ADAS: CDP driving long-term strategic planning on management of carbon


ADAS is the UK’s largest independent provider of environmental consultancy, rural development, services and policy advice.  ADAS had presented on best practice to organisations supplying Defra, HMRC, and the Department of Health on the benefits of identifying and adapting to the impacts of climate change. 

Challenge: Achieving best practice
As advisors to organisations on environmental issues and policy it is important that ADAS ensures its own house leads the way in best practice.  Group Managing Director, Colin Speller, pointed out “ADAS has invested in sustainability – showing the path for others to follow.  It’s what our stakeholders want, it’s what the planet needs and it’s an issue upon which we will be proud to be measured.”

Solution: CDP provides invaluable framework for long-term planning 
CDP’s reporting procedures are “a brilliant framework” according to Jeremy Wiltshire, Head of Carbon Management at ADAS. “CDP makes you think about an organisation in a detailed way.  It concentrates strategic planning for a longer period than the usual 3 to 5 years for which most corporations plan.  CDP makes you consider 10 to 15 years.  The CDP process addresses identification of risks and opportunities, awareness of Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, responsibilities, reports and monitoring targets and importantly actual achievements.”  

Results: Encouraging personal responsibility and achieving targets
Enabling greater understanding of emissions by everyone has been a positive motivator across ADAS.  The CDP monitoring and reporting process has encouraged all staff to be engaged and alert to opportunities. A project team meets to prepare recommendations for the Board.  These might be a simple suggestion for energy saving, or composting waste, but also include more detailed strategic solutions and initiatives which may not immediately result in savings but enhances ADAS’ reputation in its field as an innovator and leader.

The organisation has invested resources into the development of an intranet site which allows everyone within the organisation to see in detail GHG emissions data for the whole of ADAS.  While a time-intensive resource for the in-house team to develop, once operational it has enabled people to think about carbon issues seriously.  This has led to changes in behaviour specifically concerning business travel and teleconferencing, energy usage and operational efficiency.  It has visualised the problem and encouraged responsibility and helps to make the returns to CDP an easier process. 

Jeremy Wiltshire comments on ADAS’ progress: “As a business we have made great progress and have established the foundations for reliable reporting and can demonstrate a very real understanding of the issues organisations face as they battle to comprehend the impacts of climate change and how best to respond.”

Carbon reduction is the primary objective but as Dan Firth at Defra has witnessed, “ADAS has been actively using CDP to drive carbon reduction, but it’s not just about carbon reduction - ADAS has achieved significant business benefits as a result of involvement in CDP.” 

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