Sustainability

While many of our modelling efforts are directed at understanding and influencing cost, it’s vital we also consider the non-monetary effects on society and the world around us. Sustainability has become a contested and sometimes misused phrase, but at Naiad we firmly believe that considerations of cost and efficiency should go hand-in-hand with wider sustainability goals. We also believe that organisations that are effective at controlling one dimension, such as cost, are better placed to move onto understanding and controlling other aspects of their operations, such as waste. We can therefore deliver projects on:

  • Carbon accounting, with a particular expertise in construction, infrastructure and land-use (covering Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions)
  • Quantifying sequestration and GHG emission reduction projects, identifying carbon hotspots or carrying out carbon value engineering
  • Supply-chain/value chain sustainability audit and assurance

Our Approach to Environmental and Climate Models

Many of the motivations and mechanisms for analysing and controlling cost are similar to those used for improving the sustainability of an asset or operation. For example, in both cases top-down approaches can be used to benchmarking while bottom-up methods are used for more detailed simulation, analysis and value engineering.

However, modellers also need to appreciate the distinct requirements of sustainability models. Actual data are often not directly observed (for example, Scope 3 emissions) and must be inferred or estimated themselves from other data, making model validation more challenging. Similarly, model inputs may be more difficult to obtain without clear commercial motivations (such as quotes or price lists). Finally, the boundaries of the system must be carefully considered to ensure that emissions or waste are not simply being displaced or ‘offshored’.

Cost is often closely related to other sustainability metrics, such as carbon emissions and water consumption, because increased activity or production will increase both cost and emissions/consumption. However, it is important for modellers and decision-makers to recognise that correlation does not equal causation, and that interventions which reduce cost may not be more sustainable. Modellers must be mindful of how their findings are interpreted, especially where monetisation is considered or where models are highly sensitive to long-term discount rates. This is an area where Naiad Infrastructure can provide both the financial and sustainability expertise that are needed.