Air Pollution Footprint Partnership

15 June 2023

Ricardo marks Clean Air Day with launch of new approach to corporate air pollution emissions reporting

Ricardo has applied its 60 years of world-leading air quality expertise to launch the Air Pollution Footprint Partnership, enabling organisations to assess and reduce their air pollution emissions.

Ricardo, a global strategic environmental and engineering consulting company, has developed a first-of its-kind air pollution emissions reporting toolkit to support companies in accurately reporting and taking steps to reduce air pollutant emissions. The Air Pollution Footprint Partnership, supported by Impact on Urban Health and Clean Air Fund, is being formally launched along with the Partnership toolkit, to coincide with Clean Air Day on 15 June 2023 at an event hosted by Southwark Council in London, UK as a new approach to corporate emissions reporting.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified air pollution as one of the greatest environmental risks to human health. According to WHO figures, ambient air pollution in both cities and rural areas is estimated to cause 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide due to exposure to fine particulate matter, which causes cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and cancers.

Businesses have a key role to play in reducing air pollution. Many activities including internal processes, production-related activities and/or wider supply chain logistics can and do generate both air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Despite this, current corporate reporting frameworks focus exclusively on measuring and reporting greenhouse emissions while air pollution and its impacts are not considered.

To address this, the Air Pollution Footprint Partnership Toolkit is a free reporting tool which will enable organisations to estimate their air pollution emissions, look at ways to reduce their emissions and share their experiences with like-minded businesses. It has been developed over the past two years by Ricardo’s air quality and Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) teams working with a group of organisations from different sectors to test air pollution emission reporting tools and guidance that provides companies with key information needed to estimate and report on their corporate air pollutant emissions, alongside standard greenhouse gas emissions. 

Honor Puciato, Principal Consultant at Ricardo plc said: “Ricardo has one of the longest-established and largest air quality teams in the world, and we want to ensure that we are positively contributing our deep technical expertise to develop the Air Pollution Footprint Partnership Toolkit, which will help to save lives and benefit the environment. Understanding and reporting on your corporate emissions is the first step in taking action to reduce them. Proactive reporting on corporate air pollution emissions demonstrates good environmental, social, and governance values, appeals to socially responsible investors and consumers, and can inform activities to improve air quality in local neighbourhoods and communities. It also helps to improve the quality of life for those living and working nearby. Broadening corporate greenhouse gas reporting to include pollutants that affect local air quality represents an important step-change in environmental reporting that supports better sustainability.”

Henry Gregg, Director of External Affairs at Asthma + Lung UK, said: "Air pollution is a public health emergency, which contributes up to 43,000 early deaths every year in the UK. It can damage every organ in the body, including the lungs, heart and brain. Tackling toxic air needs to be prioritised to protect the health of communities across the country. The private sector is responsible for the majority of emissions of PM2.5, small harmful particles that can reach the breathing sacs in your lungs, as well as nitrogen dioxide, a brown toxic gas. This new initiative is a good first step that will support businesses to monitor their emissions and ultimately reduce the impact they are having on poor air quality." 

Sean Maguire, Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Clean Air Fund, said: “Air pollution is bad for business. Around 1.2 billion workdays are lost globally each year due to air pollution, affecting both customers and employees. At the same time, increasing demand for sustainable investment means businesses which fail to act on air pollution will lose out financially. Accurate reporting on emissions helps businesses measure their environmental and health impact, clean up their value chain and mobilise people and resources to make air breathable for everyone.” 

Amandeep Singh Kellay, Portfolio Manager of the Health Effects of air pollution programme at Impact on Urban Health, said: "Air pollution has devastating effects on the health of people living in cities. Tragically it's those who contribute the least to air pollution - like children - who are affected most by toxic air. Businesses have a massive role to play in improving the quality of air in cities. Ricardo’s Air Pollution Footprint Partnership will support businesses to learn about their emissions and take the necessary steps to improve air quality.”


Read the press release