Integral Group Releases Zero Carbon Operations Implementation Plan

Integral Group releases its Zero Carbon Operations (ZCO) Implementation Plan in line with the updated World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment (The Commitment).

In June 2018, Integral Group was a founding signatory of the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) Net Zero Carbon Buildings (NZCB) Commitment. In 2020, after three years of data collection, meticulous analysis, and research, Integral Group successfully achieved net-zero carbon emissions for Scopes 1 and 2, ten years ahead of the requirement of The Commitment.

The WorldGBC Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment requires signatory organizations to publish a decarbonization roadmap and an implementation plan.  Integral Group now proudly releases its Zero Carbon Operations (ZCO) Plan meeting that requirement. The ZCO Plan, created in partnership between the Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility (CSER) team and an internal Zero Carbon Operations (ZCO) team, empowers offices to act locally and impact The Commitment globally.

The purpose of the ZCO Plan is to hold the firm publicly accountable for making progress on our Zero Carbon commitments. We hope that our transparency demonstrates to our employees and our clients that we take climate change seriously and take an introspective approach to accelerate change.  Integral Group aims to show leadership by documenting the journey in detail to inspire industry peers to take similar steps either as a stand-alone initiative or as part of a broader CSR/ESG strategy.

Integral Group’s ZCO Plan includes:

  • Context about Integral Group and our journey to date concerning corporate climate action.
  • Details about WorldGBC’s updated Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment align with their Whole Life Carbon vision. They add additional emissions for measurement, reporting, reduction, and offsetting associated with refrigerants, process loads, and embodied carbon.
  • Integral Group’s updated NZCB commitment statement aligns with the new requirements, including our updated Decarbonization Roadmap.
  • A detailed Implementation Plan that uses a 6-step process to achieve zero carbon operations.
  • Prioritized strategies to reduce emissions, compensate for residual emissions, and invest in verified carbon removal offsets.
  • Alignment on next steps each office can implement, including focusing on reducing consumption and transitioning to all-electric facilities, where possible.

ZCO Steps

Figure 1. Integral Group’s 6-step detailing of the process to zero-carbon operations within the published ZCO Plan.

“We believe that there are two key ingredients to designing net-zero buildings: positive people and simple engineering. Signing up to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment is a natural next step for us in our drive to build high-performance buildings that respect and enrich the earth.”

Kevin Hydes, Integral Group Chair + Founder at Global Climate Action Summit, 2018


Integral Group is committed to achieving net-zero whole life carbon emissions across all offices operationally and has made progress on that journey. In addition to zero carbon operations (footprint), The Commitment includes updated advocacy commitments that address how employees at Integral Group can best impact the projects and communities we touch (handprint).   The updated Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment states that Integral Group will:

  1. COMMIT…to occupying assets which are net-zero carbon Scope 1 and 2 by 2030, with an accelerated target of 2020; all new construction and major renovations of existing assets to be net-zero embodied carbon by 2030; aspirational target to include net-zero carbon emissions from operational waste, business flights, and employee commute by 2030.
  2. DISCLOSE…through an annual Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility (CSER) report, which includes going beyond carbon/environmental disclosure to include social indicators for a holistic ESG approach.
  3. ACT…by prioritizing reductions by implementing ongoing energy + refrigerant efficiency upgrades across tenancies and working with landlords on renewable energy procurements and electrification strategies.
  4. VERIFY…our annual operational greenhouse gas emissions through the WorldGBC SME pathway; commit to a full third-party audit by 2030 to ensure integrity and alignment with our goals and commitments.
  5. ADVOCATE…by providing a net-zero carbon pathway for every design project undertaken, continuing to lead research on Whole Life Carbon of MEP systems, and expanding the net-zero carbon conversation beyond buildings into infrastructure.

ZCO Firm

Figure 2. Metrics from the 2020 reporting year; adjustments made on an annual basis. GHG equivalencies calculated using the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator


Figure 3. Screenshot of Integral Group’s live Environmental Footprint Dashboard.  View the reported GHG emissions in more detail here.

Integral Group will revisit the ZCO Plan annually to ensure progress is on track to meet (and, ideally, exceed) the goals outlined within the decarbonization roadmap. Each year will provide a unique opportunity to explore new changes related to market dynamics.

Learn more about Integral Group’s Race to Zero here.

For all media inquiries, please contact [email protected].


Photo by Arnaud Mesureur on Unsplash