Case Snapshot: Proving the Business Value of Sustainability


Celebrating Five Years as a CarbonNeutral® Company

By: Steven Tallman

Today, on behalf of Bain’s global Green Teams and in honor of World Environment Day on Sunday, we celebrate Bain’s fifth year as a 100% CarbonNeutral® company. The designation applies to all of our global operations—every flight, train and taxi Bainies take to visit clients, and every kilowatt-hour of energy required to keep the lights on across Bain’s 53 offices.

Achieving CarbonNeutral® certification is no small feat, and it’s an accomplishment few companies can claim. With the help of our global Green Teams, we’ve aggressively pursued local initiatives that minimize our carbon footprint, including recycling, reducing paper usage and conserving electricity. These efforts complement firmwide initiatives like server consolidation, increased teleconferencing and green power purchasing. We then offset the unavoidable portion of our footprint by supporting renewable energy technologies and conservation initiatives around the world. To date, we have supported 22 carbon offset projects in eight countries to fully counterbalance our global footprint. These projects are only financially viable because of the carbon-finance revenue they receive from companies like Bain.

Our carbon offset projects reflect Bain’s geographic diversity and represent a range of scalable environmental solutions. Here’s a look at some of the projects we’re supporting this year.

Brazil: Creating market incentives to conserve Amazon rainforests and support local communities


  • The destruction of tropical forests releases about as much carbon dioxide as the entire global transport sector
  • Companies like Bain can help curb this trend by providing economic incentives to communities and local groups in the Amazon basin to protect these critical ecosystems
  • Bain supports a project that prevents deforestation in about 86,500 acres (35,000 hectares) of pristine rain forest in Brazil’s Acre state, home to the Amazon basin and some of the world’s most biodiverse habitats
  • A key part of the project involves working with farmers in the forest to give them formal rights to individual parcels of land in return for assistance in preventing deforestation
  • This project also provides training to improve agricultural productivity, supports local health and education programs, and employs people from the local community

US: Converting landfill gas to electricity while creating new wetlands


  • Methane, a greenhouse gas emitted from landfills, has a global warming potential that is more than 25 times that of carbon dioxide over a 100-year period
  • Bain supports an award-winning project that captures and destroys the methane from landfill gas at a non-hazardous waste facility, turning it into renewable energy for nearby homes
  • The project has also created 600 acres (about 240 hectares) of wetland preserve, which supports local biodiversity and provides an outdoor recreational area for communities

India: Creating zero-emissions wind power and local jobs


  • Located in India’s Rajasthan and Gujarat states, a Bain-supported wind power project delivers zero-emissions renewable electricity to India’s northern, eastern, western and northeastern grids
  • The wind farm consists of more than 200 turbines that generate approximately 375,000 MWh of clean renewable electricity annually
  • The wind farm has also contributed to the local economy and livelihood of residents through the creation of jobs. Another plus: The wind farm improves local air quality by reducing air pollution coal-fired power plants create.

To achieve certification, we collected data across our global operations on our electricity usage, recycling and landfill waste, as well as on all our travel for both internal and client trips (flights, hotels, taxis, rental cars, and the like). We then calculated our emissions for carbon and five other greenhouse gases in order to understand the investment required to be fully “net-zero emissions.” Our calculations have been verified by a carbon footprinting specialist, Ecometrica, and our offsetting program is delivered by Natural Capital Partners, a global leader in this space. Our carbon neutral certification is underpinned by the CarbonNeutral® Protocol, which provides a robust standard for carbon neutral claims and is updated annually to reflect the latest scientific and industry best practice. A special thank you goes out to Bainies across the globe who had a hand in this accomplishment.

Bain has a long and proud history of driving results beyond the boardroom and of giving back to our communities. By continuing on this journey we hope to be a role model for our industry and for the broader community with our leadership on issues that affect us all.

Steven Tallman is a partner in the San Francisco office of Bain & Company and a leader in Bain’s Social Impact and Digital practices. In addition to having led client teams in a broad cross-section of industries, he serves as vice president of Global Operations.

On Impact: From Leafcutter Ants to Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

By: Vikki Tam

There it was: a green dash line crawling against the moist brown earth. Each dash
seemed slightly jagged, yet the line itself was defiantly straight and stretched for as far as my eye could see.

As I bent down for a closer look, I realized that the “line” was in fact a legion of hard-at-work leafcutter ants (the foragers, specifically), transporting little fragments of leaves back to their underground nest. I was in Chiapas, Mexico, where dramatic Mayan ruins mesmerize even the worldliest travelers. But I would argue that these ants—the dominant herbivores of the New World tropics trudging home to feed millions of their brethren—were just as impressive.

What remarkable creatures they seemed to be! Stalwart and disciplined, single-minded in focus. They inspired me to revisit the works of one of my intellectual heroes, Edward O. Wilson, the famed evolutionary biologist who spent much of his career studying leafcutter ants (among other… ants). I came to learn that next to humans, leafcutter ants form the largest and most complex societies on earth. (I won’t go into detail about the different castes of leafcutter ants or how they turn vegetation into a fungus; it’s all quite fascinating.) Their success, according to Wilson, relied on “eusociality”—“the condition of multiple generations organized into groups by means of an altruistic division of labor.”

