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What is NetZero and when do I need to achieve it?

Net Zero is on every business’s mind, so we’ve asked our Director of Sustainability, Peter Catlow, to put together a quick guide to help you understand Net Zero, what it is, why it’s important and when you need to take action.

What does Net Zero mean?

Carbon Net Zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas (Carbon Dioxide, Water Vapour and Methane) produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. We reach Net Zero when the amount we add is no more than the amount taken away. (National Grid)

What is a Net Zero target?

To achieve Net Zero it is necessary to address the three levels of emissions created by a business (or individual). These levels are known as Scope 1, 2 and 3.

Scope 1 – Directly created by your business.

Scope 2 – Created by your use of fossil fuel-generated energy.

Scope 3 – Created by your supply chain.

carbon net zero

What’s driving companies to set a Net Zero target?

Mandatory Reporting

A number of mandatory reports are driving businesses to set Net Zero targets. SECR requires circa 12000 UK companies to disclose information about their energy consumption and carbon emissions. TCFD has been created to improve and increase reporting of climate-related financial information.

Government policy

UK government has set a target of being carbon neutral by 2050, and are incentivising businesses to make this a reality. Bans on gas-powered vehicles by 2030; investment in renewables; tax breaks for EV cars are just some of these incentives.

Customer attitudes

Consumers are taking into account the footprint of the businesses they buy from, not taking this into account could be fatal to your cash flow.

Climate change is a serious threat

Rising sea levels, extreme weather, wildfires and droughts are symptoms of climate change.

Cost reduction

Cutting your consumption also cuts costs, lending a helping hand to the cause can actually save you money.

When should companies aim to be Net Zero?

Current Government targets are to be Carbon Net Zero by 2050, although the sooner you set out on the road to Net Zero the sooner you reap the benefits, environmentally, reputationally and economically.

What’s the first step to Net-Zero?

Measuring your carbon footprint and assessing areas of improvement is key.

Start with Scope 1 and 2 emissions as they are under your direct control, then look to understand your Scope 3 emissions.

Which internal stakeholders should be involved?

Short answer: everyone. Net Zero is a large scale operation and for it to be successful, everyone needs to be involved.

It speaks to a wider purpose, relating to the future of our upcoming generations, our environment and the planet.

Answering these questions is a good start:

  • Are you buying energy from certified renewable sources?

  • Do you have systems for measuring wasted energy and taking action?

  • Do you have a programme in place to develop the NetZero capability of your Supply Chain?

  • Author: Peter Catlow, Director of Sustainability

  • Creative: Robyn Miller, Marketing Manager

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