When it comes to tackling some of the world’s most significant challenges—natural disasters and climate change, community resilience, substance abuse and addiction—there’s no roadmap. ICF and our employees aren’t ones to wait around for a set of instructions. We know that change can’t wait, and it must start here. Here’s how we catalyze change.
Empower our people. Provide a supportive environment, development opportunities, and a connected culture to help employees achieve career goals.
Engage our talents. Apply our skills to projects that shape a better world. Team with colleagues and partners to bring clients excellent solutions. Work to minimize our impact on the planet. Support our communities with philanthropy.
Innovate Collaborate across diverse teams. Encourage creative disagreement and debate. Support risk taking. Optimize the present, selectively forget the past, and create the future. All to solve challenges in new ways.
That’s how we spark breakthroughs.
Empower. Engage. Innovate.
Create the Greatest Benefit in Areas that Matter
This lofty goal calls for a workforce prepared to catalyze positive change—a workforce that must be empowered, engaged, and innovative. Lucky for us, our people check all those boxes.
Setting the stage for our employees’ success begins with a respectful, inclusive, and equitable environment. In addition, we offer development opportunities to create a continual learning environment. The full report outlines some of our specific efforts to empower, support, and develop our talented people. One initiative launched in 2017 was Mentor Connect, our response to employees’ requests for a formalized mentoring program. This company-wide program enrolled 700 participants and received strongly favorable feedback. Here are some insights from our mentor program. The second cohort formed in the spring of 2018. Perhaps the strongest evidence that we’re meeting our employees’ professional goals is a voluntary turnover rate that’s significantly better than the industry average. Retaining our experts contributes to ICF’s stability, knowledgeable leadership, and collaborative culture.
ICFers enjoy their work—so said 86% of employees in our 2016 employee survey. Many say they joined ICF for the opportunity to make a positive impact on the world. And, since we tackle global challenges like public health, climate change, disaster recovery, and cybersecurity, they are able to do just that. By applying excellence in engagement techniques such as social media, public relations, crisis management, and website development, we are making a difference to both essential brands and government programs.
Our people enjoy free-flowing conversation and collaboration with widely diverse teams. They access informative chats, helpful content, and peer-to-peer networking, both in-person and online. And they channel their personal interests inside the dynamic ICF community for philanthropy, social good, and sustainability.
To demonstrate how innovation can be part of daily work, we formed the Innovation Awards Program. We recognize teams and individuals at all levels who identify and develop emerging solutions through creative thinking, experimentation, prototyping, rapid iteration, and deep understanding of markets, clients, and end-user needs.
Capitalize on emerging opportunities. Increase efficiency. Create solutions to long-standing problems. These are challenges that require a new approach. We’re taking steps to build a culture of innovation through structure, process, recognition, and training—starting with our largest operating group. We also increased our investment to develop technology and other intellectual property, presenting greater opportunities for employees. We collaborate across diverse teams, encourage creative disagreement and debate, and support risk taking—all while working to optimize the present, selectively forget the past, and create the future.
ICF supports employees by offering live and virtual classes, self-paced online courses, vendor training subscriptions, communities of practice, expert panel discussions, and reimbursement for certifications, degree programs, and professional memberships.
Accelerating Leadership Development
The Accelerated Leadership Challenge is a development program designed to advance the growth of ICF’s high-performing leaders through rigorous, practical leadership experience. The program defines the competencies and expectations of ICF’s future executives, provides access to feedback and coaching, and builds an enterprise-wide strategic perspective.
Mastering Management—The ICF Way is an applied, 16-week blended development experience designed for those with limited people-management experience. The program introduces participants to the knowledge, skills, and network needed to manage self, individuals, teams, and the business effectively.
