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Pearson - Carbon Trust Standard for Carbon

Pearson plc achieves global certification to the Carbon Trust Standard for Carbon

Pearson - our impact on society

Pearson is the world’s largest learning company with 48,000 employees in more than 70 countries. The company has a strong record of taking action on climate change and was the first global media company to commit to becoming carbon neutral, achieving this every year since 2009.

An Executive Environment Committee, chaired by Pearson’s Chief Financial Officer, has identified three priority areas to help the company address the impact it has on climate change:

  • Measurement of the carbon footprint of buildings and business travel.
  • Reduction of emissions through energy efficiency, renewable energy, and adopting alternatives to business travel.
  • Offsetting emissions through a range of projects.


Pearson first achieved certification to the Carbon Trust Standard for Carbon for its UK operations in January 2010, independently verifying that the company had measured, managed and reduced its emissions. When looking into recertification following the initial two year period the business decided to expand the boundaries of the certification to include all global operations.

The major challenge for Pearson in collecting the data needed to achieve a global certification was a large property footprint, some 2,000 sites in 70 countries, with many of these being relatively small. The company was able to show an absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 7.7% across the certification period - more than 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Putting in place the processes for collecting the data needed to achieve a global certification took around 18 months, and allowed Pearson to get insight into energy data from its smallest buildings, something that was never previously done. It also left the company in a very strong position for complying with the introduction of legislation in October 2013 requiring mandatory greenhouse gas reporting for UK listed companies, detailing global operations.

The Carbon Trust Standard helped to provide a framework for setting a clear and stretching goal with the end point of achieving independently validated certification. Our aim was to use the goal to engage our businesses, finance function and facilities managers. The company now understands the need and value in timely reporting of carbon related data. By being awarded the Carbon Trust Standard globally we can prove to our investors, customers and staff that we are taking real action on climate change all around the world.

Peter Hughes, Head of Corporate Responsibility, Pearson

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