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Robust data gives green value

6 December 2021

Robust data gives green value

Several earlier blog items have emphasised the increasing need for hirers, like other organisations, to assess levels of emissions throughout their supply chains in order to calculate their overall carbon footprint. 

One consultancy that is helping companies achieve this is Square Gain which was established in 2015 by Greg Chant-Hall. He was previously head of sustainability with the construction group Skanska, which is recognised for its progressive approach to decarbonisation. 

Square Gain works with organisations in diverse sectors, from local authorities and utilities like Network Rail, to banks and universities. It has also developed what it believes to be the first net zero carbon building standard for the NHS. 

“It’s now starting to filter down through the whole supply chain, including hire companies,” Greg told me. “Many are doubtless aware that changes are coming but don’t know exactly what and regard it all as something of a dark art in terms of embodied carbon and so on. 

“We simplify things into three phases. The first is to plan what the company’s strategy or targets should be, perhaps to have a policy in place on zero carbon and to develop a carbon reduction plan. Then we find out what they are doing at the moment to give a baseline to measure from, including the embodied carbon in products they offer,” said Greg. 

“The final part involves implementing the plan and communicating the results. If a business is doing something positive and investing in good practices, they need to be telling people in a clear way that adds value. 

“In this way it goes back up the supply chain, informing customers, clients, main contractors and so on,” said Greg. 

One supplier that has worked with Square Gain to assess the carbon footprint of its operations and products is Obart Pumps. This has included calculating Scope 1 and 2 emissions discussed earlier on the blog and Scope 3 that involves calculating the green credentials of all products and components throughout an organisation's supply chain. 

“We also look at the ‘downstream’ embodied carbon in products, such as their energy consumption, durability, whether they can be repaired and other operating parameters throughout their designed life,” said Greg. 

Robust data is obviously at the heart of the process. Square Gain can gather data in accordance with appropriate recognised standards like ISO 14064, also referred to earlier on the blog. It also uses information from reliable international data libraries relating to components and lifecycle assessment tools. 

“It’s as simple or as complicated as you want it to be,” said Greg. “But basically it follows the essential principles of: what the client needs to do, getting the data and finally linking it into the improvement plan and marketing the information. 

“In many ways our aim is to reach a point where a client can perhaps do future assessments themselves. We initially assess the areas they can’t, they do the ones they can and then they can carry that forward. 

“And ultimately, sustainability won’t just be the responsibility of one person or department, but everybody’s.” 

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