Collaborating with Colleagues from Diverse Backgrounds
Where We’re From: Our nearly 80 homelands represent 75% of global population. Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Republic of, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
Languages We Speak: We’re fluent in the mother tongue of our clients and stakeholders worldwide: English, French, Hindi, Spanish, German, Italian, Swedish, American Sign Language, Chinese (Mandarin), Cantonese, Portuguese, Russian, Ukrainian, Urdu, Nepali, Greek, Thai, Hungarian, Arabic, Assamese, Japanese, Faroese, Danish, Indonesian, Armenian, Kyrgyz, Punjabi, Afrikaans, Swahili, Tagalog, Kikuyu, Dutch, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Akan, Turkish, Kazakh, Canadian French, Vietnamese, Persian, Bambara, Uzbek, Romanian, Malay, Albanian, Latin, Korean, Bosnian, Croatian, Kiswahili, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Chichewa, Bahasa Malay, Bulgarian, Galician, Bengali, Hebrew, Khmer, Burmese, Amharic, Catalan, Serbian, Finnish, Bihari, Kashmiri, Kongo, and Norwegian
Advanced Degrees We Hold: We’re experts in topics that shape our world. 2200+ advanced degrees in: Social Sciences, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Public Policy, IT/Mathematics, Planning, Engineering, Economics, Business and Management, Human Capital/Training, Law, among others
Understanding Our Impact
After more than 10 years of conducting our carbon1 inventory, we thoroughly understand the impact of our operations. Our strategy to reduce our footprint focuses on the main sources of our carbon emissions:
- Energy that powers our facilities: 9% of total inventory
- Fossil fuels used to drive our commutes: 48% of total inventory
- Business-related travel: 43% of total inventory
Based on this information, we set a carbon reduction goal: By 20182, we will reduce the average carbon emissions per ICF employee3 (including facilities, business travel, and commuting) by 10% from a 2013 baseline.
We’re proud to report that, with the commitment of leadership and engagement of employees, we achieved—and significantly surpassed— our goal ahead of schedule.
With our latest carbon inventory of 2016 operations4 , we achieved a 27% reduction in our carbon intensity measure/emissions per employee.
For the remaining years of our goal period, we are focusing on further decreasing our emissions per employee. We’re also scoping new targets to continue reducing greenhouse gas emissions and advance renewable energy. Our efforts to set a new goal include exploring methodologies for science-based reduction targets, as recommended by the Science Based Targets Initiative.
Our Carbon Footprint
Thanks to our efforts to both reduce energy use and buy renewable energy, emissions from ICF’s facilities have decreased—even while our employee population has grown. We’ll continue to focus on reducing impacts from employee commuting and business travel. We’ll report our 2017 emissions in the next citizenship report.
Catalyze Change and Lead by Example.
Urgent Need to Remove Emissions, Not Only Reduce
Time is running out for the world to address climate change. The UN Emissions Gap Report 2017 states that there’s an urgent need to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions using approaches such as wind energy and landfill gas recovery but also to remove emissions from the atmosphere using approaches such as forestry and emerging technologies.
ICF acknowledges this urgency and invests in high-quality, verified carbon offsets, in addition to purchasing renewable energy certificates equivalent to the electricity used by our U.S. operations.
That’s an imperative for ICF, given our reputation as a leading advisory firm on climate. For that reason, since 2006 ICF has maintained a net-zero carbon footprint by investing in robust carbon offsets that remove or avoid emissions at a rate equivalent to that generated by our operations.
While carbon offsets are important, our climate strategy begins with mitigation. How can we make our carbon footprint as small as possible without impairing client services? In brief, we’ve instituted policies, procedures, and goals. The full report describes our assessment of our environmental impact and the measures we’ve taken to reduce it.
Read more about our philosophy and approach to corporate sustainability.
More than Doubling the Use of Our Online Meeting Platform
ICF employees embrace tools that help reduce our travel footprint. Use of our online meeting platform continues to grow with monthly average participants up 150% since we began measuring in 2015.
|Monthly Tools||Total Conferences||Total Participants||Total Participant Minutes|
|2016 Monthly Average||23,000||76,000||2,315,000|
|2017 Monthly Average||25,000||90,000||2,940,000|
Using Landfill Gas Instead of Fossil Fuel to Power Facilities
Chautauqua County Landfill in Ellery, New York, saw an opportunity to use a byproduct of their business, methane gas, to generate energy, and ICF invested in this important project. The county’s landfill accepts about 360,000 tons of solid waste each year. Landfills emit methane gas into the atmosphere, which contributes to climate change and wastes a valuable resource. Methane is a greenhouse gas that affects climate change at a rate 28 times that of CO2 when emitted into the atmosphere. The county captures the methane and channels it to a conversion plant where it generates electricity to power 6,000 homes each day.
