United emissions target to include Scope 3

By Belinda Smart27 October 2021

United Rentals’ latest corporate responsibility report outlines a heightened focus on sustainability including the tracking and reporting of scope 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, those generated indirectly such as by customers using its equipment.

United’s 2020 Corporate Responsibility Report: ‘Forward Together’, which covers 2020 as well as activity in 2021, confirmed that this year it has expanded the boundary of its GHG emissions reduction goal to include scope 3 emissions from its third-party haulers.

United Rentals equipment United Rentals has widened its GHG emissions reduction strategy to include Scope 3, indirect emissions in its value chain.

This followed an external evaluation and inventory of its scope 3 GHG emissions in 2020. In the same year, the company committed to reduce GHG emissions intensity by 35% by 2030 from its 2018 baseline.

Scope 1 covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources, Scope 2 is indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, heating and cooling, and Scope 3 includes other indirect emissions in a company’s value chain.

Among the strategies for reducing emissions, United was collaborating with OEMs and customers to reduce Scope 3 emissions from rented equipment at jobsites, the report said. 

“Reducing our Scope 3 footprint requires engagement and collaboration with value chain partners, such as original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and customers, as well as longer-term investments.”

“The use of our equipment by customers is our greatest opportunity to reduce Scope 3 emissions.”

A spokesperson contacted by IRN confirmed Scope 3 was a focus of United’s overall sustainability strategy, and that United was engaged in ongoing efforts to determine how best to track and report on Scope 3.

During 2021 United also launched other sustainability initiatives, such as the development of key performance indicators (KPIs) for the workstreams in its GHG reduction action plan - fleet, building and properties, and non-asset oriented elements - to help it monitor its progress on climate change mitigation.

It also established Planet United, a group for staff with a focus on sustainability awareness and engagement, as well as a Sustainability Steering Committee.

United was also working with a third-party consulting firm “to evaluate potential procurement options for electricity from renewable sources” and to create a renewable energy strategy, the report said.

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