In 2019 the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050.
The target requires the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, compared with the previous target of at least 80% reduction from 1990 levels.
Some useful steps if you don’t know where to start in your own business:
Well, the first step tends to be to understand what your businesses carbon footprint is and to understand the impact on the environment. It may be that you are already doing this through ESOS*, SECR* or as a part of a wider CSR programme. Knowing this will undoubtedly give an advantage over your competitors.
To cut through the jargon:
- Scope 1 & 2 – Emissions from purchased energy or from ‘owned sources’
- Scope 3 – Emissions from your supply/ value chain
Once you have this, the second step is to understand how this fits in with your business and its processes – you need to consider the whole value chain, from “raw material to the end customer”. What processes are carbon intensive and where should you focus your decarbonisation efforts on.
The third step is understanding that there will undoubtedly be barriers or risks to your Net Zero journey. Everyone always assumes that cost (upfront investment) will be the main one, however in most cases, the barriers are institutional, technological or psychological. Try and understand what these might be in your business and how to overcome them.
“Change has to be hard because you’re fighting against inertia“James Thornton
The fourth step is to understand who the person or people are that are going to drive this forward. Do you have that person already or do you need to recruit? Outline the roles and what is necessary.
The fifth step – What is your ideal endpoint? Are there any key milestones you will need to reach along the way? Remember these three key elements:
- Use less
- Use better (A strong focus on innovation can lead to brand enhancement and ultimately opportunities for your business)
- Offset (once carbon emissions are reduced to the minimum)
A strong focus on innovation can lead to brand enhancement and ultimately opportunities for your business.
The sixth step – Engage with your staff and stakeholders – make everyone aware of what you are doing and why – encourage employees to give feedback and ideas. Customers will also want to hear about your plans – you are part of their supply chain after all.
The seventh step – Ensure that initiatives align and complement the wider business strategy – you need to ensure that this becomes central to business operations and not an add-on, it will ultimately fail if not embraced and entrenched in the core business function.
Last step – implement and see how it develops.