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% 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 1.5C.
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.
A carbon levy of $40USD per tonne is being applied 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.
Arup is working with organisations including the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to innovate and accelerate new approaches and business models to help the world decarbonise.
The firm is also working with 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.
Jo da Silva, Arup global sustainable development leader, said: “While the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic it is crucial that we do not take our eye off the ball when it comes to reducing emissions and managing the approaching risks because of climate change.
“We have taken these steps to consolidate our efforts to reduce the impact of our operations around the world. But the greatest difference we can make is through the advice and solutions we offer our clients and communities – from helping city leaders take practical steps to meet the Paris Agreement, to working with property developers to understand how digital technology can reduce their resource consumption.”
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 1.5C. 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."