Arup has committed to achieving net zero emissions across its entire operations by 2030, covering everything from the energy used in offices to goods and services purchased. To achieve this, the firm has set a target to reduce its scope 1, 2 and 3 global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 per cent within the next five years from a 2018 baseline.
The target, validated by the Science Based Target initiative, has been classified as ambitious as it exceeds the minimum requirements for keeping global temperature rise under 1.5oC (read a case study about the use of science based targets in the second Low Carbon Pledge report). In addition, Arup is also committing to purchasing Gold Standard certified offsets for all domestic and international flights and to compensate for other residual hard to decarbonise emissions with high quality, certified GHG removal from 2030.
Vowing not to return to business as usual post-COVID-19, the firm will apply a carbon levy of $40USD per tonne to flights taken by employees in a bid to change behaviours across the firm. The proceeds will be used to establish an Arup Carbon Fund to find and invest in ways of reducing and removing carbon, including supporting local community projects.
As one of 58 signatory companies of the BITC Low Carbon Pledge, Arup is part of a network of companies accelerating new approaches and business models to help the world decarbonise. The firm is working with organisations including the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, The Resilience Shift and the Global Resilient Cities Network to enhance the resilience of cities and communities to increasing shocks and stresses resulting from climate change, including drought, water scarcity and food supply disruption.
Clodagh O’Donovan, Ireland Planning Team Lead at Arup, commented: “Flattening the climate change curve is vital to create a more sustainable future. We are taking steps to reduce carbon emissions in our own operations and through our project work. From advising cities on resilient infrastructure and renewable energy solutions to helping companies with climate change impact and risk assessments, we recognise that the greatest difference we can make is by working with our clients and communities. We have recently expanded our Climate Change and Carbon Advisory team and are delighted to welcome Dr. Matt Kennedy, a driving force in delivering carbon and climate initiatives, who is bringing his significant experience in delivering low carbon strategies and sustainable development actions at a city, corporate, national and infrastructure scale.”
Cynthia Cummis, Director of Private Sector Climate Mitigation at World Resources Institute, one of the Science Based Targets initiative partners, said: “We congratulate Arup for setting emissions reduction targets that are in line with keeping global warming to 1.5oC. By setting targets that are grounded in climate science, Arup is ensuring they are getting on the right track now to meeting their net-zero goal and are showing that ambitious climate action and good, resilient business go hand in hand.”
Read Arup’s Net Zero Carbon Strategy, including plans across the four action areas of energy, waste, purchasing and travel here.
Hear from Matt Kennedy Associate Director Carbon & Climate at Arup on the importance of setting targets based on science.