With ICF’s support, the project now:
- Prevents harmful methane gas from entering the atmosphere
- Produces 9.6 MW of renewable energy from waste, rather than from fossil fuel
- Provides jobs for the community
- Is verified by the Climate Action Reserve
Harnessing the Wind: Big Smile Wind Farm at Dempsey Ridge, OK
Although Oklahoma is known for its vast oil and natural gas reserves, there’s an effort to raise the state’s profile as a clean energy producer. Since Oklahoma has significant wind-energy potential, ICF invested in a project that installed 66 turbines—enough to generate clean energy to power 46,000+ homes. Known as Big Smile Wind Farm, the project is named in memory of a cherished employee of the energy company who helped develop the project and was known for her big smile. The project provides supplemental income to local landowners who host the turbines on their farms. Other benefits include:
- Avoidance of emissions equivalent to 339,000 metric tons of CO2 per year from conventional power plants
- Full-time local jobs for 13 people
- Investment in local infrastructure
- Property tax revenues from the project
- Assurance by Verified Carbon Standard
Extending Our Reach
Thanks to ICFers’ giving and ICF’s new matching program, the reach of our corporate philanthropy now extends to hundreds more charities. Here is just a sample of how, together, we’re giving even more:
Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund— to respond to California wildfires
Cookie Cart—to teach job skills to underserved youth in Minneapolis
Children’s Home and Aid—to support children, youth, and families in Chicago
Bread for the City—to reduce the burden of poverty for DC residents
Girls on the Run Atlanta—to bolster girls’ confidence and create an appreciation for health and fitness
Against Malaria Foundation, Canada—to reduce malaria cases by providing insecticidal nets worldwide
William Wates Memorial Trust—to help London’s disadvantaged youth fulfill their potential
King Baudouin Foundation, Brussels—to support the development of music education in southern African
Goonj—to create jobs, upcycle used materials, and provide clothing for those in need throughout India
We aspire to make our communities more equitable, just, healthy, and resilient by supporting our employees’ philanthropic passions and multiplying their impact.
We match employee donations to help them catalyze change for things they care about. So in 2017, we launched a platform where our people can donate to their favorite charities and ICF can match their gifts.
In just seven months, ICFers donated $110,000 and ICF matched every dollar. Although we set a matching cap, at year’s end we matched all donations made through GivingPlace, our giving platform.
Giving in Many Forms
While employees inspire ICF to expand the reach of our giving, we continue to deepen longstanding relationships with charity partners, such as:
- The Red Cross: Together with employees, we donated nearly $60,000.
- The Children’s Inn at NIH: We sponsored and chaired the fundraiser that raised nearly $1 million.
- American Cancer Society: Together with employees, we donated nearly $40,000 to fight breast cancer and prostate cancer.
We continue to support causes focused on health, education, social, environmental, and resilience programs—among others. In 2017 we gave $560,000 in cash donations.
Selected Awards and Recognition
ICF is proud to have received numerous distinguished honors recognizing our recent efforts, including the following. Find a complete list of awards here:
- Ranked on Forbes 2017 list of America’s best midsize employers
- Ranked by Forbes as one of America’s 2017 Best Management Consulting Firms
- Excellence in Corporate Citizenship Reporting, 4 Platinum and 1 Gold MarCom Awards 2017
ICF is a global consulting and technology services provider with nearly 6,000 professionals focused on making big things possible for our clients. We are business analysts, public policy experts, technologists, researchers, digital strategists, social scientists, and creatives. Since 1969, government and commercial clients have worked with ICF to overcome their toughest challenges on issues that matter to their success. ICF employees come from diverse backgrounds, but share common values, including:
- Excellence derived from intellectual rigor, creativity, and practical experience
- A client-driven focus
- Honesty, integrity, and mutual respect
1. “Carbon” refers to carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), a greenhouse gas that makes up 99% of ICF’s greenhouse gas emissions. For that reason, we use the terms “carbon emissions” and “greenhouse gas emissions” interchangeably. ↩
2. Our carbon reduction goal will end with our 2018 carbon inventory, which will be finalized during the summer of 2019. Our 2013 inventory, which is the baseline for our goal, was completed in the summer of 2014. ↩
3. Why report “emissions per employee”? In our fast-growing company, it’s challenging to analyze performance when many metrics are changing simultaneously. We chose to normalize or align our emissions metric with the number of employees, so our reduction goal is measured per employee. ↩
4. We conduct our carbon inventory each summer for the previous calendar year. At the time of writing this report, our most recent inventory is of 2016 operations. ↩