I was determined to start this blog without saying “the last 2 years has been challenging” or “in these unprecedented times”. But from a sustainability point of view, it really has been “unprecedented” … 

As we emerge from the pandemic, Brexit, the Fuel Crisis and Supply chain problems, a new world is coming into being, A world where terminology such as net zero, low carbon, employee wellbeing, hybrid working, self-sufficiency and local impact have been catapulted up everyone’s agenda. Helping businesses to either simply continue as usual, survive, or just reconnect with what’s important in life.  Indeed, many of the conversations and enquiries I have recently received has echoed these themes, which gives me immense optimism going forward

Typically, Facilities Managers are not seen as the masters of sustainability and as a result our important role in helping to improve this area is often overlooked. When you think about sustainable/low impact buildings, its often the architects and engineers who get all the credit.  with some innovations from the main contractor along with best practice (MMC for example). But when you consider that 80% of a building’s lifecycle energy use takes place when its operational - compared to 10-20% embodied energy in the building process - it begs the question why are FMs not more involved in the process? 

We see a similar story in Emissions recording and carbon foot printing. While its commonplace is for organisations to report on direct emissions (Scope 1 and 2), there is very little focus on scope 3 (indirect emissions) which mainly originate during the operational phase of the building, the area in which FMs operate. This is a significant oversight as its estimated that 85% of an organisation’s annual emissions fall within the scope 3 category.  

As a Leader in this area, BAM FM has partnered with Acclaro consultancy to produce a series of reports into Scope 3 emissions in Facilities management. This first was published in late 2021, with a second due in May 22. The first report highlights the important role FMs have in leading Emissions reduction for our clients and explored three areas of focus, ownership, responsibility, and influence. Report 1a highlights the problems we face and provides validation for the issue, whereas report 1b provides detailed breakdowns of how FMs can reduce scope 3 emissions in individual service lines, through best practice and carbon accounting. View report here: 

As an industry, FM has been ever present throughout the “challenging last 2 years”. As building operations specialists engaging with clients every day, we have a responsibility to make the services and buildings where we work more efficient. With 85% of the buildings that will be in existence by 2050 already in built and operational, FM teams have a great opportunity to influence and lead a sustainable future for everyone.

About the author

Anthony Heaton

Sustainability & Social Value Manager - BAM FM

Anthony studied Construction Management at Sheffield Hallam University. He first worked for BAM during his university placement year and in 2004 joined us a Graduate Assistant Site Manager.
16 years later, Anthony became BAM FM’s Sustainability Manager and has been instrumental in leading the development of their approach to sustainability, with a strong focus on enhancing lives and social value.

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