Our carbon reduction journey

Our ambition is clear; we will be a net-zero company by 2030 and have the action plan and experience in place to deliver upon this pledge.

As we acknowledge and respond to the climate emergency, ETL has been updating our environmental policy and specifically what measures we can take to reduce our carbon emissions. We have had an externally accredited ISO 14001 Environmental Management Policy in place since 2019, but wanted to build on this with a more ambitious approach.

Sidrap Wind Farm Project Indonesia Gold Standard verified

Sidrap Wind Farm Project, Indonesia

Strategy

Our sustainability team, led by, Lucy Symons-Jones, developed an ETL Decarbonisation Strategy, a service we frequently provide for the NHS and other Public Sector organisations. ETL has agreed to accept the team's recommendations which can be summarised in three core principles:

  • Become a net-zero carbon consultancy, achieving a balance between the carbon emitted into the atmosphere, and the carbon removed from it.
  • Accelerate carbon reduction efforts of our clients through the services we provide.
  • Work together to embed sustainability at the heart of the way we do business.

Implementation

Having agreed on the principles, our first task was to baseline our carbon emissions for scopes 1,2 and readily available data on scope 3. This analysis was undertaken by Hannah Callingham, Consultant, in the sustainability team who advised us to avoid the results being skewed by the 2020 Covid lockdown and recommended we baselined our emissions on 2019. The leadership team were surprised at the result which came out an estimated 68t.

Context

We considered the additional actions we could take, beyond what we do already. For example, ETL has committed to an annual carbon emissions disclosure, we will explore zero-carbon offices on expiry of our current leases (2025), using video meetings to minimise travel, switching our electricity supplier to a renewable tariff and implementing an Electric Vehicle scheme for our employees to name but a few of our initiatives. Guided by our sustainability team we will continue to find ways to reduce our corporate carbon footprint and have further committed to the ‘Pledge to Net Zero’ - a public pledge that ensures that we at ETL will achieve a greenhouse gas (GHG) target in line with 1.5°C, publicly report GHG emissions and progress against this target each year. In addition, we provide support to smaller signatory companies in setting targets, reporting and meeting the requirements of the pledge.

Our plan is to grow our sustainability support and integrate it more fully into all our services so that carbon reduction and sustainability are at the forefront of all our projects, programmes and operations and our clients are able to achieve their route to net-zero carbon.

Taking first steps

However, we still had to face our existing 68t of emissions. Rob Miller who had recently joined as an Associate in our sustainability team asked why we didn’t already offset our carbon emissions for which we had no answer other than we had not considered it previously. We, therefore, decided to offset our emissions with immediate effect and have further committed to reducing the offset year on year with actual carbon reductions, so that we hold ourselves to account against the commitments we have made. We are aware that Carbon off-setting is controversial, however, we were well advised by our sustainability team in the selection of the scheme we chose to support.

When the Directors asked our team to investigate carbon offsetting, I evaluated several schemes before recommending Gold Standard due to their reputation around the rigour of their approach and the broader social value of the projects they support. I prepared a shortlist for the Directors and from this we selected Sidrap Wind Farm Project, Indonesia. This project reduces Indonesia’s dependence on fossil fuels for power generation, promotes equal pay for work of equal value, reduces air pollution, and raises awareness of climate change mitigation

ETL Graduate | Sustainability

Ben Learoyd

The journey has just started

We have therefore made considerable progress down the pathway to net zero, however, our journey is not yet complete. Nonetheless, our ambition is clear; we will be a net-zero company by 2030 and have the action plan and experience in place to deliver upon this pledge.