It’s no secret that the buildings where we live, and work, are huge contributors to global carbon emissions. According to the UKGBC, the built environment is responsible for almost 40% of all carbon emissions in the UK alone, and evidence shows that reducing this impact in the coming years is essential to avoid catastrophic climate change. Companies across the built environment value chain, including Facilities Management providers, are therefore ramping up their efforts to reduce carbon consumption.
To avoid the worst impacts of climate change we need to limit global warming to 1.5C compared with pre-industrial levels. To achieve this, we need to become “net zero” on a global scale by 2050 at the very latest. As a procurer of goods and services to the built environment, and therefore a key part of the value chain, Facilities Management providers are stepping up to the climate challenge, and the adoption of Net Zero targets is one such way that they are doing so.
The journey to Net Zero
Net zero in its essence refers to achieving an overall balance between emissions produced and emissions removed from the atmosphere. Best practice on net zero includes two key characteristics:
- An ambitious carbon reduction programme across its own operations and value chain (these should be science-based targets aligned with keeping global warming within 1.5°C)
- A carbon removal programme for any remaining residual emissions
In recognition of the growing threat that climate change poses to our planet, and the need to better support our customers in their own net zero journeys, Andron Facilities Management decided to measure its full operational carbon footprint, including scope 3 emissions, with the aim of gradually reducing emissions towards net zero.
However, measuring carbon footprints is a complicated process, so we enlisted the help of a sustainability consultant to help us navigate the challenges of gathering and analysing the data needed to measure our baseline carbon footprint to cover scope 1-3 emissions. This allowed us to set a credible net-zero strategy with targets aligned to the SBTis (Science-based targets initiative).
The SBTi defines and promotes best practices in emissions reductions and net-zero targets, and companies who submit their strategy can have their targets scientifically verified in line with what the latest climate science deems necessary to meet the goals of limiting global warming to below 1.5 degrees. SBTi offers two mitigation pathways to align with Net-Zero:
- Absolute contraction – this method reduces absolute emissions by an amount consistent with a mitigation pathway. For near-term SBTs, a 4.2% linear reduction rate must be achieved, whereas for long-term SBTs there must be a minimum 90% overall reduction. This method must be used by all companies in aligning their scopes 1 and 2 emissions with Net-Zero.
- Intensity metric – companies using this pathway may define their own physical or economic intensity metric. For near-term SBTs, a 7% Year on Year reduction must be achieved, whereas for long-term SBTs an overall 97% reduction must be achieved.
Andron will be following the intensity metric pathway to align with net zero and will firstly, aim for a short-term 7% year on year emissions reduction in line with SBTi guidelines, before moving on to our long-term target of reducing emissions by 97%.
While many companies are leading the way, recent research from the IWFM reveals that two-thirds of UK organisations that have committed to net zero are failing to effectively track energy consumption, with just 15% of end-users surveyed saying their net zero targets were independently audited by a third party.
Submitting targets to third parties such as the SBTI will provide companies with an evidence-backed target in line with what the latest climate science deems necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and ensure that these are not just empty promises that put the planet at risk.
Companies can even take it a step further and publicly disclose their environmental performance to the CDP, for full transparency. Andron recently scored an excellent C+ for ‘Awareness: Knowledge of impacts on, and of, climate change’ in our first CDP disclosure.
Making sustainability a priority across the Supply Chain
Due to the nature of the Facilities Management industry, the largest source of carbon emissions and ultimately the biggest challenge in reaching net zero, lie within the supply chain. Therefore, it’s important to focus on engaging with these suppliers or working with suppliers that are also committed to emissions reduction activities to meet net zero emissions.
At Andron, we’re already working with our supply chain partners to drive carbon reduction and ensure we procure and use resources sustainably. Working with our consumable and janitorial supply partner, Bunzl, we have analysed product deliveries to client sites and are working together to optimise and reduce deliveries, resulting in huge carbon savings. With one client we have forecasted a carbon saving of 1,074kg CO2e, which not only drives down Andron’s carbon emissions but that of our clients too.
With 98% of Andron’s emissions coming from Scope 3, a crucial part of the journey to Net Zero will be continuing to work with our supply chain to drive down emissions. and this will be a key focus for 2022 and beyond.