Since becoming the first architectural practice in the world in 2017 (and one of the first SMEs) to have approved science-based targets, we have significantly reduced Scope 1,2 and 3 emissions and have consistently raised the ambition of our targets. In 2019, following the September Global Climate Strike and our declaration of a climate emergency, we made a number of rapid changes, from giving staff extra low-carbon travel holiday days to implementing a policy that effectively eliminated all of our business flights (pre-Covid). We have also completed our first net-zero building, with one of the largest net-zero offices in the UK currently on site.
As COP26 draws closers, and as members of UN's Race To Zero Campaign, Business Ambition for 1.5° and Architects Declare we are yet again ready to ratchet up our ambition. Following on from the most recent climate strike, where we again closed our doors and discussed climate ambition at all levels of the business, we are ready to announce our next series of commitments starting with:
Race to Zero
We became signatories of Race to Zero via our 1.5 degree aligned science-based targets, which expire in this year. Whilst many Race To Zero targets are based 50% reductions by 2030 from a 2018 baseline year, the actual wording is “fair share of the 50% global reduction in CO2 by 2030”, and as the UK has the fifth highest cumulative carbon emissions in the world, it could be argued that we have missed any “fair” target already. We therefore commit to a 75% reduction by 2030 for all scope 1,2 and business travel emissions from a 2018 baseline and will set a target for remaining (but smaller) scope 3 emissions this year.
We also commit to all “leadership” elements of the Race to Zero pledge including reporting our target as a cumulative budget (to make sure we don’t make all of reductions at the last minute). This also includes a pledge that all residual emissions will be matched by long-term removals by 2030. Until that time, we are also committing to the UKGBC renewables and offsets guidance, whereby all offsets will not only be high-quality, but also matched by a £80/tonne transition fund, which from 2022 we will be using to fund external Climate Change related agents (such as the Anthropocene Architecture School, ACAN and LETI).
Keep an eye out for our next announcement coming up where we will announce our commitments in how we design and communicate about our projects.