Eusociality is a relatively recent and somewhat controversial intellectual shift from earlier theories of the “selfish gene” and “kin selection” as the primary force behind the evolution of advanced social behavior. To wildly oversimplify, Wilson maintained that groups in which individuals are hardwired to behave altruistically outcompete and out-survive other groups. Ultimately, this group selection shapes the instincts that make individuals altruistic toward one another, and it encourages group-oriented traits such as empathy, generosity and collaboration. In short, it’s responsible for the better angels of our nature.

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Towards a child friendly world with Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi

In December 2014, Bain India embarked on an ambitious mission with 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi. Jesal Dalal, a Senior Associate Consultant from the New Delhi office, shares her experience.

Kailash Satyarthi has been at the forefront of child rights movements across the globe for over 35 years. He has been instrumental in the rescue of over 84,000 children from exploitation and in the adoption of ILO Convention 182 on worst forms of child labour (backbone of child labour laws across the world). These, among many others, have been achieved through his grassroots organizations dedicated to ending child slavery and exploitative child labour. In recognition of his efforts, he was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

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Bain Social Impact Project – Helping a Special Family

December 13, 2015 – On a Sunday morning, a group of Bainies from the Moscow office purchased and delivered a physical therapy device for Yulya, an 8-year-old girl suffering from cerebral palsy.

Elizaveta Selyavina, an Associate Consultant in Moscow, describes the day:

Yulya was diagnosed with infantile cerebral paralysis when she was 6 months old. Since then, she and her family have bravely worked hard to make progress while fighting the challenges along the way. Yulya’s parents made almost all the needed equipment themselves including a special bicycle and a special walking frame. They make sure she receives massages every day in addition to reading to and studying with her. However, it is impossible them to build the special device Yulya needs, the MOTOmed Viva2.  This physical therapy device is specifically made for children of her age and condition and it is essential for Yulya to succeed in fighting her disease.

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Aussie Babywearers for Refugees – My Social Impact

My name is Kirstin and I am a Consultant working in the Bain Sydney office. In addition to my work as a consultant, I wanted to talk about an important social impact initiative in which I am running called Aussie Babywearers for Refugees

With over 75% of the Syrian refugee population made up of women and children, I realised that a baby carrier can literally save a child’s life. These carriers allow their carers to carry young children safely and for long distances, while keeping their hands free for other necessities.

From simple beginnings of a single Facebook post, we were able to build a national network of volunteers to collect donated baby carriers, centralise these donations in Sydney, and sort and pack donations for shipping. The result – a massive 1,951 baby carriers donated which are now on their way to refugees passing through Europe, andover $5,000 cash which will go towards assisting charities on the ground with distribution costs and to allow purchase of other necessities.


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Making Entrepreneurship Contagious

The image of the individualistic, do-it-yourself entrepreneur is romantic and deeply entrenched, but new research from Endeavor and Bain & Company suggests that it is also misleading.

Endeavor, a non-profit organization in the field of high-impact entrepreneurship, has long recognized the potential “multiplier effect” of entrepreneurs who can serve as role models, mentors and investors in the local ecosystem. Bain and Endeavor recently partnered to study the multiplier effect in three markets — Buenos Aires, Istanbul and Mexico City. The research supports what Endeavor have long witnessed on the ground: Entrepreneur networks do not start with gleaming facilities or government guarantees, nor do they spring spontaneously from successful companies. Instead, a few pioneering founders get the support they need at the critical early phase of their development and then actively spread the entrepreneurship fever by mentoring, inspiring, and investing in subsequent generations of entrepreneurs. Read more about recent the study and the Bain/Endeavor partnership Knowledge @ Wharton.


The disruptive potential of feedback

The Net Promoter System (NPS), was featured at a recent summit of non-profit practitioners seeking to incorporate beneficiary feedback into program design and delivery. Vikki Tam (a senior Bain partner and one of the featured speakers) spoke to the group about the potential for NPS to be a high-velocity loop of feedback, learning and action that can help increase impact. Read more about recent support provided by Bain at the Feedback Summit.


Bain recruiting event collects 350 books for charity!

On September 14 and 15 the South America Social Impact group together with the recruiting staff of the São Paulo office piloted a Social Impact class at two universities in São Paulo. We asked the students interested in attending the lecture to bring a book as “entry ticket”. The result was two insightful lectures about strategy given by Gustavo Camargo (Principal) and Breno Cavour (Manager), and around 350 books donated to the Brazilian charity Vaga Lume!

With this donation, Vaga Lume can further support cultural and knowledge development in rural communities of the Legal Amazon region of Brazil.


Bain partners with Village Enterprise

Village Enterprise equips people living in extreme poverty with the resources to create sustainable businesses, including business training, mentoring, grants and savings programs. Read more about recent support provided by Bain Bay Area to help with their future growth ambitions on the Village Enterprise blog.

