Net Zero

What is net zero and why should your business be meeting UK targets?

“We are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.” Barack Obama

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Zero Carbon Tour Net Zero Essential Workshop
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Net Zero Carbon refers to a state in which the greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere are balanced by removal out of the atmosphere.

The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol supplies the world’s most widely used greenhouse gas accounting standards to measure and manage emissions.

There are 3 Scopes of Emissions:
Scope 1
Fuel you burn yourself (e.g. oil heaters and fuel in owned company vehicles).
Scope 2
Energy you consume (e.g. electricity).
Scope 3
Everything else! (e.g. waste, commuting, supply chain and more).

To reach net zero a business measures Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions to zero, and Scope 3 by a minimum of 50%, then balancing any residual Scope 3 emissions using accredited gold standard carbon removal schemes. To be net zero carbon a business can also be carbon neutral.

The UK government has set targets to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, but at present, reporting on Scope 3 emissions is not required for the majority of medium to large companies but this is likely to come into effect, as national emissions targets are strengthened and we get closer to 2050 and net zero. 

There are many benefits in starting to record Scope 3 emissions now, in advance of this becoming mandatory. Staying ahead of public policy, reputational risk, future proofing your business and more. Collaborative and decisive net zero action across the business community will create a future of unprecedented business opportunities – finding new growth and talent, lowering costs and building greater resilience.

The UK’s 2050 net zero target will only be achieved if all businesses, no matter their size, commit to reducing their carbon emissions.

For many businesses, especially SMEs, this represents a significant challenge and they must be supported to access the right information and tools to give them the confidence to commit to going net zero.

More details on demystifying Net Zero and net zero targets can also be found on Edie’s website here.

But, let’s take a step back – are you measuring your carbon footprint in the first place? If not, here is where you can start…

The British Chambers of Commerce tells us nine in 10 small companies are not even measuring their carbon emissions, while only one in seven have set reduction targets. Given SMEs make up 99% of UK businesses, they will play a crucial role in hitting the Government’s net zero target. They urgently need more hands-on support. 

The solution is proactively demystifying the process of reducing carbon and working closely and constructively with businesses right across the country on what they need to do.

It can seem daunting to know where to start but one of the key benefits of starting to make such incremental changes, is that organisations very quickly learn how to reduce carbon emissions across their whole suite of products and services. This then drives innovation through the supply chain, which is what will ultimately help meet the zero carbon commitments of our wider society.

There is also an ever-growing business case for reporting on carbon emissions:

Attract and retain talent: Nearly 40% of Millennials have chosen a particular job because of their employers’ stance on sustainability.

Gain competitive advantage: Studies show that 66% of consumers would spend more on a product if it came from a sustainable brand.

Increase cost savings: A well thought out sustainability strategy can reduce operating costs by as much as 60%.

Add brand value: By 2025, 75% of the UK workforce will be Millennial’s, who care deeply about contributing to society and the environment.

How Planet Mark can help

As a starting point, businesses should be measuring their carbon footprint to clearly understand where their biggest emissions come from and prioritise areas for reducing emissions year-on-year. After all, you can’t manage what you don’t measure!

Tackling your carbon footprint doesn’t have be complicated. Through Planet Mark Certification, we’ll help you understand the impact of your business and guide you through easy-to-follow strategies to reduce your emissions. We will also help you empower your employees to engage and propel your business through this journey. And, help you communicate your progress with confidence to the wider business community, to inspire others to do the same.

See our Beginners Guide to Carbon Footprinting to find out more. This guide is focused on the initial steps of gathering data and measuring a business or organisation’s carbon footprint.

Planet Mark community of members, from across all industries, are already taking climate action, contributing to society and encouraging others to do the same. You can see their impact and read about the steps they are taking in the Members section of our website here.

Join the Race to Zero and come Together For Our Planet

In addition, our Zero Carbon Tour – the UK government’s flagship campaign to raise awareness among the business community – will empower UK businesses and their employees to become part of a greater national effort to protect our environment by demystifying what is needed to achieve net zero. 

People who engage with the Zero Carbon Tour, will leave understanding what net zero carbon means, why it is important, and how organisations can align with UK net zero targets.

Through the Tour, Planet Mark is partnered with the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign and UK governments’ Together For Our Planet campaign. All members of the Race to Zero are committed to the same overarching goal: reducing carbon emissions across all scopes swiftly and fairly in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement, with transparent action plans and robust near-term targets.

Join the ‘Carbon Battle Bus’ on our Tour and Go Net Zero! There are multiple events all across the country, which you can join in-person or virtually. This could be your first step. The next step would be to join the Net Zero Carbon Essentials Workshop for those who want to take a deeper dive into understanding how to set a credible net zero target for their business.

Find out more and book on to events here.

“Humans are great problem solvers. We need to imagine a better future and work to create it.”

Sir David Attenborough