Turner & Townsend commits to global net zero greenhouse gas emissions roadmap

Posted On Tuesday, 17 August 2021 14:51 Published by
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Global professional services consultancy, Turner & Townsend, has committed to a comprehensive roadmap that will see the business achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Stellenbosch University Neelsie PV Project South Africa

The company’s programme follows guidance from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) based on limiting global heating by 1.5C within the next 100 years. 

The roadmap has been verified by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) which is established with backing from the United Nations Global Compact and the Worldwide Fund for Nature to ensure strategies are robust, achievable and measurable. Turner & Townsend is one of relatively few companies worldwide with a verified approach to addressing the climate crisis. 

The strategy seeks to break new ground by tackling both direct and indirect emissions generated by Turner & Townsend’s global operations, including that of its value chain.  It is supported by a business-wide campaign - ‘NewLeaf’, to drive behavioural change in how emissions are understood, measured and reduced.

Says Vincent Clancy, Chairman and Chief Executive at Turner & Townsend: “Climate action can only be achieved through long-term commitment to change.  Our strategy programme will ensure we reach net zero by 2030. Most importantly, it also already looks beyond that deadline to ensure that we can maintain momentum on tackling third party emissions across our entire value chain.

“By adopting a global strategy, we have aligned our plan with best practice, with endorsement from the Science Based Targets Initiative and supporting UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

“We are making these commitments because we are passionate about climate action and because we know that as consultants and advisors on the world’s largest capital investment programmes in infrastructure, real estate and natural resources, we are in a position to make a difference. Building on our own action, our aim is to help establish an industry-wide programmatic approach to meeting net zero.”

Direct emissions, known as Scope 1 emissions, include energy use at company facilities, as well as for company vehicles. Purchased energy then falls under the category of Scope 2.  Turner & Townsend will reduce its emissions within these two categories by 4.2 percent annually and by 50 percent by 2030, including a transition to 80 percent renewable energy by 2025 and improving energy efficiency within its offices by 75 percent within the same timeframe.

Scope 3 emissions – which include those generated by Turner & Townsend’s wider value chain including areas such as employee commuting, purchased services and goods and financial investments – are also covered by the roadmap, with a target of 15 percent reduction of these emissions by 2030.  Early measures within the strategy include reducing business travel emissions by 8.7 percent by 2025. 

To date, industry-wide action on net zero has more typically focused on Scopes 1 and 2.  However, it is Scope 3 emissions that contribute most to Turner & Townsend’s overall carbon footprint, making these a priority within the business’ strategy as it seeks to transform its environmental performance and that of its client base within natural resources, infrastructure and real estate.

The programme builds on steps taken to already reduce emissions per employee by 54 percent since 2015 and includes an emphasis on capitalising on lessons learnt during the Covid-19 pandemic to keep emissions below levels seen prior to March 2020 – for example by limiting the nature and quantity of business travel.

The strategy includes a major investment in four global projects which are delivering natural climate solutions, while also offsetting Turner & Townsend’s emissions through the transition to net zero. The projects – which include support for a series of forest conservation programmes in Zimbabwe and Brazil, five green energy schemes in India, and sustainable agriculture in Laos (details below) – have been chosen due to their emphasis on delivering sustainable income streams and social value for communities which are currently economically reliant on the destruction and removal of natural carbon sinks.

Collectively, investment in these projects saw the business achieve carbon neutrality from January 2021.  Over time the net zero programme will transition from offsetting to a greater focus on operational measures.

Says Dennis Nolan, Turner & Townsend Director, Clean Energy Lead, Africa: “In addition, we are assisting world-leading diamond company, De Beers, in managing mine closures across the world – currently three in Canada and South Africa, as well as continued mine closure planning across their wider portfolio. The integrated planning and management of mine rehabilitation and closure is recognised as an essential aspect during all phases of the mining lifecycle, and includes regulatory and environmental compliance, post-mining land use and socio-economic plans to rehabilitate the land and support local communities through the transition.

“Meanwhile in South Africa’s Cape Winelands, we were recently involved in managing two projects for Stellenbosch University which is on a drive to reduce its carbon footprint by implementing various energy saving initiatives. These two projects comprised the installation of a Photovoltaic Panel Solar System on the Neelsie building, and the reduction of water usage through the largest greywater project in Africa. The latter system collects shower water from the student residences, treats it and uses it to flush 1 300 toilets in 14 student residence buildings. This is the first time such a system has been installed in a higher education institution.”

Last modified on Thursday, 26 August 2021 14:57

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