What is the carbon footprint of an EIA?

Why did we undertake this research?

An Environmental Statement (ES) was delivered to our office recently in a box consisting of 4 large folders full of paper. This got us thinking about the amount of resources used to create an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the carbon footprint of undertaking one. The purpose of EIA is to identify and mitigate environmental impacts. If we can understand where the greatest impacts are in the course of undertaking an EIA, then we can prioritise ways to reduce them in future.

EIA

What is the carbon footprint of an EIA?

Slide 95% OF THIS TOTAL IS FROM PRODUCTION,
THIS INCLUDES:
SITE VISITS
Slide 95% OF THIS TOTAL IS FROM PRODUCTION,
THIS INCLUDES:
MEETINGS
Slide 95% OF THIS TOTAL IS FROM PRODUCTION,
THIS INCLUDES:
ASSESSING & WRITING
Slide 5% OF THIS TOTAL IS FROM PRINTING PRINTING

What makes up the carbon footprint of an EIA:

Travel & Transport
69%
Office energy use
17%
Computer / small power use
9%
Printing
5%

Equivalent to…

Making 1050 Lattes

Taking 714 showers

A Return Flight From London To Iceland

What parts of an EIA have the highest carbon impact?

Transportation, including site visits, travel to project meetings and courier of the ES, had a carbon footprint of…

Equivalent to…

A Return Flight From London To Paris

100 Loads Of Washing At 40ºC

PRINTING AN ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT HAD A CARBON FOOTPRINT OF 19 kgCO2e WHICH IS EQUIVALENT TO:

So, what are the potential actions we can take to reduce the carbon footprint of undertaking an EIA?

EIA

Digitalisation of EIAS

  • Reduction in printing through presentation of EIA on an interactive online platform using tools such as GIS
  • Use of novel presentation technologies reduces the need for lengthy reports therefore reducing consultant time and associated resource use

Reducing the need to travel

  • Meetings held through video conferencing rather than consultant team travelling for face-to-face meetings
  • A move towards more streamlined EIA scoping, reducing requirement for unnecessary assessments and associated site surveys
  • Avoiding site surveys through utilisation of existing desk-based data wherever sufficiently robust data is available
  • Efficient allocation of site visits amongst team members based on geographic location
  • Selection of sustainable transport methods for site surveys such as public transport and car sharing

Office Operations

  • EIA consultants engage with landlords regarding their office efficiency
  • EIA coordinator to challenge the consultant team and supply chain to demonstrate that they operate their businesses efficiently

Let us know what you think!

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