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How Kainos is cutting travel-associated emissions

The digital transformation company is prompting employee behaviour change with emissions data 


Kainos’ mission has remained the same for over three decades: use the latest technology to make the world a better place. The company has long been a trusted partner for both private and public sector organisations solving real world challenges, including recently working with the UK government on a complete overhaul of the passport application experience.

Kainos’ early work on climate was driven by employees who were keen on action, and customers and partners who wanted to know more about Kainos' social values.

The company has been carbon neutral since 2021 and is making good progress towards its 2025 near term zero emissions target.

Challenge: A 400% increase in travel emissions

In its sprint towards net zero, Kainos closely examines all emissions for reduction potential. The company started working with Watershed in 2021 and developed a cadence of measuring and reviewing climate progress every 6 months.

As the COVID-19 pandemic passed and business travel picked back up in 2023, the team saw a 400% jump in emissions associated with travel compared to 2021. Bringing this emissions number down would be complex and required more frequent emissions data to set guidance and regularly evaluate success. Environmental Sustainability Lead Sarah McGeough said, “We could not wait six months to get the data required to bring about change."

A big part of my job is creating awareness about how everybody can contribute to our climate action targets and reduction initiatives. Data is key to that.

Sarah McGeough,
Environmental Sustainability Lead

Solution: Monthly review of travel-associated emissions

Kainos uses Watershed to create a complete footprint of its corporate travel in less than an hour so the team can drive needed business changes. Some key tools that make this possible include:

  • Flexible data ingestion: “Previously, our travel measurement required manual editing and organisation of data. Now, we can go from raw data to emissions data much faster.” - Maryanne Bannon, Travel Manager
  • Easy collaboration: “I am not a mathematician, so Watershed has been a lifesaver when it comes to dealing with masses of information. All I needed to do was ask several team members to enter data and—with minimal training—there it was.” -Sarah McGeough
  • In-product guidance and support: “Watershed is very simple to navigate, and the team helps address any questions quickly through the chat box.” -Maryanne Bannon

As a business we need to be able to review our financial data associated with travel monthly. We think the same should be true for emissions data.

Sarah McGeough,
Environmental Sustainability Lead

Results: Develop clear guidance to prompt emissions reductions

The time savings with Watershed has been unreal.

Sarah McGeough,
Environmental Sustainability Lead

With a more regular glimpse into its carbon footprint, Kainos’ team was able to:

  • Share both high level trends and granular data with employees. “Watershed was a real game changer in my ability to answer questions that I otherwise couldn’t: ‘Why are our emissions going up? How can we act to reduce them?’ I meet with the operational owners of all of our business units monthly, and we are guided by real data.” -Maryanne Bannon
  • Design and track the effectiveness of “Think Green" Travel Principles: “We want people to keep travelling as needed, but through our principles we are trying to get travellers to think differently before they put in a request. For instance, can they combine multiple meetings into one trip? We are excited to show our employees how their decisions are directly recognized within the footprint.” -Maryanne Bannon
  • Confidently report externally to investors and CDP: “I'm inundated with reporting requests from investors, CDP, and more. With Watershed we always have the information we need at our fingertips, versus having to spend time looking.” -Sarah McGeough

Watershed helps me quickly answer what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and what progress we’ve made. I feel confident we are ahead of the curve.

Sarah McGeough,
Environmental Sustainability Lead