Building a framework for measuring and reporting Scope 3 emissions
The Sustainable Facilities Management Index (SFMI) are committed to addressing the pressing issue of carbon emissions in the built environment. Through our ongoing efforts, we have identified a critical gap in existing whole-building carbon assessments—a lack of focus on facilities management (FM)-based emissions.
This oversight not only diminishes the comprehensive understanding of the environmental impact of the building sector but also restricts the potential for more efficient operations from the design stage onward. Recognising this opportunity for improvement, the SFMI has launched the Scope 3 FM research project, positioning FM as a key player in driving decarbonisation efforts.
The Significance of Carbon Emissions in the Built Environment
The built environment significantly contributes to the UK’s total emissions, underscoring the need for accurate calculations of carbon emissions within this sector. To tackle this challenge head-on, we have initiated the Scope 3 FM research project in collaboration with leading FM providers, including Skanska, Bouygues, Optima Grupo, and founding partner BAM. Our efforts are further strengthened through partnerships with renowned professional institutes RICS, IWFM, and IEMA.
From Draft Framework to Real-life Testing: Having successfully defined the draft Framework in Stage 1, we have made significant progress in Stage 2 of the research. This stage involved real-life testing of the methodology required to measure supply chain emissions. Our dedicated research partners have diligently submitted their data, providing invaluable insights. These findings have shaped the development of the draft framework.
Challenges and Solutions: Throughout the research process, our partners encountered initial challenges in engaging suppliers and contractors to gather accurate data. The diverse nature of suppliers, at various stages of their reporting journeys, made it difficult to obtain comparable data. However, we have recognised that improved upfront engagement with suppliers and effective collaboration with procurement teams yield better outcomes. In particular, smaller suppliers can benefit from clear messaging explaining the project’s objectives and the advantages of data collection for their own company’s sales and governance.
While data collection varied across different areas, we found that gathering data on utilities, such as electricity and natural gas, was relatively straightforward and consistent. Fleet vehicle emissions were reported in different but valid ways, allowing for meaningful comparisons. Challenges were encountered when collecting data on other fuel types. On a positive note, Purchased Goods & Services (PG&S) data was generally collected without issue, and estimates of commuting were successfully completed. Business travel was often accurately categorised.
Addressing Challenges and Looking Ahead
Transport data emerged as a common obstacle for all participants, highlighting the need for further support and attention in this area. Additionally, subcontractors require dedicated focus due to the recognised difficulties they present.
Implications and Progress
The importance of reporting energy consumption and emissions has gained recognition, making it easier to obtain this data from suppliers. Similarly, gathering PG&S data may become more streamlined, as it is already a requirement for accounting and tax purposes.
While we have made progress, challenges persist in specific areas, underscoring the ongoing need to refine guidance and methodology for comprehensive carbon assessments in the built environment.
At the SFMI, we remain steadfast in our commitment to advancing sustainable practices in the construction, design, and facility management sectors. By addressing carbon emissions and collaborating with industry leaders, we strive to create a greener and more sustainable future for all.Sunil Shah, MD Acclaro Advisory
Our objective is to produce a Framework to support FM organisations with Scope 3 data gathering and reporting. The draft framework will be in consultation over the next few weeks and will be published in the Autumn.
Stay tuned for Stage 3 of the Scope 3 FM research project as we continue our journey towards a more environmentally responsible built environment.
Please fill out the form to find out more about the SFMI, get involved with stage 3 of our research programme, or to feedback on the draft framework