Responsible operations 2018

As part of our commitment to working in an open and accountable way, we publish information about our actions on environmental and social responsibility. We are pleased to report that during 2017/18, we reduced our carbon footprint by 12%.

IIED communications senior coordinator Julie Hill talks to COP23 delegates in Bonn, Germany

IIED communications senior coordinator Julie Hill, right, talks to COP23 delegates in Bonn, Germany (Photo: Matt Wright, IIED)

An important part of our commitment to responsible operations is working to reduce our carbon emissions. The 12% reduction in our carbon footprint that we achieved in 2017/18 reflects a reduction in air travel, and highlights how much the location of our work affects our carbon emissions.

We are still well below our goal of 2.5% per year reduction for annual emissions per FTE (ie 6.9 tCO2e per FTE being 23% under the target of 9.0 tCO2e), and we will continue to operate our ISO14001-certified environmental management system.

Tracking our carbon emissions (April 2012 to March 2018)
IIED carbon footprint* 12/13 13/14 14/15 15/16 16/17 17/18
GHG emission data in tonnes of CO2e** (Base year)
Scope 1 (direct: e.g. on-site gas heating) 47 30 21 39 31 40
Scope 2 (Indirect energy: e.g. electricity) 68 85 77 77 69 60
Scope 3 (Other indirect: e.g. travel***) 841 739 852 731 867 741
Total gross emissions 957 854 951 846 967 841
Average full-time equivalents (FTE) 94 98 109 110 124 118
Per FTE annual emissions 10.2 8.7 8.7 7.7 7.8 6.9
% annual change n/a -15% 0% -12% 2% -12%
Target (2.5% reduction p.a. on base year) 10.2 9.9 9.7 9.4 9.2 9
% difference from target n/a -12% -10% -18% -15% -23%

* Based on our sites and the activities of our staff, this measure excludes our suppliers and partners. Our footprint is measured in accordance with Defra’s 2016 emissions factors and guidelines, which is consistent with the GHG Protocol.

**  Tonnes of CO2e is a universal unit of measurement used to indicate the global warming potential of a greenhouse gas, expressed in terms of the global warming potential of one unit of carbon dioxide.

*** Air travel emissions take into account the effect of radiative forcing (the effect of water vapourand nitrous oxides in the upper atmosphere) and therefore an uplift factor of 1.89 has been used in accordance with Defra guidelines.

Note: Some of the figures for 2015/16 were corrected in February 2020.

Our environmental policy

We recognise that all our activities will have an impact on the environment – and we aim to continually improve our environmental performance and prevent pollution. Our commitments under our environmental policy (PDF) include:

  • Ensuring our compliance with all relevant legislation, regulations and other relevant requirements
  • Assessing and regularly re-assessing the environmental impacts of our activities
  • Sharing low-carbon innovations to our in-country and international work, and scaling up effective approaches where effective
  • Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions per head by an average of 2.5 per cent per year, consistent with the requirements of globally-recognised reduction commitments such as the Carbon Trust Standard
  • Minimising the amount of waste through reduction, recovery and recycling, and
  • Reporting our environmental performance in our annual report.

We updated our policy in February 2019, adding new actions to limit the impact of IIED events, including:

  • Serving vegetarian food at IIED-led events in northern countries to reduce the environmental impact of our catering, and
  • Phasing out single-use plastic at IIED-led events in northern countries to reduce the pollution and waste.

We communicate our environmental policy to all employees, suppliers and sub-contractors and make it available to the public. IIED's operations team oversees and reviews the policy, and our environmental manager coordinates implementation.

Previous years

Related resources