CXCS – A Carbon Reducing Company

At CXCS we have always been aware of our impact on the environment and over the last 10 years have been taking steps to reduce our organisation’s emissions. In tandem with our own journey to decarbonise our emissions, we are also leading the way with our carbon auditing service which is helping the agricultural sector to meet its own environmental goals.

Targets

Climate scientists and politicians came together in Paris to sign the Paris Accord in 2016. This agreement pledged “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C”. In 2021, the UK hosted the COP26 (UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties) in Glasgow to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement.

It is estimated that the agricultural sector is responsible for producing nearly 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) in the UK. In response to this, the NFU has set the ambitious goal of reaching net zero across the whole of agriculture in England and Wales by 2040.

But as the science and approach is already clear, it is falling to organisations like ours to lead the way towards net zero. At CXCS we want to make a science-based target to ensure that our emissions are in-line with the decarbonisation required to meet the Paris Agreement. This means first measuring our emissions to establish a benchmark and then putting measures in place to reduce the carbon emissions of our organisation in the future. 

The COVID-19 pandemic gave us the opportunity to pause for thought. We have learned that since many of our systems are internet based, we have been able to carry out our day-to-day operations successfully on a remote basis. This has negated the need to be in the same office as colleagues, and the need to travel for all meetings and appointments. 

At CXCS we have always put caring for the environment at the heart of our business, and over the past 10 years have introduced significant changes to address our impact on the environment. These include the adoption of renewable technologies (photovoltaic (PV) panels and a ground source heat pump) to power and heat our offices and switching to a more sustainable fleet of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Assessment

To assess our impact on the planet and to establish a benchmark, we measured our carbon emissions from January to December in 2020. This process was repeated for the same period in 2021, to determine the progress we had made as a company in reducing our emissions. The  industry-standard Greenhouse Gas Protocol approach was used to ensure that the monitoring is relevant, complete, consistent (across companies and years), transparent and accurate. Full details are available here

Our commitment to decarbonisation is so strong that we have gone above and beyond the minimum requirements for measuring our emissions by calculating our Scope 3 emissions, which includes staff travel.

We have chosen to measure the full impact of our operations across our organisation as accurately as possible. We have made some assumptions due to the availability of information, but we intend to improve our monitoring and reporting by filling in these gaps in the coming years.

Carbon emissions are split into 3 scopes:
ScopeEmissions Type
Scope 1Direct greenhouse gas emissions 
Scope 2Electricity indirect greenhouse gas emissions 
Scope 3Other indirect greenhouse gas emissions

We have an accurate understanding of our scope 1 to 3 emissions which is unusual for an organisation such as ours.

 

Scope 1
 

Fuels Natural Gas

Natural gas used to heat offices.

YearkWhCO2e tonnes
202023,157.334.72
20214,548.330.93
Total27,705.675.64

Assumptions: We have comprehensive data.

Passenger Vehicles

Passenger vehicles conversion factors should be used to report travel in cars and on motorcycles owned or controlled by the reporting organisation. This does not include vehicles owned by employees that are used for personal use. CXCS operates a blend of diesel, plug in hybrid and electric vehicles so we have taken an average of the fleet emissions and applied it to the total annual fleet mileage.

YearDistance (km)CO2e tonnes
2020190,977.0017.08
2021191,439.5217.13
Total382,416.5234.21

Assumptions: We have comprehensive data.

Refrigerant & Other

Refrigerant and process conversion factors should be used for the purpose of reporting leakage from air-conditioning and refrigeration units or the release to the atmosphere of other gases that have a global warming potential. CXCS only have 5 domestic fridges, with no leakage, if they are disposed of correctly at the end of their use then their carbon footprint will be zero.

YearWeight (kg)CO2e tonnes
20200.000.00
20210.000.00
Total0.000.00

Assumptions: We have comprehensive data.

Total for Scope 1: 18.05 CO2e

 

Scope 2
 

Electricity

UK electricity conversion factors should be used to report on electricity used by an organisation at sites owned or controlled by them. This is reported as a Scope 2 (indirect) emission. The conversion factors in this listing are for the electricity supplied to the grid that organisations purchase – this does not include the emissions associated with the transmission and distribution of electricity.

YearkWhCO2e tonnes
202013,322.533.11
20218,562.002.00
Total21,884.535.10

Assumptions: We have comprehensive data.

Total for Scope 2: 2.00 CO2e

 

Scope 3
 

Electricity Transmission & Distribution

Transmission and distribution (T&D) conversion factors should be used to report the Scope 3 emissions associated with grid losses (the energy loss that occurs in getting the electricity from the power plant to the organisations that purchase it) Electricity usage in each office, if possible satellite offices and agents measured in kWh.

YearkWhCO2e tonnes
202013,322.530.27
20218,562.000.17
Total21,884.530.44

Assumptions: None applied.

Water Supply

Water supply conversion factors should be used to account for water delivered through the mains supply network.

YearCubic metresCO2e tonnes
2020104.000.04
2021192.000.07
Total296.000.10

Assumptions: None applied.

Water Treatment

Water treatment conversion factors should be used for water returned to the sewage system through mains drains. Water usage in each office, if possible satellite offices and agents measured in m³.

