Terrafirma’s 2021 climate pledge

ecologi pledge TerrafirmaAs a team of geoscientists, engineers, and property professionals, Terrafirma recognise the increasing damage that our changing climate is having on property, land and infrastructure.

Terrafirma’s aim is to help others understand and prepare for the increasingly dramatic impacts that climate change will have on the built environment and have recognised the contribution as a company and as individuals they have made to climate change. As a result, Terrafirma pledge to become carbon negative by the end of 2021, offsetting the entire carbon footprint for all of their employee’s, at work and at home.

2020 has set more extreme weather records (see Met Office), and incredibly, the top 10 warmest years in the UK since 1884 have occurred since 2002. As these extreme weather events become more frequent and sea levels continue to rise, often invisible changes to ground stability and property are now becoming more apparent.

A recent BBC news article has revealed the extraordinary impact the human species has had on the planet. As the world’s attention has turned to the coronavirus pandemic this year, we must not also forget the on-going climate crisis.

“The weight of human-made objects will likely exceed that of living things by the end of the year. In other words, the combined weight of all the plastics, bricks, concrete and other things we’ve made in the world will outweigh all the animals and plants on the planet for the first-time.”

“The research, published in Nature, is further evidence that we have entered a new geological age, known as the Anthropocene, where humanity’s impacts on Earth will be visible in sediments and rocks millions of years into the future.”

Terrafirma’s experts have spent years researching and developing innovative solutions for use in property transactions, aimed at providing conveyancers with easy-to-understand climate-related ground risk information and future scenario planning for banks and insurers.

In September 2020 Terrafirma launched the award-winning Coastal Hazards risk assessment to the Ground Report. The Ground Report is the only conveyancing search report that provides property-specific information relating to coastal hazards, including shoreline management plans, risk of coastal flooding, and landslides, both now and in the future.

With the addition of soil scientist, Dr Tim Farewell at the beginning of the year who led the development of the of the Natural Perils Directory (which Terrafirma adopted in 2019 as an advanced soil-related subsidence module in the Ground Report), last month Terrafirma introduced the National Ground Risk Model: Climate™ – the UK’s first ever map of ground risk data, including unparalleled analysis of future climate-related ground risk. The NGRM: Climate enables lenders and insurers to satisfy requirements set by the Bank of England and Prudential Regulation Authority to understand climate-related financial risks and test the resilience of banks, insurers, and the financial system to different climate pathways.

Dr Tim Farewell, Science and Communications Director, says: “Our primary aim at Terrafirma is to raise awareness of ground hazards, so to be recognised this year with an award for our coastal hazards risk assessment is fantastic. As market-leaders in the conveyancing space, we want to take real action on climate change and hope other companies will also take steps to reduce the amount of waste and greenhouse gasses that they produce. Over the past year we’ve seen first-hand a reduction in transport emissions due to people working from home, but there is always more we can do. So, we are committing to becoming a carbon negative company by the end of 2021.

The team and I have worked on the National Ground Risk Model: Climate for 18 months and are passionate about improving the understanding of the ground, and the complex ways it interacts with the built environment. Combining geological, soils, mining, coastal erosion, landslide, and climate data with UKCP18 emissions scenarios provides granular insight into ground risk distribution and severity at property, land parcel or asset level. This will help lenders and insurers to make informed decisions without needing to be ground risk specialists themselves.”

Follow Terrafirma’s journey throughout the year, as their goal by the end of 2021 will equate to planting over 2,000 trees and removing over 220 tonnes of CO2.

To help them reach their carbon negative goal, Terrafirma have partnered with Ecologi, a Bristol based environmental enterprise who will audit and measure the company’s carbon footprint, considering employee business travel, emissions from home, personal travel, and food to create a carbon negative workforce.


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