Four years ago, the folks at PricewaterhouseCoopers set a new goal for reducing the company's carbon footprint in the U.S.: Slash it 20% by 2012. Clearly, however, accomplishing that objective required an all-out effort by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has 30,000 employees in the U.S.

"We weren't going to get there by buying carbon credits," says Mike Burwell, CFO and operations leader at the $26 billion accounting firm.

For Burwell, the answer was clear. His finance team had to assume a role not usually taken in most organizations. It had to become a lynchpin of the effort. To that end, Burwell created a new system.

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