Improved greenhouse gas accounting and monitoring
AKU’s first step to reducing greenhouse gas, GHG, emissions has been to comprehensively measure all emissions resulting from the University’s activities. This includes not only our operations, but also the supply chain and downstream activities such as waste disposal.
AKU started GHG accounting in 2019 to find that existing tools such as those available for calculating the carbon emissions from electricity and transport and those from the
Greenhouse Gas Protocol, require prior knowledge and different instructions for each data set. A second difficulty was that the tools do not cater to the contexts existing in low- and middle-income countries, LMICs.
Also missing were elements to calculate GHG emissions from the healthcare sector. At least eight different products would have been needed to capture AKU’s footprint, all requiring considerable expertise. None were able to capture the healthcare supply chain – known to account for over 70 percent of the health operations footprint in countries where this has been estimated. And many used out-of-date carbon conversion factors or lacked data for countries where AKU works.
Tailored GHG accounting for healthcare
AKU and the Aga Khan Health Services developed a carbon accounting tool for healthcare organisations, with low-income countries in mind, that has now been tested extensively across eight countries and around 800 facilities.
This comprehensive tool covers emissions from all operations and the supply chain and can be used by other healthcare organisations or even other sectors. The tool:
Uses carbon conversion factors currently available from public sources and scientific literature.
Uses readily available data and requires no prior knowledge.
Presents highly innovative three layers of increasingly refined emission approximations for the supply chain, based on spend categories.
Generates diagnostic dashboards as visual readouts of ‘hotspots’ in operations, to help identify corrective actions, while educating the user while entering data
Tracks the costs and emission impacts of making changes.
The University tracks and analyses its GHG emissions every quarter, versus international best practice that calls for annual accounting.
AKU has been collecting GHG data since the second quarter of 2020 from all its campuses in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the UK.
The tool's dashboards as well as building or site benchmarking allow for the analysis of fluctuations and monitoring of changes resulting from deliberate decarbonisation actions to guide further action on remaining emissions hotspots.