Our profession can play a significant leadership role in helping organisations become more responsible and sustainable. Learn more about what we’re doing to become more sustainable ourselves, and how we’re helping our profession take the lead in their own organisations. 


"The people profession should be at the forefront of shaping the business response to environmental, social and governance goals." 

Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, CBE, President of the CIPD

Growing our community sustainably 

We believe that by increasing our reach and influence, we can have a greater positive impact on individuals, organisations, communities and wider society. But we’re determined to do this in a sustainable way.  

We’re committed to improving sustainability in all the ways we work – as an organisation and employer, as a business partner and customer, and as the leader of our professional community. Our commitment to environmental sustainability is shared by our community: 88% of our members have told us it’s important for the CIPD to be sustainable. We have a huge opportunity to harness our community’s insights, positioning our profession as the leader in responsible and sustainable business practices as we support the global ambition to reach net zero by 2050. 

We’re part of the United Nations Global Compact and we're guided by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people, our societies and our planet. Our strategy and operations aim to make the most significant contribution to ten of the SDGs. These form our framework for auditing and tracking our progress on sustainability:

  • SDG 1: No poverty. We promote quality jobs in businesses and enable access to work through our mentoring programmes.  
  • SDG 3: Good health and wellbeing. We provide wellbeing support to our staff and members. And we influence the wider business wellbeing agenda.  
  • SDG 4: Quality education. We provide inclusive qualifications for people professionals. And we influence the wider skills agenda in the UK.  
  • SDG 5: Gender equality. We’re committed to achieving gender equality in the CIPD and across the people profession. And we provide resources and learning to promote gender equality.  
  • SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth. Our research and resources shape the policy agenda around good work and influence wider business practices.  
  • SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure. We develop the skills of people professionals to drive change in their organisations through behaviour, culture and capability development.  
  • SDG 10: Reduced inequalities. We ensure the CIPD is a fair place to work. And we support the people profession, across the globe, to enable inclusive, diverse organisations.  
  • SDG 13: Climate action. We adopt environmentally sustainable business practices and support the people profession to influence change.  
  • SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions. We promote high standards of integrity among people professionals. And we contribute to research and the policy agenda on good governance. 

Our actions as an organisation 

We’ve shared our environmental policy and commitment with our people and with their ideas and enthusiasm, we’ve made great progress. 

Improving the sustainability of our offices  

  • We continue to measure and reduce our carbon footprint, emissions and resource usage.  
  • We trialled the closure of our London head office building on Fridays, introducing permanent Friday remote working in May 2023; electricity and gas usage decreased by 15%, but the use of our offices by more people overall has increased our water usage. 
  • We’ve cut our combined scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 19% since 2020/21, but we’re now measuring more factors which means our overall emissions have increased. 

Working in partnership 

  • We’re working with our partners and suppliers to secure their commitment to environmentally sustainable practices and to improve the sustainability of our events and publications.  
  • We now print People Management magazine quarterly, rather than eight times a year.  
  • We also switched from physical membership cards to an online service, saving 1.5 tonnes of paper per year. 

Investors in the Environment silver accreditation 

Thanks in no small part to an employee suggestion to close our head office on Fridays, we’ve reduced our scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions and impressed the Investors in the Environment auditors with our robust sustainability strategy and environmental management system. With silver accreditation now firmly under our belt, we’re working towards achieving green accreditation – the highest accolade.  

Our carbon footprint 

We’ve cut our combined scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 19% since 2020/21, but we’re now measuring more factors which means our overall emissions have increased.

UK HEAD OFFICE 2020/21 baseline 2021/22 2022/23 % change Target change for 2022/23
Total carbon emissions (tCO2e) 279 296 541 83% increase n/a
Scope 1 and 2 279 296 240 19% decrease 2% decrease
Scope 1 124 142 121 15% decrease 2% decrease
Scope 2 154 154 119 23% decrease 2% decrease
Scope 3 0.13 0.09 300 333,333% increase n/a
Electricity (kWh) 662,000 724,000 617,000 15% decrease 2% decrease
Gas (M3) 61,000 70,000 60,000 15% decrease 2% decrease
Water (M3) 375 621 1,024 65% increase 100% inc. max

Our actions as a profession 

People professionals must take the lead in building responsible and sustainable organisations. We continue to support our members in the practical steps they can take, whatever the size or sector of their organisations, including: 

  • Promoting the role of people professionals in driving environmental sustainability through the new environmental sustainability standard within our Profession Map.   
  • Integrating environmental sustainability into our learning programmes.  
  • Holding environmental, social and governance (ESG) sessions at  events including our flagship Annual Conference and Exhibition, Festival of Work and our annual conference in Scotland.  
  • Maintaining our membership of Climate Action for Associations to share experience, tools and resources with other member organisations.  
  • Publishing guides, thought pieces and case studies to share insights and good practice.  

Get started on your net zero journey with our guide. 

Our future plans 

We’ll continue to use our voice and platforms to highlight environmental sustainability and to develop resources that equip our professional community in their leadership role on this key issue.  

In support of our iiE accreditation, we’re exploring ways to further reduce the impact of our business travel. In September 2023, we held our first conservation team-building day in the UK. Colleagues from across the organisation came together to cut back invasive scrubs and saplings on Wimbledon and Putney commons, helping to promote biodiversity. We're planning more conservation days in the future.  

Explore the practical steps you can take, whatever the size, industry or sector of your organisation.

Read our sustainability guide

Shape your organisation’s sustainable practices

At the centre of your organisation, you have the connections and insights to help shift cultures, ways of working and behaviours to promote greater. Read about the steps you can take in our guide. Listen to our podcast to appreciate the business case. And explore our Profession Map to understand how you can help your organisation grow responsibly and sustainably.


The business case for environmental sustainability

Episode 174: Understanding the impact that your business and working practices are having on the environment is a vital first step in your sustainability journey. But how can organisations and people professionals embed environmental sustainability into the core of their business?

Profession Map – business acumen standards

Understanding your organisation, the commercial context and the wider world of work

Learn more about our commitment to sustainable growth

We are growing and broadening our professional community, because our organisations, economies and societies need many more champions for better work and working lives. Our governance arrangements ensure that we do this responsibly and sustainably. Read about our approach to corporate responsibility, our purpose and impact, our work this year, and the expertise and commitment of our people.

Our leadership and governance

How our structure, governance and leadership keep our charitable and business activities responsible, accountable, sustainable and transparent

Our purpose and impact

Better work and working lives for all

Our annual report

Growing our reach, growing our impact

Working with us

Our success relies on the expertise and commitment of a wide range of staff, volunteers and associates