Why did the Energy Institute sign up for the Pledge?
The Energy Institute is a science-based learned institute. Our role is to promote best practice across the energy system, including the faster transition to a low carbon energy system. Furthermore, the EI is a market leader in the provision of training and qualifications for professionals involved in energy and carbon management. It is therefore crucial to act as a leader in respect of our own impacts.
Our President Steve Holliday FREng FEI explains further:
“The climate emergency demands changes in behaviour across the board – from governments, businesses and societies. The EI is resolved to end its own impact on the climate and is joining a growing number of organisations on an ambitious but managed journey to net zero. We do not yet have all of the answers, but I hope our members, partners and customers will be inspired to follow.”
The Energy Institute (EI) is the not-for-profit professional membership body bringing together expertise to tackle urgent global challenges. The EI became a signatory of the Pledge in May 2020 and is committed to driving the transition to a low carbon future. As an institution, it is aiming to end its own impact to the climate and through its extensive network of individual and company members to also encourage organisations across the energy industry to embark on their own carbon reduction journeys.
Learn more about their experience from Apostolos Gkrimpas, Training Manager at the Energy Institute.
What was the process like for setting your target & understanding your GHG footprint?
We were fortunate in two respects. First, that we were able to draw on our network of expert professionals in developing our baseline and setting our targets, including from our own energy management training tutors. Second, that our staff team and governing council are highly supportive of taking an ambitious approach.
We have adopted the most ambitious science-based methodologies applicable, amounting to a reduction of 26.2% by 2025, moving to 47.9% by 2030 and 67.9% by 2035, an ambitious trajectory that will be achieved without offsets. It will set up the EI to reach net zero well before 2050.
What activities have you included in your scope and why?
The emissions covered by the targets include those relating to the EI’s London head office and business travel undertaken by staff. We also committed to conduct further work to understand the indirect impact of the EI’s activities, in particular scope 3 emissions relating to events. These will be considered for inclusion in reporting in future years, following engagement with the EI branch network.
Have you experienced any challenges in setting your target or understanding your GHG footprint and if so, how have you overcome them?
The challenges we expect are more likely to be in achieving the targets, rather than in how we set them. Our premises are Grade II* listed and therefore, there are some limitations to improvements that can be made. Furthermore, as a charity, our recourse to funding is always a challenge.
We are also a growing international body, meaning long haul travel is necessary, so we expect this to also lead to challenges. But we are confident we can work through these, in particular through creative behaviour change and staff awareness activities.
Why do you think it is important for the environmental services sector to take action on the transition to a low carbon future?
Net zero for a small organisation like the EI will have only a minor mitigative impact on climate change. But the rationale for organisations like ours doing so is strong and twofold.
First, to help build a body of experience, evidence and lessons, by showing it can be done and how. But second, to have the moral authority and credibility to encourage others to confidently embark on their own net zero journey and take the necessary steps.
Do you have anything else you would like to add?
The EI’s Chief Executive Louise Kingham OBE FEI has spoken of the possibilities opened by the experience of COVID-19 and the lockdown:
“The experience of COVID-19 is transforming the net zero equation.
Technology is enabling the EI to operate as reliably as ever, extending access to energy expertise, increasing our reach and relevance to many more than before. With all things digital and remote being the new normal, the technology has challenged us to go faster.
I expect this new norm to be sustained. Will we meet again at large conferences and other events? I believe so, as we are social beings at our core, but I think it will take time and the reasons for doing so might have changed.
Discontinuity has challenged us all. But it has also inspired us to innovate, to change our mindset, and to live life better. I think we must all build on those improvements going forward for the good it will create.”
What actions will the Energy Institute be taking to reduce GHG emissions?
We had already made endeavours to improve energy efficiency at our central London head office following a recent major refurbishment project. Improvements include the installation of additional solar panels on the roof of our premises, an energy efficient air handling unit with a rotary heat exchanger and LED lighting.
But pledging to net zero is far more ambitious. Setting the level of ambition is the first of many steps. The EI will now develop plans for the delivery of the emission reductions required, initially through a combination of building optimisation and behaviour change measures.
Our energy and environment policy will be crucial for ensuring our commitment is incorporated into our strategy and operations at our premises, that staff are appropriately aware and trained, that we procure environment-friendly goods and services and promote energy efficient travel.
We will publicly report greenhouse gas emissions and progress against this target each year, as we believe transparency and disclosure are vital to the credibility of these endeavours.