A strategy like this brings more success when the whole business, from top to bottom, is engaged throughout the journey.
EDW group, comprising of EDW Technology and TEAM, is a market leader in delivering carbon management solutions. Their business has been helping customers manage their energy and reduce carbon emissions for many years, long before net zero became big news and of growing importance to their customers.
Implementing a net zero strategy provides long-term benefits to both the future of their business and the planet. As an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), environmental values are important to them, and they passionately believe that reducing carbon emissions should be a priority for all – individuals and businesses alike.
Becoming net zero is as important to them as it is to their customers, and they are proud that their energy consultancy team has been helping businesses work towards a net zero trajectory for many years.
By setting an example, EDW and TEAM hope to encourage businesses throughout the UK to set more ambitious carbon reduction targets, which is increasingly expected by their customers, employees, and shareholders.
TEAM are specialists in this field, and they believe it is important to lead by example and has set out two clear and ambitious objectives.
They have succeeded in their first objective of becoming carbon neutral by 2023.
The second objective is to reach net zero emissions by 2030.
EDW Group’s approach to becoming net zero includes reducing emissions along a 1.5°C trajectory, a commitment which they will publicly validate through the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi).
Their Carbon Reduction Strategy initiatives are based on best practice in energy management for the type of business, ensuring they maximise opportunities for energy efficiency and carbon emission reduction where possible. This is coupled with initiatives to remove barriers which currently prevent their employees from reducing their own carbon emissions associated with commuting and homeworking.
Timothy Holman, Head of Operations and net zero strategy lead at TEAM Energy commented:
“A strategy like this brings more success when the whole business, from top to bottom, is engaged throughout the journey. To both help employees engage with our net zero journey and understand their impact on our overall emissions, we conducted a staff survey. The survey gave us a broad appreciation of the challenges our staff face reducing their own homeworking emissions, as well as details of emissions from commuting and hybrid working. Plus, this engagement really helped garner full support for the journey from the business.”
Setting a baseline
Any net zero journey needs to start with an assessment of your baseline emissions. It is important to have a starting point, to be able to set your goal, plot how you are going to achieve it and to measure progress against.
So, TEAM began their journey with a comprehensive assessment of business activities and energy usage to establish a baseline and identify the key sources of GHG emissions.
The initial baseline was based on the calendar year 2019 as this was the last year of BAU operating before COVID impacted the group’s operations and they moved to working from home. As with any carbon reduction strategy (CRS), the process is a journey, and they found that calculating their emissions over a calendar year, while commonly adopted, was much more challenging to get some of the data they needed as it did not align with their financial year.
So, to enable better measurement and monitoring of future emissions, EDW Group chose to revise the baseline from the 2019 calendar year to the financial year Nov-2018 to Oct-2019: an adjustment of 2 months. This helped when calculating emissions for the following three years, 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22.
With any CRS there can be bumps in the road that help businesses learn from the process. Challenges that crop up help the business understand how to respond to problems and to foresee others that may need adapting in the strategy year by year. Some of those challenges included setting appropriate emissions factors and unexpected fugitive emissions.
Using the right emissions factors
In many cases, there is more than one emissions factor that could be utilised to account for the carbon emissions associated to different aspects of the business. Choosing the wrong emissions factor can provide dramatic variations in the resulting emissions and therefore skew the emissions reporting for a business.
Failing to choose the right emissions factor, even if it reduces the level of emissions for a business activity, could potentially be seen as greenwashing and could discredit the business. Additionally, businesses not reporting using the correct emissions factors as part of their financial disclosures may be at risk of fines or penalties.
Timothy Holman, Head of Operations and net zero strategy lead at TEAM Energy commented:
“By working with the finance team to source accurate data and by making key updates to our data collection processes to align with emissions factors categories, we were able to make a full and honest assessment of our purchased goods and services. This in turn gave us an accurate assessment of our most recent annual emissions for 2021/22 and therefore the emissions we needed to offset to become carbon neutral.”
The impact of fugitive emissions
Along the way, and during the very cold winter weather at the end of 2022, EDW Group had an unexpected issue with their building’s heating and air conditioning system. Whilst now fixed, and despite being regularly serviced, this was due to an undiscovered long-term refrigerant leak. The system had lost 9.5kg of refrigerant (R410A) resulting in emissions that have 2088 times more global warming impact than CO2 emissions. These kinds of leaks are known as fugitive emissions.
As this incident occurred in December 2022, it will show in the business’s reporting for financial year 2022/23 which will be published at the end of this calendar year adding an extra 20 Tonnes of CO2e to its annual footprint. When sourcing carbon offsets for this particular year the business will have to factor this in and make the necessary adjustments to the number of credits purchased.
Why EDW Group chose carbon offsetting as part of its pathway to net zero
EDW Group has many strategies that will contribute to their pathway of net zero by 2030 but they recognise that there are areas of the business that they cannot yet reduce the emissions of, for example, the already sourced fuel for the diesel backup generator and the use of outsourced IT services. Rather than ignore these sources of emissions, they decided to implement a carbon offset plan.
A carbon footprint assessment gave the business an accurate understanding of its emissions which enabled offsetting 100% of carbon emissions associated with the EDW Group for the last year and achieve their first target of becoming carbon neutral in 2023.
Realising this first goal so quickly represented a big step towards the group’s net zero goal, demonstrating its commitment to the journey to get there.
With the baseline set and accurate data, their forecasting reports help to understand the fluctuations in emissions and will further help to hedge and secure carbon credits from the voluntary market for the future.
Working towards net zero
It is really important to monitor and measure emissions to stay on track of a net zero commitment. As TEAM and EDW have already experienced challenges that have impacted their plan, they continue to reassess their strategy.
Their strategy to achieve carbon reduction goals include a number of high-level initiatives that are organised as short-, mid- and long-term phases.
The short-term approaches include validating their strategy with The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and implementing more energy efficiency measures throughout their office alongside a green procurement plan.
To help the group reduce carbon emissions related to purchased goods and services, the majority of their upstream Scope 3 emissions, they are planning to update their procurement policy. This will include an evaluation of the carbon emissions associated with purchases. Including reviewing the energy efficiency of equipment, lifespan and disposal of products for example, as well as the carbon reduction strategies of suppliers.
If implemented effectively, a green procurement policy can also help to reduce carbon emissions from multiple other categories besides purchased goods and services. The long-term ambition will be to work only with net zero suppliers where possible.
Medium to long-term plans will turn the business’s attention to transitioning to net zero IT services, strategies to reduce water consumption and wastewater treatment, and initiatives to reduce employee commuting emissions including providing electric vehicle charging stations at its office.
Notes to Editors
For further information, please contact:
Pauline Scoins – Marketing and PR Executive
Phone: +44 (0)1908 690018 Ext 204
EDW House, Radian Court, Knowlhill, Milton Keynes, MK5 8PJ
TEAM is the UK’s leading supplier of carbon and energy management solutions committed to driving the efficiency and sustainability of energy consumption and environmental awareness.
Its expert team works in partnership with organisations to design and deliver tailored management strategies supporting the provision of efficient and effective energy conservation.
The organisation’s 35-year history of collaborating with energy and sustainability professionals has led to the development of proven, scalable cloud-based solutions and service innovations for optimised reporting, cost recovery and compliance.
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