It was noted that when the Council committed to net zero it was not made clear if that declaration included Scope 3 emissions. This was a matter for the Board to consider and would affect plans for offsetting. The Climate Change Officer reminded the Board that identification of Scope 3 was a difficult and often ‘grey’ area on which it was not currently mandatory to report. Presently, it was considered that establishing what the Council’s Scope 3 emissions were and originated from was a priority. The Trajectory Report identified the Council’s Scope 3 emissions to amount to about 9% of the Council’s emissions overall, however this was a figure that could easily increase. To identify and future manage Scope 3 a log of Scope 3 emissions was being developed to include relevance, completeness, consistency, transparency and accuracy on a one to five scale. Furthermore, the Council was undertaking a review of purchased goods and services, in order to begin to understand the Council’s supply chain emissions.
Action taken to support the measurement of Scope 3 emissions included changing procurement guidelines in the form of updated Procurement Procedure Rules in May in 2019; updated the tender submission template to include a request for volume of emissions associated with the goods or service provided; and collaboration with procurement leads to define climate related questions and to interpret scores and responses. It was hoped this would influence the supply chain and set out the Council’s clear climate priorities. Finally, supplier returns would be analysed to the Council’s baseline emissions expectations. It was suggested that the Council set out a timeline in place that it would share with suppliers and providers to confirm that by a certain date only carbon-free or low-carbon emission business would be sought. This would drive the supply chain to begin to de-carbon. Currently, the Council was aiming for 2023 as a date when the supply chain must always provide such information. It was further suggested that Council should seek to educate its own staff to seek to reduce emissions.
A question was raised regarding ‘natural capital’ and should the Council be seeking to quantify and measure the contribution of green areas with a carbon sequestration function in tandem with reducing its own carbon emissions. It was noted that Surrey Wildlife had been undertaking some mapping work in the county with regard to biodiversity net gain and might be approached for more information. The Chairman agreed that there was an emerging conversation be had regarding the biodiversity emergency and the connection between that and the climate change work. This would be raised as a future topic for the Board to consider. In the meantime Alistair agreed this was an important discussion and would circulate some information relating to natural capital held by the GEF relating to health and wellbeing cost benefits and funding to the Climate Change Officer and the Chairman with a view to that information being circulated to the rest of the Board in due course. It was, however, noted that natural capital, whilst relevant to climate change, was a divergent topic to the Council’s net zero objective.