The Task Developing a single common tool to assess the carbon footprint of the rail industry

RSSB wanted to develop a single, common tool for all parties in the rail sector to understand the carbon impacts of their construction schemes. RSSB engaged Action Sustainability to research and compare the range of carbon assessment and footprinting tools available in the market place and make recommendations on which had the most suitable functionality.

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The Action

We assessed 63 tools and methods to begin with using a set of criteria to undertake our evaluation. Criteria included issues such as the tool’s ability to calculate embodied carbon, whether source data was referenced and traceable, whether the boundaries were clear and whether the tool could compare options, scenarios and benchmarks, as well as usability, price and software support. After each stage of evaluation the list of tools was refined, from 63 to 19 and then to 6, until we made our recommendation to the steering group as to the best route for an accessible and industry-wide tool.

The Outcome

  • 63 tools scientifically assessed.
  • 19 tools trialled against each other.
  • We recommended the Atkins Knowledgebase tool as it scored the best across all criteria.
  • It has since become the official RSSB Rail Carbon Tool, available to the whole industry.