More ambition, more rewards: Kainos’s climate story

Construction worker looking at windmills

Kainos’s approach is simple: find the best people, give them everything they need to grow, then harness their talent to design and build solutions that help clients deliver much better digital experiences. A trusted partner for public sector organisations like the UK government and the NHS, as well as for brands like Netflix and John Lewis, their mission has remained the same for over three decades: use the latest technology to make the world a better place.

Kainos’s early work on climate was driven by the usual forces: employees were keen on action, and customers and investors had begun asking about emissions plans. But in 2021, internal discussions elevated the importance of positive climate action as an essential responsibility—setting Kainos off on one of the most aggressive corporate climate programs in the UK.

Early days

Before they decided to go all-in, they’d taken the typical first steps: measuring their direct emissions (including business travel) with a consultancy, offsetting those emissions, and initiating their first partial CDP report.

But these steps still left them with key gaps:

They also weren’t happy with just offsetting, and wanted to set an ambitious reduction plan that represented their fair share of keeping global temperatures inside the +1.5° C safe zone.

Determined to take their climate program to the next level, they reached out to Watershed.

Compounding advantages

“Within 6 months, Watershed measured two years of our carbon footprint, supported our submission to SBTi, and helped us create a reduction plan that will get us to net zero.”

Martin Corbett, Net Zero Strategy Lead

As a bidder on UK government contracts, Kainos is subject to vendor requirements. And sometimes new requirements can come with little lead time. In 2021, they were asked to provide a full carbon reduction plan with a pathway to net zero emissions—in just sixty days.

For other vendors who let those requirements dictate their climate action, this was likely a difficult scramble. But thanks to their work with Watershed, Kainos already had an ambitious net zero plan in hand—one with concrete plans for real, aggressive reductions:

And thanks to their new data insights, their reduction plan has now passed the first screening phase with the Science Based Targets initiative—the strongest validation body in the industry.

The last mile(s)

While their ambition has come with unexpected benefits—from opportunities to collaborate with other forward-thinking companies to being able to breezily comply with new regulatory and disclosure requirements—the hardest work still lies ahead:

Within these challenges are also rich opportunities: Kainos’s top 10 vendors account for half their emissions. Getting even a few of them to adopt a net zero plan will lead to massive reductions, not just to Kainos’s footprint, but for every other company using those vendors!

If your company is interested in following suit, please get in touch.

Stay up to date

Get the latest from Watershed, from policy updates to in-depth climate guides.


collage with smokestack

SDR disclosures: a guide for UK asset managers

Two images side by side - box ready to ship and swirling water. Conveys climate risk for business and SEC and CSRD regulations. Text: Guide

Why companies need to understand their climate risks

collage: ocean wave with pollution

The CSRD: A guide for companies

Customer stories

coyuchi product

How Coyuchi gets product-level carbon insights from Watershed

houses next to solar panels

How Aon automated its carbon footprint measurement with Watershed

kroll and watershed and cdp logos

Kroll on using Watershed to save time reporting to CDP

Watershed HQ

vitalmetrics logo + watershed logo

Watershed acquires VitalMetrics

sun coming up over the ocean - ocean mineralization

How Watershed vets carbon removal suppliers in our Marketplace

Steve Davis, Head of Climate Science at Watershed

Welcoming Steve Davis to lead climate science


Illustration of coins in a field

Breaking down the SEC’s ESG fund-labeling proposals

headshot of mark carney text SEC proposal Q & A

FAQ on the SEC’s climate disclosures proposal

Two images side by side - box ready to ship and swirling water. Conveys climate risk for business and SEC and CSRD regulations. Text: Guide

Why companies need to understand their climate risks


watershed and latham and watkins law firm logos next to an image of the SEC

Betty M. Huber of Latham & Watkins on how to prepare for mandatory climate disclosure

ropes and grey logo with the California flag, watershed logo and text: Guide

Michael Littenberg of Ropes & Gray on California’s SB 253 and 261

EU Flag plus Covington logo

Covington weighs in on the EU’s Proposed Green Claims Directive