following PBS firms: PwC, Linklaters, Deloitte, KPMG, BDO, Taylor Wessing, EY, Grant Thornton and Clifford Chance. These partner companies hosted bespoke sessions with the cohorts on regulatory, tax, intellectual property and legal issues in the Asia Pacific region.


COVID-19: Coordinating production of medical ventilators for the UK


Given our long-standing relationship with Rolls-Royce and close collaboration with companies involved with UK Made Smarter, Accenture was asked to oversee and support execution of the supply chain for the Smiths Group ventilators.

Just two days after being asked for assistance, Accenture started issuing new purchase orders. Within ten days, Accenture and Avanade had designed the supply chain processes, establishing protocols for the flow of information, product and payments across more than 100 organisations globally. And after five weeks, we had 100% of the parts needed to build the first batch of ventilators.

We quickly set-up a system that orchestrates the movement of all 3.4 million parts to the three different manufacturing locations where they are being assembled. With the control tower, we monitor and manage the process end-to-end, with new digital dashboards showing real-time metrics and providing visibility.

A ventilator was built in 47 days through the new additional supply chain team, and the consortium is now working at full speed to deliver the units to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) as soon as possible.



Ad Net ZeroAdvertising Association

The Advertising Association, in partnership with the IPA and ISBA, launched Ad Net Zero in November 2020 as an industry-wide initiative to help UK advertising respond to the climate crisis caused by CO2 emissions.

The launch of the initiative also saw the publication of a dedicated report about industry’s response to the Climate Emergency and how it can adapt to meet the challenges we face in protecting our environment.

Ad Net Zero’s mission is to help achieve real net zero carbon emissions from the development, production and media placement of UK advertising by the end of 2030 through implementing the practical changes in a 5-point action plan.



HS2 Interchange Station (West Midlands) 

When complete, Interchange Station will be the most environmentally sound railway station in the world (the first station to be rated BREEAM ‘Outstanding’), designed to both offer a brilliant passenger experience and meet the HS2 programme’s sustainability ambitions. Arup has designed the station to minimise embodied carbon with sustainable and low-carbon materials used throughout, with equal care taken to protect and nurture neighbouring biodiversity.

Interchange shows how a highly collaborative, multidisciplinary approach can deliver incredible design, performance and sustainable development outcomes on major national infrastructure projects. Arup’s approach to rail infrastructure combines economic analysis with the technical design and realisation of truly forward looking projects – helping government to achieve interconnected transport, economic, and environmental objectives.ARUP

In addition to being a low emission public transport and freight infrastructure solution, rail helps to connect underserved areas of the UK to new economic opportunities. Interchange Station will be Europe’s best-connected destination for business, leisure and living, bringing 1.3m people to within a 45-minute commute of the emerging commercial hub around Birmingham International Airport and NEC conference centre, known as the UK Central Hub. The new station will support and safeguard 70,000 jobs, and is projected to add £6.2bn to the economy every year.



Widening access to the tech sector by helping refugees fulfil their dreams of becoming coders in partnership with Code your Future (CYF)CAP Gemini

As a global leader in consulting, technology services and digital transformation, Capgemini is committed to making the digital revolution an opportunity for all. Reducing the digital divide for disadvantaged populations is an important component of this, and Capgemini UK has been partnering with CYF since 2018 to bring this ambition to life.

CYF is an innovative not for profit organisation that supports refugees and disadvantaged individuals in becoming developers with a free, volunteer-led course. As its first corporate partner offering end-to-end support, we announced a new Digital Academy, through which Capgemini would sponsor and facilitate an eight-month training course for 25 students in JavaScript programming, a skill in high demand.

In 2020, despite the difficulties posed by the global pandemic, Capgemini was able to run classes in both London and Birmingham by pivoting to a virtual learning model. To date, 27 graduates have joined Capgemini, with more currently interviewing for further positions and 148 students have benefitted from the classes since we started in 2018.

What’s next?

In 2021, Capgemini in the UK has reaffirmed its commitment to Code Your Future with a new three-year partnership contract offering support for a minimum of 100 students. Training will be expanded to include delivery in Manchester, alongside the existing London and Birmingham Digital Academies.



