To limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, net-zero carbon dioxide is required globally by 2050. This means that emissions across every part of the economy must be cut as close to zero as possible, with any residual emissions balanced by the removal of an equivalent amount of CO2 from the atmosphere using nature-based or engineered solutions.
There is no blueprint for achieving a net-zero world but work by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the International Energy Agency, national governments and others shows the scale and pace of change needed in the coming decades. Net-zero is a global goal with which everybody needs to align – governments and businesses alike.
We can help you explore scenarios, assess options and develop strategies to align your activities with the transition to a net zero world, and to cut your own emissions as far and fast as possible. We can then support you to turn strategy into action through project design, delivery and operation, and by transforming your assets and systems to become more efficient and lower carbon.
There are compelling reasons to cut emissions and align with the transition to a net-zero world:
- Commercial and competitive. Radical emissions reduction requires innovation in all areas of business activity. Carbon is a proxy for resource-use and cost. Demand for net-zero services and products is growing. Action leads to cost savings and new market opportunities.
- Financial and fiduciary. Failing to reduce emissions carries growing financial risks. For those not aligned with the transition to net-zero, future revenue streams and access to investment will be under threat. Through initiatives like the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosure the financial industry is increasingly taking account of organisations’ exposure to climate change risks when making investment decisions.
- Legal and statutory. Countries with over two-thirds of global GDP now have net-zero targets. Governments are enacting legislation and policies aimed at driving down emissions. Sectors, cities and client organisations are implementing net-zero plans. Organisations must be vigilant about regulatory and legal compliance, with advantages for those who go further.
- Social licence to operate. Cutting emissions and building resilience are morally ‘the right the thing to do’, but also part of each organisation’s corporate responsibility and duty of care.
- Leadership and ambition. Every organisation can play a role in ‘moving the dial’ by demonstrating leadership to redefine best practice in their sector and field of influence. This will enhance each organisation’s reputation and contribute to transformative change.
Ways we can help:
- Understand the transition to net-zero and define what it means. Navigate regional and sectoral differences, and assess the future direction of markets, technology and policy. Identify the biggest opportunities for beneficial outcomes and plot how these can be realised.
- Develop route-maps, strategies and action plans. At national, city, organisational and asset scales, put in place strategies to reduce emissions as close to zero as possible, in line with Paris Agreement goals. Build net-zero into planning and investment cycles and develop least-regrets pathways that consider emissions reduction alongside wider business, sustainability and climate resilience objectives.
- Assess and manage climate-change risks. Use our transition risk framework to help identify risks from changing markets, policies, technologies and public attitudes. Combine this with assessments of the physical risks from climate change to develop an integrated response.
- Assess your current level of carbon maturity. A simple audit will reveal your strengths and weaknesses, and where action is needed to strengthen your ability to cut emissions.
- Measure and report emissions. Identify what to measure, how best to do it, and how to report and verify emissions data. Assess the embodied and operational emissions associated with assets, systems and buildings.
- Provide design and engineering solutions to drive emissions down. We have the engineering expertise across sectors to assess and implement low carbon solutions including energy and resource efficiency, low carbon energy supply, materials reuse and substitution, and asset repurposing. Use digital tools like our Moata Carbon Portal to identify capital and operational carbon ‘hot spots’ in infrastructure projects and design solutions to reduce emissions.
- Deliver balanced, sustainable solutions. Apply a systems lens to develop solutions that not only reduce emissions but also build climate resilience, deliver better social outcomes and support thriving biodiversity and ecosystems. Examples include nature-based solutions and regenerative and biophilic design in buildings and infrastructure.
- Integrate whole-life carbon management into decision-making. Apply international standards for carbon management in your business case, investment appraisal, procurement, delivery and management processes, and unlocking value in your supply chain.
- Offset and remove emissions. Cutting emissions to zero should be the goal. But where this is simply unfeasible there is a role for offsetting and removing emissions. This means utilising credible mechanisms to reduce emissions elsewhere and remove carbon from the atmosphere. We can help you navigate emerging guidance and meet the highest international standards.
A hierarchy for cutting carbon
Our approach to managing carbon is founded in over quarter of a century of experience working with clients around the world and across sectors. It is informed by PAS 2080, the international standard for managing infrastructure carbon (which we co-authored) and ISO 16745, the standard for measuring carbon in buildings.
Your organisation’s purpose, obligations, objectives and challenges shape its needs – and its emissions. Starting with a baseline against which reduction targets can be set and measured, our approach addresses:
- Capital carbon – emissions associated with creating, enhancing or extending an asset, including emissions arising from materials, manufacturing, transport and construction activities.
To reduce capital carbon, the first question is: must you build anything at all? Can a need be challenged, or met by changing the way existing assets are operated?
Where new assets are required, can construction be minimised by using innovative design and operation solutions? Can modern methods of construction reduce material use and waste?
- Operational carbon – emissions arising from operating and maintaining assets, including electricity and fuel, consumables and items that require regular replacement.
Today, with fossil fuels still a large part of the energy mix in many places, operational carbon is often the larger contributor to whole-life emissions. This will change over time, but in the near-term operational energy savings are important for emissions reduction. In the long-term, they will remain important for saving cost. Operational savings come from: understanding and influencing demand, knowing how assets are performing in real-time, gaining insight from patterns and trends, tuning the performance of assets to conditions, identifying where maintenance or repair are required, targeting investment where it will make the biggest difference, and applying digital technology to physical infrastructure
PAS 2080 – a world first
In the last decade we have helped set the low carbon agenda in the infrastructure sector. We were lead author of the UK government’s seminal Infrastructure Carbon Review in 2013, and co-authored PAS 2080, the international standard for managing infrastructure carbon, in 2016.
Why get PAS 2080 accreditation? It will reassure your board, shareholders, investors, insurers and regulators that carbon is being effectively managed and targets are being achieved. PAS 2080 provides organisations across the infrastructure value chain with practical ‘how to’ guidance and a consistent approach to carbon management; it can be applied at any level of carbon maturity.
PAS 2080 is compatible with international standards for building information modelling (BIM) and information management.
In 2018, we were the first consultant to be externally accredited to PAS 2080. Having written it and been through the verification process ourselves, we know what it takes and support our clients worldwide in achieving accreditation for themselves.
Moata Carbon Portal – shining a light on emissions
Moata Carbon Portal is a tool for modelling the capital and operational carbon of new assets. It employs comprehensive infrastructure industry carbon databases and can be integrated with BIM, enabling the carbon impacts of design changes to be visualised as they are made. Its true power is in the early stages of planning and design when different options are being considered: by shining a light on carbon, it facilitates discussion about how best to cut emissions, considering capital and operational cost, and wider environmental and social implications.
Carbon Portal sits within our technology platform, Moata, which integrates multiple projects and services, providing joined up solutions.