Ramboll to halve emissions from new builds by 2030

Design, engineering, and environmental consultancy Ramboll has unveiled a new target to halve emissions from new building projects by 2030, while Canary Wharf Group has signed a £100,000,000 sustainability-linked loan to the delivery of its science-based targets.

Ramboll to halve emissions from new builds by 2030

Ramboll’s new goal will see the firm aim to halve upfront embodied CO2 emissions from its new building projects by 2030. This covers carbon across the lifecycle of a building, including embodied carbon; carbon emitted from manufacturing, raw material extraction, transportation, construction and building use. Post-life, including dismantling and disposal will also be covered by the new goal.

The focus on embodied carbon is key. Embodied carbon accounts for the emissions created from the construction, demolition and the wider supply chain of a building and typically covers around 11% of global emissions from the built environment and around 600kg of CO2 per sqm throughout the lifetime of a building.

However, very few firms in the built environment actually act on embodied carbon, with reports finding that less than 1% of global building projects currently calculate and report on lifecycle emissions.

Ramboll estimates that reaching its 2030 goal will see the company reduce embodied emissions from its new building projects by 2.5 million tonnes annually compared to current levels. This is equivalent to the annual emissions of around 400,000 UK citizens.

Ramboll’s Executive Director for Buildings in the UK, Andrew Henderson, said: “The challenge is enormous. When you consider population growth, the global building stock by 2060 must expand by 230 billion sqm of new construction, according to the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction. It’s like having to build as many buildings as there are in the UK every year.

“We need to look at where we can have the biggest impact. Research shows that in new construction projects in the UK, building materials alone account for 80% of the climate impact over a 50-year period – operating energy accounts for the remaining 20%. We therefore must have a strong focus on material selection before and during the building activities for the construction of a new building, to help us meet our ambition to reduce CO2 emissions from the materials in our new building projects by 50% by 2030.”

The company has outlined some key areas of focus to help reach its 2030 goal.

The first is data collection. Earlier this year, Ramboll started calculating the embodied carbon on all new building projects larger than 1000 sqm, even when not requested by clients. The company also articulated the carbon value of existing buildings facing demolition. Ramboll will now ensure that its suppliers provide relevant data on emissions associated with key materials.

One such material is steel. Ramboll is a signatory to Climate Group’s ConcreteZero initiative, which aims for 100% net zero concrete by 2050 and has committed to use 30% low emission concrete by 2025 and 50% by 2030.

Steel is a notoriously high-emission material and a hard-to-abate sector. More than 90% of metal produced in the world is steel, and the sector is accountable for around 7% of global emissions from fuel use.

Canary Wharf Group

Ramboll is also working with the Canary Wharf Group on a low-carbon concrete specification.

Speaking of Canary Wharf Group, the company has agreed to and signed a Sustainability-Linked Financing Framework with structuring support from Deutsche Bank and Société Générale.

The £100,000,000 revolving credit facility will be linked to key sustainability targets that will see the group committing to reducing Scope 1,2 and 3 emissions from downstream leased assets by 65% by 2030 from a 2017 baseline and that 60% of its suppliers, by emissions covering purchased good and services, will have science-based targets by 2025.

Canary Wharf Group’s chief executive Shobi Khan said: “Real estate is a significant source of carbon emissions, and the associated supply chain must pivot towards net zero quickly to mitigate the climate crisis. Our commitment to helping drive this shift is embodied within our science-based target, which now guides all Canary Wharf Group’s procurement and investment decisions.

“This finance framework is a key part of our efforts to turn ambition into action and we look forward to further collaborate with our supply chain partners to identify the solutions required to reduce our collective impact on the environment and reach net zero.”

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie