Greengage’s 2021 carbon footprint equates to 33.9 tCO2e, the equivalent of a 42% increase in emissions over 2020. This trend is reflected across all Scopes individually, apart from Scope 2 which has remained the same. However, there are several contributing factors to the increase in emissions.
Firstly, 2020 was a year of significant disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore, the emissions reported in this year were much lower (14.5 tCO2e) due to a larger proportion of the year being spent in national UK lockdowns. For instance, in this year business travel emissions accounted for only 6.8 tCO2e in 2020, in comparison to 18.1 tCO2e in 2021. Whereas in 2021, the total length of time spent in lockdown was shorter than the previous year, therefore, amounting to an increase in carbon emissions resulting from increased business travel, employee commuting and company purchases.
Secondly, the number of emission Scopes reported and analysed by Greengage in 2021 have increased due to increased data visibility, including newly reporting Scope 1 refrigerant emissions and Scope 3 purchases, waste and ‘working from home’ (WFH) emissions. We have also grown as a company during this period, employing more members of staff compared to 2020 which brings with it greater carbon intensive activities.
Due to the disruptions to Greengage operations during the first half of 2021 and the prediction that the full extent of emissions Scopes are now being monitored throughout the year, we anticipate that 2022 will be the first actual representative year of carbon emissions for Greengage. Based on this, it is predicted that Greengage will likely see another increase of carbon emissions in 2022.
Carbon emission calculation methods
Greengage’s Scope 1 carbon emissions included gas consumption and refrigerant leakage; gas consumption emissions were calculated using EPC data which was multiplied by DEFRA conversion factors. Refrigerant leakage was calculated using actual plant refrigerant labels and default annual leakage percentages for unitary split systems obtained from the BREEAM NC 2018 technical manual.
Actual electricity consumption data was used for the calculation of Greengage’s Scope 2 emissions, with monthly electricity kWh figures being multiplied by the DEFRA conversion factors. Scope 2 emissions equated to only 11% of Greengage’s total emissions.
The largest emissions scope was the Scope 3 emissions, making up 65% of overall carbon. Due to a limited availability of weight data, purchased goods and services emissions were calculated using a spend-based approach and SECR conversion factors. This involved multiplying spend data by the appropriate SECR conversion factor. Going forward, Greengage aim to improve visibility of purchases data, to enable the use of more recently updated DEFRA conversion factors. Additionally, due to an unavailability of actual water supply and waste data, emissions were calculated using average South Staffordshire Water’s UK business water and waste consumption figures. Greengage will therefore aim to improve visibility of this data to increase the reliability of these carbon emissions calculations.
Electricity T&D, Business Travel and Employee commuting data was all based on actual data which were multiplied with relevant DEFRA conversion factors. Updated expenses claim forms and staff commute surveys fostered the collation of detailed data, thus, enabling thorough analysis of Greengage travel emissions. Business Travel made up the largest proportion of 2021 emissions, accounting for 53% of Greengage’s total emissions.
WFH emissions were calculated using UK average energy consumption data. This data was multiplied by the number of FTEs and the average number of WFH days in 2021. This was then multiplied by DEFRA conversion factors.
Greengage Environmental Carbon Emissions
Greengage carbon reduction strategy
Greengage strives to continually work towards carbon emission reductions. To do this, Greengage have employed several measures including:
- Electricity is sourced through a green energy provider and renewable sources;
- Enhanced data collection process for calculating emissions. For instance, Business Travel and Employee Commuting;
- Improved data visibility to enhance accuracy of carbon reporting to include more emission categories;
- Installation of a Hive heating control system to remotely control our office heating more efficiently and better responding to the relevant conditions during peak and non-occupancy;
- Utilising natural ventilation systems within the office as the first means of comfort cooling in lieu of the mechanical active cooling system;
- Continuing to have discussions with our landlord on how we can obtain more accurate data on water and gas usage; and
- Continuing to employ flexi-working and encouraging remote meetings in lieu of face-to-face meetings as a means of reducing our carbon impact, with particular emphasis on meetings requiring longer distance travel outside of London.
Following a similar approach to 2020 carbon offsetting, we offset our calculated emissions in line with the Climate Pledge Guidelines. This required ≥10% of our ‘offsets’ to come from Clean Development Mechanisms (CDMs) as offered by the UN, therefore, we selected supporting a wind farm in India based upon the impact it would likely have in the local community. The remaining 90% of our carbon emissions, will continue to be invested through the UK-based Forest Carbon ex-ante Pending Issuance Units (PIU) at a new increased price of £25/tonne, a price that we chose to replicate when purchasing the CDMs, resulting in the purchasing of surplus CDMs. The Forest Carbon emissions removal schemes are certified in line with the Woodland Carbon Code, being the quality assurance standard for woodland creation projects in the UK. In total, 34 tonnes of carbon have been offset for the year 2021.
Consequently, the UNFCC has awarded Greengage a grading of Bronze for their ‘Measure’ and ‘Reduce’ categories, whilst also achieving Gold within the ‘Contribute’ category. Going forward, we will continue to monitor our emissions and to implement strategies to reduce our overall carbon emissions.
Written by Kate Mosely, Graduate Consultant at Greengage.
If you would like to learn more about how we calculated our own carbon footprint or are interested in how we might assist with the calculations of your own, then please contact Cameron.Parker@greengage-env.com.