We are already delivering action to cut our U.K. carbon footprint. Between 2019 and 2022, we reduced our Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 24.43%.
The Company has also been working to establish Science Based Targets and are now in the process of preparing for submission and ratification. We aim to achieve this by the third quarter of 2023.
The SBTi is the world’s first science-based certification of companies’ net zero targets in line with the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping planetary warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Based on the SBTi approach and our current 2019 baseline we would need to reduce our Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 46.2% by 2030.
Here are just some of the projects that we have undertaken to reduce our emissions:
Smart meter roll out
To accurately measure the impact of energy efficiency projects and to manage building energy consumption, accurate metering of consumption is critical. We committed to a strategic roll-out of smart meters on sites where possible. All targeted sites had metering installed by the end of 2022. We are looking to expand metering across the estate to cover heat and water where possible.
Electric car salary sacrifice scheme
Business travel and employee commuting is one of our largest sources of carbon emissions (2nd and 3rd largest categories). In response to colleague feedback, and to support our carbon emissions, we launched an electric vehicle (EV) car salary sacrifice scheme. All eligible staff have the opportunity to lease a new electric car as part of Avison Young’s employee benefits package. We are endeavouring to capture actual data on emissions or estimate these in order to understand the impact of this policy.
Circularity and waste management
In 2022, Avison Young partnered with Collecteco to donate unwarted furniture to good causes across the U.K. Fantastic examples of this have come from our Bristol, Manchester, and Birmingham offices where we worked with Collecteco who took over 900 items of furniture off our hands which has now been kindly donated to various charities and schools. This has generated over £73,000 of in-kind funding and avoided nearly 23 tonnes of carbon in the manufacture of new furniture. This is an example of how we are delivering social value, net zero and circular economy as co-benefits of our strategy.
Maximising renewable energy use and energy efficiency
Our 17 U.K. offices run on a combination of renewable and non-renewable electricity tariffs - 70% of our sites are on a 100% renewable energy tariff. Over time we will ensure our procurement of renewable energy tariffs follows best practice in terms of quality. Moving forward, we plan to engage with all landlords where energy tariffs are controlled at a building level, seeking to transition to 100% renewable energy tariffs. As part of this engagement with building owners we are also understanding their forward plans to improve the energy efficiency of the buildings in their control, including upgrades and replacement schedules.
Empowering our workforce
Carbon literacy training
In 2022, Avison Young U.K. became a Carbon Literate Organisation. Our journey to carbon literacy involved a partnership with Elevate. Elevate created and delivered Carbon Literacy education for our employees and has provided Avison Young with a great start to creating a low carbon culture, which is essential for our journey to net zero. A key outcome of the programme was a Bronze Award from The Carbon Literacy Project. This award recognises our ongoing efforts to ensure our staff are more aware of climate change and feel empowered to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint at home and at work in their engagement with clients. In 2022, 167 people became carbon literate or undertook carbon literacy training.
Carbon mitigation and biodiversity creation
Celebrating our partnership with the Woodland Trust (2014-2022)
At the beginning of 2014, we started working with the Woodland Trust to mitigate our organisation’s unavoidable carbon emissions by planting trees in the U.K. Each tree we planted will become a vital carbon store, helping to reduce our environmental impact. The trees we planted are all native to the U.K. and will help create havens for wildlife, boost biodiversity, and absorb harmful carbon dioxide from the air. Combating climate change isn’t just about planting. The U.K. is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. During our eight-year partnership we also helped the Woodland Trust look after existing woodland through regular volunteering. We are proud to have been a long-term support of the Woodland Trust and look back fondly on our close partnership.
Building Zero - The road to zero carbon logistics
In 2022, Avison Young launched an insights report that sets out the key pressures affecting the industrial built environment, the changes that need to be made and the cost of doing so in order to deliver the green industrial revolution. Although the cost and scale of the change required to improve the U.K.’s industrial stock is significant, there is a huge opportunity to inject value into the built environment. Read the full report
Our future plans
In the near term, we plan to:
- Focus on improving carbon data and management: Quality data is key to managing our net zero strategy and we will continue to investigate and implement initiatives to improve and automate the capture of high quality carbon data.
- Undertake energy efficiency audits in our largest offices: To help drive the operational efficiency of our sites and optimise consumption.
- Maintain high fit out and occupancy standards: New offices and fitouts are not frequent but are significant to our carbon footprint when they occur.
- Address the carbon intensity of our value chain: 90%%20 of our carbon footprint is located in our Scope 3 but is the least understood and managed in our industry.
- Continue to reduce travel related emissions: Challenge the way we travel and where unavoidable, low carbon options are to be prioritised.
- Take steps to understand employee commuting and home working emissions: The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work, and we need to understand how this impacts our carbon footprint.
- Submit our targets to the Science Based Target Initiative for approval and verification: Credible data and targets backed by the science are essential in achieving our Net Zero aspirations.