The ASLA Guide charts a path to carbon-neutral business operations

The ASLA Guide charts a path to carbon-neutral business operations

ASLA has released a guide outlining how landscaping companies can decarbonise their business operations. (Pia Persis/Unsplash)

In an effort to promote sustainable practices to reduce and mitigate the effects of climate change, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and the ASLA Fund have released a freely available guide for landscape architects on decarbonizing business operations. Toward Zero-Emission Business Operations: The Landscape Architect’s Guide to Reducing Office Climate Impacts provides guidance for landscape architecture companies of all sizes for the transition to zero-emission offices.

The guide is the product of ASLA’s Climate Action Committee, which aims to advance the goals of ASLA’s Climate Action Plan. The climate action plan “calls on landscape architects to reduce the emissions of their projects and businesses by 50-65% by 2030 and reach zero emissions by 2040,” the guide said. The guide provides the tools and skills needed to put landscape architecture firms on a path that achieves ASLA’s mission toward climate action.

Toward Zero-Emission Business Operations is a best practices guide authored by landscape architect and ASLA Climate Action Committee member Ronnie Siegel. “Decarbonizing electrification and transitioning to renewable energy creates new opportunities for landscape architecture companies. By measuring emissions, making a plan, and taking action, any company can be on a path to zero emissions,” Siegel said in a press release. Interviewed 19 sustainability, landscape and architecture consulting firms to create a comprehensive guide explaining how companies can measure their carbon footprint, develop a climate action plan to reduce emotions and various actions to mitigate Scope 1,2 and 3 emissions.

The guide identifies five key steps towards reducing emissions and recognizes that different strategies are needed for businesses of different sizes. It first explains how companies can create an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions using online calculators or consulting firms, and explains the difference between three types of emissions: burning fossil fuels from company-controlled sources; Emissions purchased from a utility provider or similar; Emissions for which the company is indirectly responsible, e.g. Food or cleaning products.

Through concise and explanatory language, tools for reducing emissions are available to landscape architects, even without prior knowledge of sustainability. It then provides real-life examples of how emissions can be reduced. The creation of a business plan with targeted goals is determined, and the company’s progress is tracked by an employee or consultant. Finally, it offers suggestions on which emissions to address first and how to increase annual progress.

The guide makes what seems like a daunting task achievable. “We have the opportunity to transform our planet into a world where humanity lives in harmony with a healthier, more sustainable and more biodiverse natural world,” Siegel said. “Landscape architects are leading this effort and can set an example for others in how to work and live.”

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