Sustainable Global Mobility — how can you report, reduce and remove carbon from your business for good?
Customers, regulators and investors are increasingly asking all of us to measure, disclose and take action on our contribution to climate change. As a business responsible for relocating people and their possessions to new places around the world, that’s a challenge and an opportunity for us.
In this edition of Reloverse, we assess the risks of doing nothing and examine the fastest, most rigorous and results-driven way to tackle the task head-on.
Define and conquer
We’re essentially a service industry with offices and warehouses, not an energy-intensive manufacturer making iron, concrete or cement. But we do rely on transport, over land, sea and air—a sector hugely reliant on fossil fuels. While a long-haul flight today generates around half the CO2 it would have in 1990, the effect of moving 25,000 people a year is significant. Helpfully, our environmental impacts—direct and indirect—can be separated into three different scopes and two complementary methods of measuring them. This is useful in carving up a seemingly insurmountable obstacle into bite-sized pieces to understand, measure and mitigate against.
Scope to improve
The Greenhouse Gas Protocol splits all our activities into three categories. Scope 1 emissions come from sources controlled or owned by your organisation—ranging from furnices to vehicles, Scope 2 covers the energy we buy to heat, light and cool our operations, while Scope 3 centres on our value chain and day-to-day business impacts—from business travel to waste disposal. The last of these is the focal point, as it often accounts for over 80% of an organisation’s emissions.
Top to bottom
Assessing and benchmarking your impacts may seem daunting. But goal-based measurement works at high and granular levels. A high-level audit is essentially a company-wide survey to identify hotspots, while granular measures focus on specific products, processes or projects. The standard high-level approach is to estimate and quantify pollutants using financial data, then apply a formula, or multiplier, using what are known as emissions factors. The more standard your business activity is, the easier this is to do. If you do something unusual or out of the ordinary, the benchmark data required to do the calculations can be harder to find or rely on. The big benefit of high-level measurement is that it can be done quickly. With the right approach, mandate and support, it’s possible to understand your broad carbon footprint in a matter of days. The granular work is more precise, often using lifecycle assessments focussed on specific suppliers or manufacturing methods. It’s robust, comprehensive and actionable. The end goal is to capture every gram of carbon in your business—but fine detail needs to be balanced with insight and data that make wholesale change as painless as possible.
DIY or outsourced solutions
There’s no shortage of software solutions or climate consultants, and many firms we work with have in-house project teams tasked with transitioning toward net zero. After much analysis and matchmaking, Santa Fe carefully selected a partner called Watershed. Our ESG team uploads data directly from our systems into the Watershed portal, which is then cleaned, checked and structured to help us identify and address gaps. The Watershed platform then uses predictive intelligence to analyse and isolate our highest-impact reduction opportunities, displaying detailed data in clear visual formats—at high and granular levels. It will help us measure, report and act on our impacts—mapping our footprint, documenting disclosure and setting targets for decarbonising our global operations. Importantly, a third-party supplier with a proven process straightens the learning curve and keeps everyone accountable.
Why, not what
Dominic Offer, Santa Fe’s ESG Manager, sums up the reasons to act now, saying “There are three key things driving carbon accounting up our corporate agenda. First, there’s the business imperative: we sit in the value chains of large organisations which are under pressure from shareholders and regulators to be transparent and answerable. So, there’s a commercial opportunity to become a supplier of choice. The second motivator is the climate imperative: the challenge of climate change requires all of us to make profound, comprehensive and urgent shifts if we’re to deliver a net zero global economy. And finally, for us, it’s about doing the right thing. That means taking responsibility, being brave and clear about our choices, not kicking the can down the road.”
This next step of counting our carbon emissions on a holistic scale is part of an exciting journey. Once we’ve cut every possible emission in our business and supply chain, our attention will turn to mitigating what we can’t remove through carbon credits and offsetting through carefully selected, credible programmes supported by Watershed. There are lots of exciting natural solutions emerging to help us restore the earth’s carbon sinks back toward balance—which we’ll be writing about soon in our Reloverse blog.
If you’re looking for a world-class, forward-thinking partner that understands we’re in a make-or-break decade for climate action, we would love to support you and your teams. Simply drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you.