An update on EQ’s sustainability commitments

When we announced our climate commitments in 2019, we also committed to transparency in sharing our learnings.

FacebooktwitterlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterlinkedinmail   by Louisiana Salge, 15th February 2023

The climate crisis is among the top critical challenges facing our global society and economy today and there is an urgent need for collective action.

In 2019, EQ Investors (EQ) committed to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. To make that happen, we’ve committed to the SME Climate Hub and UN Race to Zero. You can view our strategy here.

EQ’s carbon footprint

Every year, we aim to measure the material emissions associated with our business. This includes the emissions associated with our purchased energy for our offices (Scope 2) and emissions associated with business travel, and our suppliers (material Scope 3).

We also measure and disclose the associated emissions with the investments we manage on behalf of our clients, using industry standard methodologies (PCAF financed emissions and financed reserves).

Furthermore, we have created our interactive carbon calculator tool to disclose the associated carbon emissions with our portfolios, including a comparison to a world equity benchmark as a proxy for the wider market.

Annual breakdown:

tCO2e 2020 2021
Scope 1 n/a n/a
Scope 2 39.57 32.34
Scope 3 – suppliers 159.13 233.8
Scope 3 – travel 3.26 1.41
Scope 3 intensity 19.8 tCO2 per 1m turnover 25.6 tCO2 per 1m turnover
Operational emissions total 201 268
Scope 3 – investments

(data available for 60% of AUM)

unknown Total financed emissions (60% AUM):

Scope 1&2 – 20,298 tCO2e

Scope 3 – 129,532 tCO2e

It is worth commenting on the increased emissions associated with EQ’s suppliers from 2020 to 2021. We use a “spend-based” calculation method that attaches an average carbon efficiency factor to groups of spending. Having invested more into our processes and resources over the past year, our absolute spending increased, reflecting in higher associated emissions.

As and when we obtain reliable reported carbon emission data from our suppliers, we hope to reflect reductions in the carbon intensity of our spending based on supplier engagement and selection. We are working on this collectively with other B Corps.

Our approach to carbon offsetting

Although the current net-zero commitment doesn’t require EQ to offset all its emissions footprints until 2030. We have done this voluntarily, making EQ a carbon neutral business since 2020. We aim to adhere as much as possible to the Oxford Offsetting Principles, which include selecting carbon credits that are additional, and result in long-lived carbon reduction from the atmosphere and storage.

The voluntary carbon offset market remains unregulated, and we do not have confidence that current prices reflect the real cost of avoiding carbon in the economy. To set our voluntary carbon offsetting budget, we therefore currently look at the price per tonne of carbon from an  existing regulated carbon markets (EU has longest established market).

Any remaining budget after offsetting the full operational carbon footprint in a given year with high-quality offsets will be donated to charities supporting the systemic change needed for climate action.

2020 and 2021 offsetting activities

2020:  EQ fully offset its 2020 carbon footprint covering Scope 2, and operational Scope 3 (Total: 202 tonnes) using a selection of avoidance and removal credits sourced through Climate Impact Partners (formerly ClimateCare).

2021: EQ fully offset its 2021 carbon footprint covering Scope 2, and operational Scope 3 (Total: 268 tonnes) using a removal offset focused on reforestation in Ghana, helping to rebuild and expand the forest back to the previously healthy cover that has been degraded through overexploitation and agricultural land-use.

In both years, the remaining budget was allocated to two climate-relevant charities:

  • Carbon180: a charity supporting the future of carbon removal by working with policymakers, scientists, and businesses to create the necessary large-scale implementation infrastructure.
  • ClientEarth: a charity using legal expertise to defend the planet from those polluting it. Among other wins, the charity’s lawyers took legal action against Shell for mismanaging its energy transition in respect to the Paris Climate Agreement, pressing for more stringent decarbonisation plans as part-remediation.

Your own footprint

If you are curious about your own footprint and want to understand priority areas to address it, we recommend you explore the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) carbon footprint calculator:

Contact Louisiana

    Louisiana Salge

    Louisiana is Head of Sustainability at EQ. She is responsible for innovating EQ’s approach to sustainable investing, oversees EQ’s ESG and impact integration strategy across all assets, EQ’s stewardship efforts and sustainability data reporting.

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