UK workers: a year in the pandemic’ research

More than one in five UK workers (23%) – the equivalent of 7.5 million – is hoping to work from home all, or almost all, of the time once lockdown restrictions have lifted according to new research from Deloitte.Deloitte

The findings, based on a survey of 1,248 UK workers across a number of industries, found that the proportion of workers hoping to base themselves from home most of the time has more than doubled in the last year. Just one in 10 (11%) did their jobs from home for all, or almost all, of the week before lockdown restrictions were first imposed.

Only 28% of workers don’t ever plan on working from home once lockdown restrictions have lifted, down from 50% who said the same in March 2020, with 42% of workers hoping to do their jobs from home twice a week or more.

Young workers slipping through the cracks exposed by the digital divide

However, Deloitte’s research highlights younger workers are struggling while working away from the office. More than half (58%) of employees aged under 35 doing their jobs from home say they are finding it ‘challenging’, up from an average of 44% for all home workers, with 37% of under-35s saying they feel ‘overwhelmed’ by the different technologies they need to use for their role.

Nearly one-third (29%) of workers aged under 35 say they don’t feel confident using technology in their role, compared to an average of 22%.



Sustainability and NextWave

EY recently announced an ambition to be carbon negative in 2021 by setting targets to significantly reduce its absolute emissions and removing and offsetting more carbon than it emits.EY

EY set out the seven key components of its plans to not only become carbon negative but to reduce total emissions by 40% – consistent with a science-based target – and achieve net zero in 2025.  Key elements of the ambition include:

  1. Reducing business travel emissions by 35% by FY25 against a FY19 baseline.
  2. Reducing overall office electricity usage and procuring 100% renewable energy for remaining EY needs, earning membership to the RE100, a group of influential organizations committed to renewable power, by FY25.
  3. Structuring electricity supply contracts, through virtual power purchase agreements (PPAs), to introduce more electricity than EY consumes into national grids.
  4. Providing EY teams with tools that enable them to calculate, then work to reduce, the amount of carbon emitted when carrying out EY client work.
  5. Using nature-based solutions and carbon-reduction technologies to remove from the atmosphere or offset more carbon than EY emits, every year.
  6. Investing in services and solutions that help EY clients profitably decarbonize their businesses and provide solutions to other sustainability challenges and opportunities.
  7. Requiring 75% of EY suppliers, by spend, to set science-based targets by no later than FY25.



Climate Vision and Pledge

Hymans Robertson’s Climate Vision and Pledge were launched in January 2021 as part of their centenary year celebrations – they’re the business’ commitment to make sustainability intrinsic to the firm and culture, and to keep it that way for the next 100 years.HymanRobertson

Our Climate Vision: A net zero carbon future Our Climate Pledge: The firm will be net zero carbon from 2021 and lifetime net zero carbon by 2025.

They will halve our 2019/20 carbon footprint of 1988 tonnes CO2 by 2025 and climate risks will be an integral part of their advice and services and how they run the firm.



Our 10 actions for change on ethnic diversity

In the wake of the tragic killing of George Floyd, the firm’s leadership began a deeper conversation with its people about improving ethnic diversity across the firm – and how it could work harder to build a supportive, respectful environment where everyone could thrive.


Despite working for some time to further diversify the make-up of the firm, those conversations made it clear that more had to be done.

The firm has unveiled 10 Actions for Change – a framework and measure of accountability for every region in its global network to address meaningful change appropriate for its people and its communities.

Herbert Smith Freehills’ Regional Executives are responsible for ensuring these new commitments are acted upon across the firm’s 27 offices. Each Action is backed by a plan and interpreted locally and regionally to reflect local challenges, cultures and legal nuances.



Carbon NeutralityICAEW

As a long-term champion of sustainability issues, ICAEW is the first major professional body to go carbon neutral. In summer 2020, ICAEW’s Board endorsed a plan to become carbon neutral, which also included a 10-year commitment to continue to cut internal carbon emissions.

The decision to go carbon neutral aligns with UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13, Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

ICAEW has increasingly placed the UN SDGs at the heart of its strategy and actively encourages its members to do the same in their businesses. In addition, it has disclosed its carbon emissions through both the charity CDP and participates in the government Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS).

ICAEW is a supporter of the Financial Stability Board Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures and hosts the Capitals Coalition.



