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What we are doing to make our own organisation Net Zero Carbon

Method is working to systematically reduce CO2 emissions and minimise the carbon footprint of our business. As well as being signatories to the ‘Engineers Declare’ initiatives, we have taken direct actions to reduce and offset the carbon emissions associated with our own business activities and setting our own path towards net zero.

As part of this, we have calculated our own carbon footprint and have undertaken a comprehensive set of PAS 2060 calculations to determine the carbon footprint of each of our three main offices:

  • Swindon, edge of town

  • Bristol, city centre

  • Cornwall, rural


What we found

  • Our Bristol office had the lowest annual carbon emissions per person per year, our Swindon office was in the middle and our rural Cornwall office accounted for the most emissions

  • Transport (commuting plus travel to meetings) is our single largest generator of CO2 emissions

  • Heating emissions were highest in our Swindon office which relies upon a gas boiler, Bristol was in the middle with its electric heat pumps and Cornwall was lowest with its biomass boiler

  • Electricity for all of our offices is purchased from the landlord

  • CO2 Office supplies are a relatively low percentage – we only own some furniture and laptops

  • Food and catering was not included in the assessment


Carbon Reduction Projects

Method is committed to leading the industry in minimising the impact of its activities on the environment and we have already implemented a number of carbon reduction projects in an effort to reduce energy use from company operations.

Travel
Travel, either to and from work or for business is one of our highest emissions. As a company we encourage the use of sustainable travel whether by use of public transport or by walking or cycling. All of our offices have showering and changing facilities to enable staff to travel in a more sustainable and healthy way.
Steps we have taken in order to reduce our travel emissions include:
  1. Implementing a cycle to work policy
  2. Implementing an EVC policy
  3. Considered relocating our edge of town Swindon office to a town centre location, adjacent to the train station and central bus station
  4. Aiming to use public transport or an electric car for 50% of project meetings (availability permitting)
  5. Embracing virtual team meetings where possible to reduce business travel
Energy Demand Reduction

We are committed to reducing our energy usage across all our offices and using green energy where possible.

Steps we have taken in order to reduce our energy emissions include:

Heating

  1. For our Swindon office we tried to negotiate with landlord to remove gas but negotiations broke down, so this added to our desire to relocate to the town centre
  2. Bristol is all electric heat pumps so no further action proposed
  3. Cornwall is biomass heated so no further action proposed

Electricity

  1. In Swindon we up-graded our office lighting to LED as this is something we could do directly without needing the landlord to act on our behalf
  2. Across all of our offices we are currently in negotiations with the various landlord’s to buy from renewable energy generators (green tariffs). Our hands are tied somewhat as we buy off of the landlord.
  3. We are also in negotiation with the landlord to contribute to a rooftop photovoltaic arrays, although our Cornwall office already has this
  4. We have switched all of our servers to Cloud based servers for optimum energy efficiency
Procurement and Food and Drink
Steps we are planning to take include:
  1. We plan to implement an environmental purchasing policy for all products and services acquired and are committed to purchasing from more ethical and sustainable sources and supporting local businesses where possible in order to reduce delivery miles
  2. 25% of our carbon emissions (that’s 2.5tonnes per person per year) is related to food, this can be halved by moving towards a balanced healthy diet, for example with less beef, lamb and dairy

Offsetting

We do not do carbon offsetting by buying woodlands. Whilst there are a growing number of organisations which use this method to help declare themselves as being Net Zero Carbon, we simply do not see it as legitimate to “buy & preserve woodland” but then carry on with business as normal! Instead, we have opted to take action to actively cut our carbon emissions and offset and we offset our residual carbon emissions by supporting low carbon initiatives in our local communities.

Recent beneficiaries include:
  1. Perranporth life guard hut in Cornwall where we sponsored a rooftop PV array that will generate around 4000kWh of electricity a year. 
  2. Minchinhampton School in Gloucestershire where we sponsored a 51.59Wp rooftop PV array that will generate around 49,130 kWh of electricity a year. 

What we are doing next

Per person, transport in Cornwall is by far our biggest CO2 emitter. Improving public transport links is very difficult and the distances involved do no lend themselves to e-scooter or e-bike technologies and so our next key project is to investigate how we can provide EV cars, either on a pool basis or on an individual basis.


Steps you can take as an organisation
  1. Undertake a PAS 2060 carbon assessment
  2. Draw up a Net Zero Carbon plan
  3. Obtain EPC ratings for your premises
  4. Negotiate buying electricity from a renewable electricity generator (green tariff)
  5. Undertake a formal sustainability benchmarking assessment such as BREEAM
  6.  Move to offices which have non-fossil fuel technology and preferably has heat pump technology (or biomass technology)
  7. Install LED lighting
  8. Install PV
  9. Provide cyclist facilities
  10. Provide access to good public facilities, preferably a train station
  11. Introduce an EV policy
  12. Provide EV charging facilities
  13. Provide e-scooters or e-bikes
  14. Move to plant based catering
  15. Offset residual carbon by sponsoring low carbon initiatives in the local community