This critical period between 2020 and 2030, where we know we must be tackling the climate crisis, requires bold and ambitious action and that means shifting to net zero carbon. So, what does net zero mean for businesses?
What is net zero carbon?
As a starting point, businesses should be measuring their carbon footprint to clearly understand their impact on the environment. A business that is net zero is measuring their Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, reducing their Scope 1 and 2 emissions to zero, and Scope 3 as close to zero as possible while offsetting any residual Scope 3 emissions. To be net zero, a business can also be carbon neutral.
Why net zero carbon?
We have less than nine years left to make significant reductions in carbon emissions to have a chance of meeting the global 2050 net zero carbon goal. Alongside the environmental and social benefits of achieving net zero there are also significant business benefits for taking meaningful action.
The increasing amount of scientific evidence surrounding the importance of net zero goals, alongside escalating public concern around community health and wellbeing, are significant drivers of net zero targets for not only governments but businesses globally.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) represent 99% all UK limited companies and contribute more than 50% of the revenue in our economy. Therefore, the impact that SMEs can have is huge through both their own direct impact but also the way that they can inspire other organisations of a similar size and industry to get started on their own net zero goals.
And there are clear business benefits in doing so. Demonstrating the efforts of your business in achieving net zero provides a competitive advantage as well as low carbon incentives such as operating cost savings. It also future proofs your business, ensuring climate change resilience. It can also help businesses to attract and retain the best talent.
As councils, cities and governments set out ambitious climate targets, for instance the UK’s emissions targeting to achieve net zero by 2050, businesses who do not take meaningful action will face increasingly rapid changes in public opinion, pressure from stakeholders, legislative requirements, environmental shifts, technological innovation and other pressures which will transform the ‘business as usual’ approach.
While 45 per cent of FTSE 100 companies have committed to achieving net zero by 2050 or sooner, only 16 per cent have a plan on how they will achieve it (Source: Ecoact, 2020). Other FTSE companies require support to address the knowledge gap, helping to ensure that widespread net zero carbon commitments are rolled out alongside robust and credible plans for organisations of all sizes.
At Planet Mark we aim to catalyse transformational climate action that targets achieving net zero carbon in the Decade of Action to 2030.
Planet Mark Zero Carbon Tour
In 2021, Planet Mark embarked on an eight-month Zero Carbon Tour. The purpose of which was to radically increase knowledge around net zero to significantly reduce carbon.
Planet Mark’s Zero Carbon Tour took the net zero carbon message to communities across the UK physically and worldwide digitally in support of the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign, the world’s largest alliance of actors committed to halving global emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. It will highlight how businesses can set their own credible net zero carbon targets in line with Race to Zero’s rigorous minimum criteria and implement plans to achieve them.
You can find out more how you can get involved and how you can make your pledge here.
Planet Mark Net Zero Programme
As part of our commitment to help your business set credible net zero targets and achievable plans, we have introduced our Net Zero Programme. This programme provides the expertise to accelerate your journey to net zero, from setting credible targets to developing a strategy to achieve your goal.