Changing the Face of Property (CTFOP)

Knight Frank’s Diversity and Inclusion journey began in 2012 when as founding members of Changing the Face of Property (CTFOP) they came together to change the face of property to a more diverse make up that would give a far better cognitive diversity to the profession. KnightFrank

This also aimed to make our businesses more profitable and better places to work through attracting more diverse talent and clients.

From setting objectives as a part of CTFOP including partnerships with state schools, commitment to recruiting state educated apprentices, becoming a leading exhibitor at Skills London at the Excel Centre each year, to holding an event for all the CEOs/Chairmen/Senior Partners of the CFTOP member firms, the shift in diversity in early careers recruitment has been significant.

For our graduate recruits in 2021 we achieved the following:

  • 35% BAME – against our target of 20%
  • 50% state educated – against our target of 50%
  • 50% non-cognate – against our target of 50%
  • 50% female – against our target of 50%



Charlotte Street SchemeMakeArchitects

Structural honesty and sustainability was at the forefront of design at Make’s new Charlotte Street scheme for Derwent London.

Make Architects recently completed Derwent London’s largest-ever project, a mixed-use scheme combining reuse and new build to provide 321,000ft2 of office space and 45,000ft2 of residential accommodation including social housing.

Located at 80 Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia, the project is inherently urban in its integration of the city and street context, both in its massing and composition. The inclusion of a small new public garden and retail add to this civic quality.



MCA (Management Consulting Association) Women in consulting

One of the key areas of the MCA focus is promoting women in consulting, championing inspirational stories, sharing ideas and working to encourage women in the sector, to increase progression at senior levels in the industry.MCA

The MCA Women in Consulting Working Group meet regularly to discuss important topics within this agenda. This includes barriers and opportunities for Women in Consulting, whether all firms should adopt targets and which best practices such as job share, sponsorship and role models work well. As well as highlighting the brilliant careers and stories in the industry to inspire more women to join and become leaders, the topic of the future of work and whether the impact of COVID-19 was a negative or positive to women has also been covered.

The MCA Annual Report 2020 found that across the MCA membership, 49% of consultants are women and 51% are men, in comparison to the 2018 figures which stated that 40% of consultants were women and 57% were men (the remaining 3% classed themselves as ‘other’).

This is a significant improvement and shows the industry is achieving real change at the entry level.  However, there is still work to be done with senior representation – the MCA Annual report also found that only 21% of partner-level consultants are women however smaller firms are making more progress where a third of partners (33%) are female.



Diversity, Equality and Inclusion

Russell Reynolds Associates promotes diversity, equality and inclusion in its business and in the work it does for clients in the United Kingdom and around the world.

As one of the world’s leading global executive search and leadership advisory firms, Russell Reynolds champions the promotion and recruitment of diverse leaders throughout the upper levels of businesses, government, and the nonprofit sector.RussellReynolds

In 2020, 47% of FTSE 350 board appointments supported by Russell Reynolds Associates resulted in the appointment of a woman. This is in addition to five of the 20 women who were appointed board chairs, and two of the five women named CEO.

The goal for Russell Reynolds is that diversity and inclusion go beyond hitting metrics.



Sustainability – Policy Performance Bonds

Policy performance bonds are a simple, and somewhat subversive, idea introduced by Z/Yen in 2005 as part of discussions during the formation of the London Accord. They started being adopted for corporate bonds in 2017, also known as performance incentive bonds or policy performance bonds due to some informal sponsorship of the idea by the French government by the Prime Minister’s think-tank during COP21 in 2015. This bond sector has been growing rapidly to become a significant portion of the wider ‘green bond’ market, and spreading outside Europe. ZYen

The original idea was equally directed at governments, and these bonds may yet be used to encourage governments to deliver on their policies, particularly climate change. In the case of carbon emissions reduction targets, for example, a policy performance bond (also termed an index-linked carbon bond) is a government issued bond where, in its simplest form, interest payments are linked to the actual greenhouse gas emissions of the issuing country against published targets. An investor in this bond receives an excess return if the issuing country’s emissions are above the government’s published target.

A policy performance bond thus provides a hedge against the issuing country’s government, or a corporate organisation, not delivering on its commitments or targets. Policy performance bonds can be issued against carbon emissions reduction targets but also forest preservation targets and any other area where policy risk is significant.