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Sustainability: Measuring Emissions

Measuring emissions – what are we measuring?

As we started to investigate measuring emissions as part of our sustainability project, we quite quickly realised it’s not just looking at how much electricity we use or how much travelling we do. It has a much wider impact.  We were fortunate enough to have taken on a graduate intern for the summer of 2021 and as part of his Masters, he was looking at sustainability. We jumped at the chance to train him to deliver the beginning of our project. Once he’d completed the training, we then needed to find a tool to enable us to measure emissions.

What tool did we use to measure emissions?

We selected the QAS-Certified Business Carbon Footprint Audit Tool from Clear as its level of complexity matched the amount of detail that we were able to extract from the information we had available.

Now we had our tool we could move on to measuring our emissions. We decided to use 2019 as a baseline because it was the last ‘normal’ full year (before the pandemic shifted our use of carbon by delivering more training through Live Online platforms.)

The emissions we measured were as follows:

1. Logistics & commuting

As we mentioned in our last blog, travel & logistics are the largest part of our day-to-day workings, as we come to your site to train.  These emissions needed to include trainers travelling to the site, staff to the office, how we get the training materials to our trainers, and the posting of exams and certificates. The way we measured was through a multitude of invoices, spreadsheets, and conversations with our trainers.  It was the biggest part of our measuring and took a few months to complete.

Did you know in 2019, for each examined course, we would post a pre-course pack to the site and post the course materials to the trainer? Then the exams would be posted to us to be processed and onto the exam board for marking. Finally, the certificates would be posted to us, and we would post them to the course booker! Phew, that’s a lot of posting!

2. Hotels & flights

As you can imagine hotels are a necessary part of the logistics for our training.  Some sites are simply just too far for a trainer to drive daily. Fortunately, flights were usually a small part of our logistics, very few were taken in 2019. However, this was an important part of delivering training to more remote parts of Scotland and to cover Irish sites.

Did you know when calculating a hotel stay, you need to consider laundry & staff commuting to the hotel, not just what the hotel’s emissions are for you to stay there?

3. Energy

Energy was a relatively simple one to find out. All the energy we used was from our office based near Leeds. All office staff worked from the office so the energy bill was all we needed to find out our energy usage.

Did you know in 2019 we used a utility supplier with 100% renewable electricity and entirely carbon-neutral gas, so we didn’t have to include this in our emissions?

Now we have measured 2019 emissions, we will be comparing them with 2022 emissions. Watch this space as we calculate 2022 emissions at the end of the year. We’ll let you know our results, giving us our next steps on how we’ll reduce emissions and plan to rebalance.

In our next blog, we will be showing you what steps we have already taken to reduce our printing & stationary in 2021 and through 2022.

Have a look at our previous blog. Starting our sustainability journey for more details on why we started looking at our emissions.

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