WWA’s Carbon Neutral Commitment

We’re in. We are committing to be Carbon Neutral by 2025… or earlier!

With COP26 now reaching its conclusion it is in equal parts inspiring and frustrating to see the UK, alongside national governments and businesses from around the globe, beginning to lead the way and committing to reaching carbon neutral emissions. The tide is finally beginning to turn and clearer targets and actions are now being put in place at a global level to address our changing climate. Also, in our Built Environment and Construction sector, a major source of both UK and global emissions, the UK Green Building Council has just launched the ‘Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap: A Pathway to Net Zero for the UK Built Environment’, what can potentially start to set out meaningful actions for us all to focus our efforts on in coming years.

At Ward Williams Associates we have been conscious of the impact the construction industry has on our natural environment for a long time. The industry as a whole is one of the biggest contributors to the UK’s carbon footprint, accounting for 38% of all COemissions. Sustainability has been a continual factor in how we have grown and moved the business forward, whether operationally or through our services.

Over a decade ago we implemented the WWA “Green Team”. This led to sustainability-focused actions such as our adoption of an Electric Vehicle Fleet in 2018 and set us on the road to becoming the first Chartered Surveyors in the world to achieve B Corp Certification, an independent accreditation that is the benchmark for truly sustainable businesses. In 2021, we have taken significant steps to review, baseline and set out an achievable plan for the implementation of becoming Carbon Neutral as a business. We are focused on doing this right from the outset through setting robust Science-Based Targets and deliverables that provide a clear roadmap to reaching our goals.

We have been able to baseline our emissions from 2019 through to 2020 which gives a pre-pandemic view of what “business as usual” looks like. This baseline was essential in the preparation of our roadmap to carbon neutrality – after all, you can’t work out where you are going if you don’t know where you have come from. Our data has shown us that as a business we emit 93 tonnes of CO2  per year through our energy consumption, travel and wider operations. This figure will have already seen a reduction from previous years through investment in office improvements, energy-saving technology, and our fleet of Electric Pool Cars, however, we know we still had a long way to go to reach Carbon Neutral as a business.

This year we have been working with the University of Exeter’s Global Sustainability programme to finalise our roadmap to becoming Carbon Neutral. Our partnership with the University of Exeter saw us appointing two Masters students this summer to help review best practices, progress a programme of workshops with the WWA team, and develop a framework to further refine our goals with research-based targets.

By working with expert external parties alongside our team, a potentially complex and daunting process has been simplified to straightforward actions and unambiguous goals.

To best establish a way forward and provide a robust and meaningful approach we enlisted the support of Aardvark Environmental Management. Aardvark is a specialist in carbon review and the development of action plans for businesses and works with clients such as the British Red Cross, Redrow Homes and Heathrow Airport. Their approach is to embed clear, Science-Based Targets for teams to implement in their day-to-day operations.

Aardvark EM Ltd is proud to work with Ward Williams Associates towards designing and implementing their CO2e reduction strategy to achieve Carbon Neutral by 2025, in line with the principles established by the Science-Based Targets initiative.

WWA’s progress towards becoming Carbon Neutral will be monitored and certified by Aardvark’s independent certification arm, Aardvark Certification Limited.” Sara Ferretti, Aardvark EM Ltd.   

WWA’s Senior Partner Andy Snapes says, “As we now move into the implementation of our Carbon Neutral Action Plan, we aim to further build on the global movement within carbon reduction in a truly meaningful way.  From encouraging sustainable transport for our team and stakeholders, supporting staff cycling and EV infrastructure at our offices, to working with landlords to decarbonize our office premises we are passionate about doing our utmost for the Race to Zero”.

“In parallel with our own business carbon neutral aims, we are wholeheartedly committed to working across the built environment sector to help drive truly sustainable outcomes in the design, construction and use of assets. Collaboration with our sector partners, clients and stakeholders to enable this to happen is going to be crucial. This is an exciting point in time for us all in delivering the buildings and infrastructure for tomorrow’s society in a way which does not compromise the planet.”

As a B Corporation and part of the B Corp Climate Collective, we have joined The UN “Climate Change Race to Zero” which brings together 733 cities, 31 regions, 3,067 businesses, 173 investors, and 622 Higher Education Institutions. These ‘real economy’ actors join 120 countries in the largest ever alliance committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest. Collectively these actors now cover nearly 25% of global CO2 emissions and over 50% of GDP.

Collective change is needed and initiatives like the “Race to Zero” campaign and certifications like B Corp are all positive steps to creating a more sustainable world. We will continue to share the changes we are making and our progress on reaching our target of being Carbon Neutral by 2025 or earlier.

If you are interested in collaborating with us or want to find out more about our commitment to becoming Carbon Neutral please contact scottjames@wwa.uk.com.

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