YearCubic metersCO2e tonnes
2020104.000.07
2021192.000.14
Total296.000.21

Assumptions: None applied.

Material Use

Material use conversion factors should be used to report on consumption of procured materials based on their origin (that is, comprised of primary material or recycled materials). For primary materials, these factors cover the extraction, primary processing, manufacture and transportation of materials to the point of sale, not the materials in use. For secondary materials, the factors cover sorting, processing, manufacture and transportation to the point of sale, not the materials in use. These factors are useful for reporting efficiencies gained through reduced procurement of material or the benefit of procuring items that are the product of a previous recycling process. Paper usage, quantity, size and type for business activities such as receipts, statements, marketing materials measured in kg – but we’ll help calculate the weight.

YearWeight (kg)CO2e tonnes
20201,490.281.37
20211,402.211.29
Total2,892.492.66

Assumptions: Assume 100% primary sources, 0% recycled paper purchased.

Waste Disposal

Waste-disposal figures should be used for end-of-life disposal of different materials using a variety of different disposal methods. Office waste by type, measured in kg. Calculated from Sustainability Exchange at a density of 0.27 tonnes per litre.

YearWeight (kg)CO2e tonnes
2020 not recycled3,564.001.56
2020 recycled4,438.000.09
2021 not recycled4,276.801.87
2021 recycled5,129.600.11
Total17,408.403.63

Assumptions: Assume 100% primary sources.

Business Travel – Air, Train & Sea

No travel reported.

Business Travel – Land

Distance driven by staff, fieldforce, and commuting by vehicle type, fuel measured in km. This is factored in above at Scope 1 Passenger vehicles.

Freighting Goods

Freighting goods factors should be used specifically for the shipment of goods over land, by sea or by air through a third-party company. Factors are available for a whole vehicle’s worth of goods or per tonne of goods shipped via a specific transport mode. Just in case there are any deliveries, vehicle type and distance in km /miles. Detailed data is hard to acquire so we are working on annual courier spend at an average of £ per km. CXCS annual courier spend is £20,414 per year, an average courier cost is 1.85 per mile which equates to 11035 miles / 17758km. Assuming this carried by diesel van than we can calculate worse case carbon emissions for this factor.

YearDistance (km)CO2e tonnes
202017,758.004.83
202117,758.004.83
Total35,516.009.65

Assumptions: None applied.

Hotel Stays

Hotel stay factors should be used to report emissions associated with overnight hotel stays. The emissions from hotel stays are reported as a Scope 3 emissions source.

YearNightsCO2e tonnes
2020226.003.55
2021285.004.47
Total511.008.02

Assumptions: We only have cost data so have estimated hotel stays at £70 per night.

Total for Scope 3: 11.07 CO2e

Carbon Emissions Summary 2020 & 2021
YearScope 1Scope 2Scope 3Total
202021.803.1110.1235.03
202118.052.0010.9631.01
Carbon Intensity of Activities

These emissions are more usefully reported as carbon intensity or emissions per full-time employee. Our figure of 1.29 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per employee  for 2021, which shows a year on year reduction, is very low when compared to other companies in our sector.

YearTotal CO2tonnes of CO2 per Clienttonnes of CO2 per Stafftonnes of CO2 per £1,000,000 Turnover
202035.03£/Co2 0.021.46 tonnes per staff member£/Co2 35.0288
202131.01£/Co2 0.021.29 tonnes per staff member£/Co2 31.0114
Our Pledge
  • We will continue to invest in our sustainable offices which are already powered and heated using renewable technologies. 
  • We will ensure that our vehicle fleet is plug-in hybrid or better going forwards. 
  • We will continue to invest in our IT systems to reduce the amount of paper sent to clients without reducing our quality of service.

We will do this by measuring, reporting, and reducing the emissions of our operations on an ongoing basis. This will involve engaging our staff, members, and supply chain in this issue.

We also pledge to continue reducing our future emissions by ensuring the following:

  • Continue to monitor and improve reporting goals to formalise environmental commitments using this framework and reporting each year.
  • Consider water-saving devices in bathrooms and the installation of water meters.
  • Request a switch through our landlord to a green energy tariff for the electricity that is purchased.
  • Migrate customers to paperless transactions if local regulatory conditions allow.
  • Consider purchasing only recycled office supplies and paper, reducing the amount of paper we send out and encouraging our members and customers to recycle anything we do send.
  • Continue to replace face-to-face meetings with video conferencing.
  • Avoid or combine car-based journeys and replacing journeys with video conferencing. 
  • Choose rail journeys where possible.
 
Sources:

Paris Agreement: https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement

UK Government reporting factors: Greenhouse gas reporting: conversion factors 2020 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

GHG Protocol Corporate Standard: ghg-protocol-revised.pdf (ghgprotocol.org)

Government recommendations: Measuring and reporting environmental impacts: guidance for businesses: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/measuring-and-reporting-environmental-impacts-guidance-for-businesses

CO2 emissions due to office waste: Download here

Calculate the carbon dioxide equivalent quantity of an F gas: Calculate the carbon dioxide equivalent quantity of an F gas – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

UK Office guide to a sustainable office and goals: Download here

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