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Practice What We Preach: Our Net Zero Targets

28 May, 2021

At Rio, we are committed to practising what we preach which is why we recently set science-based targets to achieve Net Zero within our organisation. Learn more about the entire process including how we calculated our carbon footprint, the targets we have set, and our next steps.

Written by Rio ESG
Practice What We Preach: Our Net Zero Targets

Our Manifesto

The Rio manifesto highlights the principles that drive us and the commitments we’ve made to our employees, customers, communities, and planet. There are 12 principles in our manifesto and the last principle focuses on practising what we preach. 

We are a sustainability software company that believes sustainability is for everyone and we are on a mission to make it more accessible. We support our clients to reduce their carbon footprint and make a positive impact on the planet so it is in our ethos to lead the way and show our clients what is possible. 

This is why in 2019 we became signatories of the Pledge to Net Zero. The Pledge to Net Zero is a UK initiative that encourages the environmental service sector to take a leadership role in the transition to a Net Zero carbon economy. The initiative requires signatories to set science-based targets to tackle GHG emissions within their organisation.

 

Determining Our Carbon Footprint

The first step in the process was data collection. This was a challenging feat! However, as we have close relationships with our suppliers, we were able to gather data from a variety of sources and used best practice estimation methodology for the sources which were not possible at the given time. This process also informed the year which we selected as our baseline year. It is recommended to select a baseline year for which there is the most data, which at this stage was FY19/20. 


Using Rio, we were able to input all data collected and our platform automatically categorised emissions (using the GHG Protocol guidance), into Scope 1, 2 and 3 (here is a detailed explanation of the three scopes) to determine our final carbon footprint for FY19/20.

Carbon Scopes (3)

Our Carbon Footprint By Scope Displayed in Rio

As a service-based organisation, it was expected that our Scope 3 emissions would account for the majority of our total footprint - with the overwhelming majority being related to transport and travel. Once we determined our footprint, the next step was to assess various target scenarios and select the most ambitious approach that aligns with our business.

 

Science-based Targets & Going Beyond Net Zero

All scientific sources point to the need for organisations to align to a 1.5 degrees warming scenario in order to limit global warming. We recognise this urgency and have set the following targets. 

 

  1. To reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by at least 42% by FY2030/31 from an FY 2019/20 base year.
  2. To reduce Scope 3 emissions by at least 30% by FY2030/31 from an FY2019/20 base year.

Both of our targets are aligned to the most ambitious target-setting method as recommended by the Science-based Targets Initiative (SBTi). We will also be looking to have our targets validated by the SBTi through their official verification process.

While we will be working to reduce our total emissions each year in order to achieve the targets set out above, we will also be offsetting our total carbon footprint on an annual basis through best practice offsets + 10%. This means that we will be actively offsetting our residual emissions and essentially being climate positive, though we appreciate this is largely a result of offsetting at this point in time.

 

Next Steps

We are implementing a number of initiatives to enable carbon reductions. First, we will look to continuously gather resource data from other relevant sources in our boundary to increase the granularity and accuracy of our carbon footprint moving forward. For example, we will be including emissions from working from home in our footprint for FY2020/21. Some other activities that we will be implementing include:

  • Sourcing 100% renewable electricity for all company offices 
  • Offsetting all GHG emissions through Gold Standard offsets
  • Implementing an internal sustainable travel policy that encourages employees to make sustainable decisions in terms of the most sustainable travel options, be that public transport, air travel, the bicycle we ride or even the car we choose to drive.
  • Ensuring our staff undertake training and develop skills in relation to carbon, clean technologies, energy efficiency and Net Zero. 

As a rapidly growing business, we have implemented a recalculation policy where will be reviewing our baseline year and targets annually to ensure that we are always using the latest guidance in our methodology and approach to achieving Net Zero. This is particularly prevalent as our team has more than tripled in size since we made the pledge.

 

Supporting Our Clients

Our mission is to make sustainability accessible to all. Our clients are from various sectors and of many different sizes and our aim is to not only support them to reduce their environmental impact but to also help them create a positive impact on the planet. Therein lies our greatest opportunity to drive climate action. We are dedicated to supporting our clients with their sustainability journey and their transition towards Net Zero.

If you have any questions about our process or need guidance with determining your organisations own carbon footprint and setting science-based targets, get in touch.

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