NERC achieves standard on action towards net zero

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The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is the first public sector organisation to be recognised by the Carbon Trust for its steps towards net zero.

NERC has achieved the ‘taking action’ tier of the Carbon Trust’s Route to Net Zero Standard.

The Route to Net Zero Standard is a robust and independent assessment of an organisation’s steps towards achieving net zero carbon emissions. It helps organisations measure and manage their emissions, inform carbon reduction strategies, and align targets for the future.

Aim is net zero by 2040

Professor Sir Duncan Wingham, Executive Chair of NERC, said:

Environmental science is at the heart of research that both looks at the impacts of human activity on the environment and at the changes we can make to reduce that impact.

The Carbon Trust certification demonstrates NERC’s commitment to lead the way on meeting net zero targets well ahead of the UK deadline. At the same time, we recognise that we are only starting on this road and much needs to be done for us to reach net zero.

NERC invests £330 million a year in cutting-edge environmental science research, postgraduate training and innovation in universities and research centres.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), NERC’s parent organisation, has committed to reach net zero by 2040 at the latest, 10 years or more ahead of the deadline set for the UK as a whole.

All UKRI councils are looking at how they:

  • use energy and materials
  • procure goods and services
  • manage sites for biodiversity
  • improve the impact of funded research and innovation
  • lower the environmental impact of new research and innovation infrastructure

Award recognises reduction in emissions

The Carbon Trust standard recognises that NERC has reduced its location-based scope one and two and business travel carbon footprint by 0.4% on an absolute basis from the 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021 baseline to 2021 to 2022.

Furthermore, although it does not count toward this certification, NERC have achieved a reduction of their location-based emissions of over 11% between 2019 to 2020 and 2021 to 2022.

It also recognises that NERC has the policies and measures in place to manage its carbon performance on a day-to-day basis and integrate it into planning and decision-making.

The NERC strategic delivery plan commits the organisation to develop detailed and costed plans to reach net zero by 2040.

‘Taking action’ is the first of three tiers under the Carbon Trust certification. The next two tiers are ‘advancing’ and ‘leading’.

The Carbon Trust has made a set of recommendations for how NERC can move to the next level of certification, including improving understanding of NERC’s scope three footprint and the steps required to drive decarbonisation in this area.

Top image:  Credit: Oleksandr Filon, iStock, Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

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