Net zero is becoming an increasingly important talking point in organisations worldwide. With mounting societal and ecological pressure, businesses are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprints and encourage net zero practices across their entire workflow.
While many of us are familiar with net zero as a concept, what does it actually look like in practice, and what changes do businesses need to make (and stick to) in order to become sustainably net zero? At SustainIt, we work with businesses to incorporate sustainability data into their decision-making processes, helping them to take the right steps towards net zero using gathered information instead of leaps of faith.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of becoming a net zero businesses, and some of the best ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions across your entire organisation.
What are the Benefits of Achieving Net Zero?
Should the climate warm too much more, the world as we know it will no longer exist – sea levels will rise, wildlife will go extinct, deserts will expand and life for many will become substantially more difficult.
While preventing this is, of course, a key benefit of achieving net zero, there are other, perhaps a little more tangible, benefits that businesses can enjoy by lowering their emissions.
Financial Benefits of Net Zero
Many economists from around the world have posited that if climate change isn’t addressed imminently, the costs to do so will ‘rapidly balloon’. Essentially, right now is the cheapest that investing in green energy solutions will ever be, and that if we don’t do something soon, the financial costs of implementation will be far more in the future.
In addition to this, we’re expecting to see measures and legislation put into place over the next few years that financially reward businesses who achieve net zero. We’ll likely see heavy taxes on carbon consumption, so by striving to reduce your emissions, you’re essentially future proofing your business.
We’re also seeing a shift in stakeholder priorities, with many stakeholders looking to invest in businesses that are proactively engaged in positive climate action. By showing that you’re managing your emissions and striving to improve, you’re improving your business’ attractiveness to modern stakeholders.
PR Benefits of Net Zero
There’s no doubt that there’s been a cultural climate renaissance, of sorts. There’s a whole host of PR benefits that you can leverage through achieving net zero.
- Excellent marketing material – updates on the changes you’re implementing can go out across your network.
- Improve relationships with customers – people are more inclined to spend with businesses who are climate-forward.
- Employee satisfaction – there’s a lot to be said about the morale benefits of working at a progressive net zero business.
- Inspire – by leading your industry, you’ll inspire others to do the same (we’re all in this together, after all!).
Save the planet, improve profits and build up great relationships – it’s definitely worth the investment!
How to Reduce Carbon Emissions Across Your Business
In order to achieve the UK’s ambitious net zero carbon emissions target for 2050, positive changes will have to happen imminently. Fortunately, there’s a lot of avenues you can take to reduce emissions in every area of your business.
Before getting started, it’s important to build a data-led strategy that outlines the steps you’ll take, how you’ll take them and, most importantly, why you’ll take them. When working towards net zero, having your end goal in mind is always important; everything should work together in tandem to reduce your emissions.
Reducing Emissions in Your Supply Chain
Supply chains contribute to the majority of businesses’ carbon emissions, with inefficiencies resulting in excessive fossil fuels being used, money being wasted and more time being taken.
While it’s impossible to make generalised recommendations on how to improve your supply chain, as every business is different, there are a handful of key changes that can be made.
- Improve freight efficiency – by maximising the space you use (packaging, shipping vehicles, containers etc.), you’ll reduce the amount of freight that you need. This is both good for the planet, and good for your bottom line!
- Invest in electric vehicles – with electric solutions becoming increasingly available and affordable, there’s never been a better time to transition.
- Consider packaging materials – oftentimes companies can drastically reduce the amount of plastic they use in their packaging. Plastic production is responsible for a great deal of emissions every year.
Take the time to measure & analyse your supply chain on a regular basis. Have open discussions with your suppliers and work together to improve sustainability across the board.
Reducing Emissions in Your Building(s)
Alongside our supply chains, the buildings that we use on a day-to-day basis are responsible for a great deal of emissions over time. Fortunately, there are a few things (both small and big) that we can do to alleviate this.
- Consider your building’s size – if the pandemic has taught us anything, we often use offices that are far bigger than we need! Can your team work remotely, and if so, is downsizing an option?
- Monitor your HVAC system – air conditioning can account for up to 40% of a building’s yearly emissions. Keeping your systems maintained or upgrading to newer models is an option, but simply turning your AC off/down when it’s not needed will help.
- Efficient lighting – optimising daylight in the workplace, while relying on more efficient light sources is a great way to reduce emissions.
- Install green energy solutions – if you haven’t already, consider installing some solar panels!
- Source recycled materials – by relying on recycled materials, businesses can drastically cut down on emissions.
- Monitor water emissions – excessive water use can contribute to your building’s carbon footprint. Try installing highly efficient toilets, encouraging staff to prevent waste and (in some situations) using rainwater as a water source.
Achieve Net Zero with SustainIt
Net zero is a lofty target; we’d never suggest that the changes are easy, but they are necessary. However, there’s no reason to go through the process on your own. We work with businesses all over the world to improve and exceed their sustainability targets. Our family-run team at SustainIt are devoted to helping you achieve net zero.
To find out more, get in touch with our friendly team today – we’re on hand to answer any questions you might have.