Photo credit: Village Enterprise

Solving big environmental problems with TNC

We are excited to unveil an interview with Mike Sweeney, the executive director of TNC’s California chapter. He joined The Nature Conservancy in 1998 and has had 16 years of experience solving major environmental problems in the US. Before TNC, Mike worked for Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt working on the Clinton administration conservation priorities. Here he tells us where he sees TNC in 10 years, what he thinks TNC California’s must-watch project is, and what will be impactful about partnering with Bain. Read on to find out the details!

TNC - Sweeney

Mike Sweeney, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy in California

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Bringing consulting to the classroom with Spark 101

Jerrod and Matt, Consultant and Senior Associate Consultant in our Dallas office, share their recent Bain Social Impact experience devoted to education, one of Bain’s global social impact priorities.

One of the many reasons we love working at Bain is the opportunity to make an impact in the non-profit sector. In line with one of our firm-wide social impact priorities, the Dallas office is particularly committed to advancing education by volunteering our time and effort with several organizations in our community.

An example of this is our partnership with Spark 101, a division of a non-profit organization focused on promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in the classroom. Spark 101 provides real-world examples of STEM content to classrooms by collaborating with a wide variety of companies to create short, interactive videos that present a problem for the students to solve. These problems demonstrate to students how they can use their STEM education in the real world, while at the same time introducing them to various careers. The overarching goal of Spark 101 is to inspire students to graduate high school and pursue college degrees and careers in STEM.

Earlier this year, we helped create an interactive case study video for high school students across the country – similar to the case interviews we give to aspiring consultants. We presented a case in which a fair company is trying to decide where to expand its operations. After laying out some basic guidelines, the students are asked to advise the CEO on how much he should pay to acquire the “Texas State Fair.” It requires them to use skills that are very familiar to Bainies: make assumptions, frame a problem and perform a revenue/cost analysis.

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Creating a New Story for Haiti – GDEV chat with the founder of a YC-backed non-profit

Bain’s Global Development Network (GDEV) is a forum for colleagues to discuss and share information and experiences in global economic development, and to support organizations making an impact in the field. Atlanta’s GDEV chapter recently spoke to one such organization. Read more below.

Too often, charities lack transparency and true results. You donate $10, receive a warm thank you, and your money disappears into a black hole. During a Friday GDEV chat, New Story’s Brett Hagler talked with Bainies about how his non-profit breaks that trend, practices 100% transparency, and even provides a video follow-up for donors.

After battling cancer at 18, and volunteering on a trip to Haiti a few years later, Brett considered the impact he could make during his lifetime. He met displaced families during his volunteer trip that inspired him to dedicate more of his time and energy to the Haitian community:

“Currently, Haiti’s homeless families struggle against violence, blinding heat, child abduction and sexual assault. In providing families with a home from these hazards, New Story gives life-changing opportunity, hope, and peace of mind.”

New Story

Brett Hagler on a visit to connect with families and check on home building progress

Brett’s frustrating experience with outdated and impersonal charity websites led him to design a new kind of non-profit. During our talk, he emphasized New Story’s founding principles of transparency, technology, and personal connection: Continue reading

Bain London at the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge

Last week, despite a London tube strike, 30 die-hard Bain employees made it to Battersea Park to take part in the annual JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge.  Read more about the event below.

For the past three years, Bain has participated in the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge, no matter what the weather or transport system throw at us. Luckily, for this year’s event the weather was glorious. With the sun beaming over us, we joined 14,350 others to make our way around the park to raise money and awareness for Age UK (the country’s largest charity dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life).

Bain London at the challenge

Everyone was excited to take part and proud to be doing something for a good cause. The enthusiastic elite runners (some running an additional ~5 km from the office to get to the park) completed the race before many of us even started. But it was worth the wait. Continue reading

Joining forces to save the planet

The Bain Bay Area is excited to announce that The Nature Conservancy is their latest multiyear social impact partner. Read on to learn more about the organization and the work planned for the coming years.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is one of the world’s leading conservation organizations. It is dedicated to preserving the land and water on which all life depends. Since its founding in 1951, the Conservancy has protected more than 119 million acres of land and thousands of miles of rivers, and it has taken on more than 100 marine conservation projects.

TNC logo

TNC has achieved this high standard by innovating with new conservation methods. The Conservancy is unique in forming diverse partnerships and taking a business-minded, market-based approach to environmental protection. For a sustainable and lasting impact, the organization operates with the core belief that human needs must be integrated with environmental needs. To accomplish its goals, TNC collaborates with a wide range of organizations: governmental agencies, companies and corporations, like-minded nonprofits, local stakeholders, indigenous communities, and various international institutions. With these diverse partners, TNC deploys tactics such as reverse auctions, impact investing, and other pioneering, market-based mechanisms.

Bain and TNC have been collaborating since the early 1990s. Bain Bay Area has performed a variety of pro bono work for the Conservancy, including donor segmentation, fundraising strategy, forestry management, and the BirdReturns initiative.  Having now selected TNC as a formal social impact partner for the Bain Bay Area, we will be collaborating even more closely to help advance their mission. Continue reading