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Circular economy is one of the three pillars that underpin the work we do at HSSMI and has naturally led to an initiative to identify our carbon footprint and achieve Net Zero. In our analysis, we looked at both 2019 and 2020 and set a target for becoming carbon neutral by 2021. The report clearly outlines data on the emissions that HSSMI has produced, along with the methodology and assumptions we used. Given that this is our first Net Zero report, we also learned some lessons along the way that will help us refine our methods going forward.
HSSMI’s Executive Director Axel Bindel says, “Achieving the climate targets is a major global challenge. This is not only a part of our business, as we often work with clients to help them become sustainable and implement circular economy principles, but we also want to ensure that HSSMI implements the concepts we advocate to others. Our first Net Zero report puts us on the right path towards becoming carbon neutral in all our operations by 2021 and represents an exciting next step in our journey towards increased sustainability and resilience.”
Our Current Carbon Footprint
HSSMI, as an office-based organisation, is already rather lean in its emissions, despite being based across three offices (London, Birmingham, and Glasgow) and needing to visit client sites often to assess manufacturing facilities.
In 2019, when the business was running as usual, the carbon footprint was 153.72 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2e), with an average of 4.66 tonnes of CO2e per full time employee. The most carbon intense category for 2019 was the building energy consumption.
In 2020, the total carbon footprint dropped by a significant 75%. The total footprint was 37.89 tonnes of CO2e, with an average of 1.05 tonne CO2e per employee. With the stay-home recommendations from the government due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our flight emissions decreased by 86%, our car and van emissions by 84%, and our bus and rail by 81%.
The restrictions imposed by the pandemic illustrated that HSSMI can continue to provide its services with the same level of quality and efficiency, while relying more on digital tools for collaborating both internally and externally with clients. This is a positive indication of how HSSMI could continue working in the future.
Our Commitment for the Future
In order to offset our carbon emissions, the Net Zero report includes a series of commitments and actions that we will take in the future to make sure we achieve and remain net-zero. These include:
– Supporting projects certified by carbonfootprint.com to offset our emissions for 2019-2020,
– Continuing to work on projects and with clients and partners who are passionate about decarbonising,
– Establishing an internal Sustainability Steering Committee, which will be tasked with ensuring that we adhere to our Net Zero commitments and investigate other aspects of environmental sustainability that we need to address,
– Transparently disseminating our journey towards Net Zero by publishing an Annual Net Zero report detailing the progress achieved over the previous 12 months,
– Ensuring that our travel emissions are minimised and offset as the post-COVID-19 economy recovers and travel increases,
– Updating the HSSMI Working from Home policy to support employees in reducing their CO2 emissions associated with travel to and from the offices and encouraging the use of public transport and rail over air travel.
The calculation of HSSMI’s carbon footprint for 2019 and 2020 was based on data collected through an employee survey as well as limited centrally collected data.
Due to HSSMI’s size and type of operation, we chose to use a free online carbon calculator, Carbonfootprint.com, to calculate our emission levels. Although it is a simple and user-friendly tool, this calculator only considers building energy and travel in the carbon footprint estimate and, within these elements, it only allows a limited number of inputs. Therefore, it was necessary to consolidate some of the collected data.
The calculator enabled us to capture a significant scope of HSSMI’s consumption, including some indirect emissions. However, it was not able to capture emissions related to data storage which we estimated at 10.86 tonnes CO2e for 2020, based on 6.13TB of data use.
Although a key focus of this report is identifying and offsetting our emissions, this is not the end of the process for us. Instead, this is only the first step on a larger climate impact reducing journey. Our commitments are set in place for 2021, but these will evolve to become even more impactful in the coming years.