Reducing our carbon footprint
As a new plc, in our first year we have conducted a thorough review of our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, accounting for all emissions associated with our operations to the best of our knowledge.
This is a vital first step to allow us to identify our largest emission sources and where we need to focus future efforts. So as well as quantifying our direct emissions (scope 1 and 2), we have calculated and reported our indirect (scope 3) emissions. We consider it important to voluntarily report these emissions, providing our customers, clients and stakeholders with full transparency.
Please refer to our latest Annual Report to view our full SECR report.
S1, S2, S3 EMISSIONS FY21
Our first year carbon footprint
Completing an in-depth review of our entire emissions has provided a comprehensive understanding of our impact on the climate. 13% of our emissions are under our direct control in scopes 1 and 2, whereas 87% of emissions fall in scope 3, our indirect emissions, which we can work to influence. Scope 3 emissions, which are under the Group’s influence but not control, typically make up the largest proportion of a company’s carbon emissions, particularly if scope 3 emissions have been investigated in detail.
Our largest emission source is from purchased goods and services (47% of total footprint), which predominantly arise from the hosting of our online platforms in data centres operated by others. Other significant scope 3 categories include use of our products (14%) and employee commuting and remote working (9%).
Within our direct control (scopes 1 and 2), purchased electricity (7%) is the largest contributor to our overall footprint. In line with the GHG Protocol we are reporting location-based emissions from purchased electricity in place of market-based emissions, to ensure we fully account for the emissions from the electricity we consume. The electricity in our London headquarters is, however, sourced from a renewable energy provider.
As an expanding Group, we accept that our overall emissions may rise and we will work to minimise any increase in absolute emissions to ensure we grow sustainably. Absolute emissions have grown by 39%, mainly due to new businesses being added to the Group, whereas our carbon intensity, across all scopes – a measure of our carbon emissions as a proportion of our overall activity – has decreased by 10%, indicating that we are becoming more carbon efficient as we grow.
We have seen an increase in scope 1 and 2 emissions, with our footprint rising from 142 tCO2e to 287 tCO2e. This is a 30.4% rise in proportion to our revenue, which is attributed to an increase in emissions from natural gas, used for heating, and purchased electricity.
Reductions, however, have been seen in scope 3 emissions. In the 2021 financial year we saw a proportional reduction in emissions from purchased goods and services, and use of sold products, as well as decreases in emissions from employee commuting and remote working, and waste generated from our operations.
Some of our emission reductions are due to our baseline year partly covering the COVID-19 pandemic, where our workforce was predominantly home-based and online auctions grew in popularity. We have accounted for this by including remote working emissions and use of sold products (our websites) in our first year carbon footprint
Our future commitment
We have taken a rigorous approach to calculating our overall climate impact and we will take the following steps to address the environmental impact of our operations:
- Target our largest emission sources and set out reduction strategies
- Fully understand our climate related risks in order to disclose these under the Taskforce for Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) guidelines
- Review how to achieve net zero emissions, looking to offset our avoidable emissions, whilst continuing to work to reduce them