GHG emissions remain the most material environmental impact associated with operating our global offices and the business travel we undertake to serve our clients' needs.
We strive to continue to grow our business while simultaneously reducing the growth of our GHG emissions per employee.
We set a target for FY14 to reduce our total emissions by 3 percent per full-time equivalent (FTE) employee from an FY13 baseline. We have made good progress against this target, although the final FY14 reduction was 2.1 percent, from 5.33 tCO2e emissions per FTE down to 5.22 tCO2e emissions per FTE. This is, in part, due to a lower than anticipated number of FTEs in FY14.
Our total GHG emissions in FY14 was 23,786 tCO2e, down more than 5 percent from our FY13 baseline of 25,126 tCO2e emissions. Our largest source of GHG emissions is business travel, accounting for 54 percent of total emissions, followed by baseload and office electricity consumption, accounting for 34 and 12 percent of total emissions, respectively.
The nature of our business often requires ERM specialists to travel to undertake work for our clients. Where possible, we are focusing our efforts on reducing the amount of travel associated with internal meetings and using more environmentally friendly modes of transport to client sites. In FY14, we generated 12,774 tCO2e emissions via business travel, an 11 percent decrease from FY13. The majority of these emissions resulted from air travel, which accounts for 69 percent, or 8,786 tCO2e, of our business travel emissions.
We are also seeking to reduce the environmental footprint of our offices by locating progressively more offices to more resource-efficient green buildings in locations served with improved links to public transport to reduce the commuting footprint of our employees. An example of the impact of these moves is our Houston, Texas office in the U.S., which is one of our largest offices and moved from a space with a FY13 carbon footprint of 916.67 tCO2e to a space with a FY14 carbon footprint of 671.93 tCO2e, a 27 percent reduction in total GHG emissions. We anticipate the FY15 total footprint to be even lower, as the office will have been in its new space for the entire Fiscal Year.
Within our offices we are focusing on several areas to help reduce energy use, such as minimizing the office space we require through smarter building designs and new working practices. This, in turn, decreases heating and cooling costs and related emissions. In addition, we asked every office around the world to develop a sustainability action plan, with local initiatives to respond to the key issues identified. The action plans also incorporate global KPIs and targets. Local innovations were encouraged and these have been collated to share best practices around the world.
In FY13, we improved our methodology related to Scope 2 emissions by broadening our reporting scope to include energy consumption associated with shared and common areas of our offices (baseload energy) within our overall footprint, in line with industry best practice. This makes our intensity reduction target more challenging, requiring us to engage further with third-party building managers in order to influence the decisions they make relating to total building energy management, thereby potentially including areas of the buildings not leased directly by ERM.
For more information on emissions by scope (1, 2 and 3) and region see the Global Data section.
In FY14, we provided our offices with a revised set of Green Buildings Guidelines, which outline the sustainability considerations for all ERM office refurbishments and relocations. The guidelines encompass the life cycle of a building and offer guidance on the following key stages:
Over the coming year, we will focus on aspects of our footprint over which we have direct control - namely, office energy consumption and internal business travel. We will also use our influence to drive improvement across the indirect aspects that contribute to our footprint, such as energy use in shared areas of office buildings (baseload energy).
Our pilot Climate Resilience Strategy is also part of our longer-term business planning and approach to risk management. This year, we conducted the first phase of the project with a pilot study involving a number of offices impacted by weather events in recent years. The findings from this pilot will inform the next phases of work that look at business continuity and relationship to ERM's business strategy.
Helping Clients Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
ERM's Air Quality and Climate Change practice worked with a leading international oil and gas company to conduct an energy audit across its portfolio of offshore and onshore operations in Latin America, which impacted its GHG inventories.
The audit included the use of innovative visualization tools to help the client understand more clearly energy and emissions flow through their operations. We then took the data and developed actionable plans to achieve significant reductions in GHG emissions and energy consumption.
This provided the company with the potential to achieve a 30 percent reduction in GHG emissions and energy consumption across its Latin American portfolio, leading to potential savings of up to $160 million.
Doing Good through DoNation
The DoNation is a nonprofit organization that provides a framework to encourage people to reduce their carbon and water footprints through simple lifestyle changes. Through the ERM Foundation, we support DoNation with pro bono services, including carbon calculations to estimate the program’s impacts.
In 2013, ERM in the U.K. conducted a trial of the Do Good For Business toolkit in our offices, to raise the level of personal action on sustainability within our own organization, and we have now launched a competition among all U.K. offices in 2014. Eight teams pledged to take part in sustainability measures called DoActions — such as using stairs instead of elevators, turning off computers and other appliances at night, and making more efficient use of tea kettles. More than 100 participants track their efforts and CO2 savings online; anyone can view the status of DoActions and their impacts through the team’s website at www.thedonation.org.uk/erm. Through the end of FY14, 65 individuals had pledged to take actions corresponding to 9,000 kilograms of CO2 savings, and those numbers continue to grow.
ERM Offices in the United States Win Energy-Efficiency Awards
Our employees continually are looking to find creative solutions to reduce environmental impacts locally. In FY14, four of our U.S. offices received awards for sustainability achievements.
- Boston, Massachusetts: The Boston office won the month-long USEPA ENERGY STAR Cup Competition among other tenants in its building. ERM’s Boston office reduced its energy consumption by 20 percent, the highest in the competition, even after starting with the lowest energy use among all participants.
- Portland, Oregon: The City of Portland's Office of Sustainability awarded ERM's office in Portland a Gold Level Sustainability at Work award, the highest level possible, for its positive impact on the environment. The Portland office's environmental practices for managing waste, energy and transportation were key to receiving this honor.
- Seattle, Washington: The Seattle office received a Diamond Award for Outstanding Voluntary Program from King County, Washington, in recognition of its efforts to provide public transportation options to employees. The 40 ERM employees in Portland either take public transportation or telecommute, reducing single-car commuting by 70 percent.
- Washington, D.C.: The Washington office's building was a top finisher in the USEPA's ENERGY STAR 2013 National Building Competition. ERM and other tenants collaborated to reduce energy use in the building by 26 percent, achieving some of the highest savings among the 3,000 participants.
Nat Vanitchyangkul, Thailand
Sustainability Advisory Committee Member
I have been with ERM for over 15 years and currently serve as the Managing Partner of ERM Thailand. In addition, I lead the Environment program of ERM's Sustainability Advisory Committee, applying my expertise as ERM seeks to improve performance in this area. In this regard, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to mentor many young ERM professionals in creating innovative and sustainable approaches to improve business performance: becoming thought leaders in this area and sharing best practices with our clients.
In my position, I've had many great opportunities to help ERM and our clients work towards being responsible environmental stewards. Much of my time is spent coaching and advising senior executives from local and multinational corporations on realizing sustainable business value through corporate risk management, operational strategy, performance reporting, and improved environmental and social performance.