Tackling Scope 3 emissions

British Antarctic Survey

Net Zero Challenges – Tackling Scope 3 Emissions

Undeniably achieving Net Zero is the biggest challenge our planet faces at the moment. Responsible businesses hence put a strong focus on reducing their carbon emissions. This is difficult enough to achieve for Scope 1 and 2 emissions (covering direct emissions from owned or controlled sources, and indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heat, cooling etc, respectively), where each business has a substantial amount of control. How can we tackle the ever-elusive indirect Scope 3 emissions from our supply- and value-chains? British Antarctic Survey’s Net Zero Transition Lead, Nopi Exizidou, describes their approach:

“The biggest challenge when it comes to supply chain emissions is accessing the data required to build a comprehensive baseline and set clear targets and guidelines for the suppliers to follow. The data need to come from suppliers directly as often these emissions can be well hidden in the supply chain.

In addition, Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions are usually prioritised when there are limited available resources in an organisation.

At the British Antarctic Survey, Supply Chain is one of the 5 key pillars of our Net Zero Carbon Strategy. One of the key strategy objectives is to work closely together with our suppliers to develop common goals and targets around, not only carbon, but wider sustainability.

Figure: Key pillars of the Net Zero Carbon Strategy at the British Antarctic Survey


Last year we delivered a study to identify the top 10 contributors of our supply chain carbon. As expected, the construction activities from our Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme (AIMP) accounted for the largest part of Scope 3 emissions.

As part of the AIMP, we are delivering large scale infrastructure projects in Antarctica which include a new science and operations building, an aircraft maintenance facility, improvements on our runway and more. This programme is crucial to future proof our facilities in Antarctica and support our decarbonisation plans.

To deliver this ambitious programme of works we have formed strong partnerships with our technical advisors and construction partners with whom we share common goals and values around sustainability. I find this of significant importance when it comes to reducing the impact of Scope 3 emissions. Together we have developed a sustainability strategy based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically for the AIMP, and individual sustainability management plans that are delivered at the end of every work stage and for every project under the programme of works. We also follow PAS 2080 which is a standard for Carbon Management in the construction process to assess and help us reduce the carbon impact of our construction activities.

We are also working together with our procurement team, our engineers and Estates colleagues to add sustainability criteria into all tender exercises which include among other, criteria such as embodied carbon impact of products, information on bidders Net Zero/Sustainability commitments, introduction of circular economy principles under specific projects and inviting suppliers/bidders to explain how they can contribute to the delivery of our Net Zero commitments.

There is still a lot more work to be done in this space, from understanding the impact of our whole supply chain to working together closely with more of our suppliers to achieve a reduction in the carbon impact of our Scope 3 emissions. Part of this effort includes the strengthening of the implementation plan under our sustainable procurement policy.

To help us tackle the huge Net Zero challenge, we need more inspiration and a better focus on the benefits and opportunities that the process of decarbonisation will deliver for our organisations but also for humanity and our planet. I therefore encourage all delegates and ambassadors of the Ambassadors’ Day to invest more time in communicating that message across our own organisations and more widely in our spheres of influence. Let’s work together to bring about much-needed change!”

Written by Nopi (Parthena) Exizidou, Net Zero Carbon Transition Lead, British Antarctic Survey

Dr Beatrix Schlarb-Ridley FRSBDirector of Innovation and Impact and Chair of the Net Zero Carbon Strategy Group at British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and BAS Innovation Team will be welcoming our participants, the  Ambassadors, at their BAS AURORA Innovation Centre on 19 January 2023, Ambassadors’ Day. 

Dr Beatrix Schlarb-Ridley will be opening the Ambassadors’ Day and speaking in:

9.25 – 9.45, Welcome & scene setting for Net Zero Leadership 

Clare Fothergill, Rothera Renewable Energy Lead at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) will be speaking in:

9.45 – 10.10, Achieving Net Zero in extreme environments incl Q&A

You will meet and will be able to ask wider BAS team during their bespoke guided tours arranged for our participants following the talks and which will start at around 10.30. 

See the timetable of the Ambassadors’ Day, 19 January 2023

If you would like to meet with Dr Beatrix Schlarb-Ridley, British Antarctic Survey Innovation Team and experience their bespoke guided tours don’t forget to bok your place.