We are committed to reducing our carbon usage, promoting sustainability and limiting our impact on the environment. This represents our first Carbon Reduction Plan working towards achieving Net Zero by 2050 at the latest. By March 2023 we will review and update this plan to include a measure of our carbon footprint at baseline, to cover Scope 1 (direct), Scope 2 (indirect owned) and Scope 3 emissions (business travel, employee commuting, transportation, distribution and waste). We will set our reduction targets and commence annual monitoring of targets, and set out further plans for achieving significant progress by 2030.
We are already committed to reducing the environmental impact of travel and transport by minimising the use of private vehicles and reducing unnecessary travel. Employees are encouraged and incentivised to use public transport, or walk or cycle to work through the operation of a season ticket loan and a cycle to work scheme. The use of private transport is only permitted in exceptional circumstances and is not routinely used for travel to and from the EPI office. We exploit technology so that employees are able to use video conferencing software rather than travel to meetings unnecessarily.
We have very minimal international travel, only where strictly necessary. In a typical year international travel amounts to no more than two flights.
Our premises are located in a shared building owned by an external company. The building owner is committed to reaching net zero carbon by 2030 and is part of the Better Building Partnership Climate Change Commitment. The building owner has invested £90m into retrofitting existing buildings, including the building EPI is located in, to reduce their emissions through smart energy use and renewable energy supply. For example, gas boiler and heaters were recently removed from the building and the building now runs with only electricity, with an aim of this becoming renewable energy, and all windows were replaced with second glazing to reduce energy consumption.
Our current tenancy period ends in 2024 and a commitment to carbon reduction is one of the criteria by which we will assess a renewal or new office space.
Waste management and recycling
Our shared building recently implemented a centralised bin store. By using these services we ensured that nothing went to landfill and we recycled at least 50% of our waste, thereby receiving a Silver Standard of Recycling Award. The waste that cannot be recycled is sent to an Energy from Waste facility where it is safely incinerated. The process generates heat and electricity that is used in UK homes and by-products residues are used in the construction industry. We are aiming to reach 80% of waste recycled by 2023 and receive the Gold Standard of Recycling Award.
We have well established recycling procedures inside the building for paper products, cardboard, cans, plastic, batteries and toner cartridges. We also have procedures in place for food waste composting.
We use carbon-balanced suppliers where possible. We are committed to re-using IT equipment and buy refurbished devices, rather than purchasing new equipment, unless necessary. We are also committed to using recycled equipment in the future, where such purchases need to be made.
We are committed to reducing its hard copy printing and has drastically reduced the usage of printing over the past two years and will continue to actively encourage staff to only print when absolutely necessary. Where printing is required, we use recycled paper.
We are committed to using electronic copies of our research outputs and will only print reports by exception. When we do so, we will only work with suppliers who consider environmental impacts for printing in the future.