Net Zero: a quick how-to guide

Bringing you the latest news and insights on sustainability and the journey to Net Zero.

Gala Anania Published on Mar 01 2022

The #IPCC #climatereport tells us that climate risks are even greater than previously thought. Here’s what your company can do about it.

To avoid the worst effects of climate change and prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels, companies must set Net Zero goals to halve their greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This benefits the planet, but also companies themselves, as they derive clear benefits from reducing their emissions. So how does a company go about achieving Net Zero? The process boils down to three key steps: measure, reduce, and offset.

Measure

The first step of climate action is to take stock by performing an emissions inventory. This involves tracking your company’s emissions, but also its value chain’s (find out why in this article). Value chain emissions are harder to control than your own emissions, and measuring them is not an exact science, but value chain emissions typically represent most of a company’s overall emissions - which is why it’s important to track and reduce them. The inventory will tell you how much greenhouse gases are generated by each of your company’s activities, giving you a baseline from which to start reducing your emissions. Within that baseline, you’ll also be able to identify which activities are most emissions-intensive, and thus likely candidates for reduction.

Reduce

Now that you’ve tracked your emissions, you can use this information to set Net Zero goals, with a roadmap that makes sense for your company. Decide what actions you can implement in the short, medium and long term to cut emissions and reach your goals (if you’re just getting started, here are some ideas for quick, impactful wins). For rapid cuts, focus on high reduction potential areas - i.e. activities that emit a lot of greenhouse gases and can be optimised to become more emission-efficient. Designing emissions out of your product can also go a long way. To reduce value chain emissions, collaboration is key. You can work with (or change) your suppliers, and you can even engage your competitors to effect broad change and ease the decarbonisation process in your industry.

Offset

Despite your best reduction efforts, some emissions are unavoidable. You can compensate the global warming effect of these emissions by purchasing offsets - essentially, supporting projects that keep carbon out of the atmosphere. Keep in mind that offsets should be a last-resort solution to balance out hard-to-decarbonise emissions: prioritising reductions over offsets is key for a credible Net Zero strategy.

Repeat and communicate

Measuring, reducing and offsetting your emissions is the basic ongoing process behind Net Zero. Net Zero is both a journey and a destination. If you’ve successfully completed these steps and designed and started implementing a roadmap to halve your emissions by 2030 - congratulations, you’re on track to Net Zero! You now have the hard data to show that your company is environmentally responsible - use it to build your reputation as a sustainable business by telling stakeholders about your efforts.

If you need any further guidance to get started, MyFootprint can help you with each of these steps - let’s have a chat.

By Gala Anania, Climate Evangelist at myFootprint