Preparing Businesses For A Net-Zero Future
‘Net-zero’, or the principle of achieving complete carbon neutrality, is a principle that has been adopted by several nation states in recent years. The growing severity of the climate crisis has inspired necessary action from governments around the world, all working in concert via recommendations and accords achieved through the COP summits.
The UK’s own net-zero strategy aims to attain carbon neutrality by 2050, with a suite of measures designed to impact the carbon footprint of both businesses and the individual consumer. Businesses are naturally responsible for a much greater proportion of national pollution, and expected to respond proportionally – but what steps should a business take towards net-zero?
Environmental, Social, and Governance – or ESG for short – is a new core framework through which businesses are examining and interrogating their practices. Through ESG consulting, businesses are able to target key areas of change with regard to sustainability and ethics, from legal compliance with new government net-zero legislation to the proper roll-out of internal initiatives for reducing carbon emissions.
The principle has seen growing popularity amongst larger-scale businesses, as environmental issues and ethical responsibilities become increasingly powerful PR factors – and as the regulatory leash tightens around specific industry practices and endeavours. For many businesses, ESG is the first step in recognising potential avenues for systemic change.
INVESTING FOR SUSTAINABILITY
Sustainability is a central theme in addressing a business’ environmental responsibilities. There are many ways in which conventional frameworks and processes might be energy-inefficient, whether with reference to work behaviours or equipment with a high resource demand.
The right investments in the right places can introduce new sustainable technologies to your business, with a consequent reduction in pollutive outcomes. One leading example of this relates to remote working, where investment in proper software solutions for communication and cloud collaboration can eliminate the carbon cost of your workforce’s commute near-entirely.
Where transport is an unavoidable necessity, there are options available to reduce the fossil fuel usage of your staff. There are government grants available to subsidise the cost of electrifying your company fleet, for example – eliminating business reliance on petrol or diesel and enabling a greater shift towards renewable energy sources.
REDUCING ASSET BURDENS
Another significant measure to reduce a business’ burden on the climate relates to its assets – in a number of ways. When talking about assets, we are typically referring to long-term physical investments such as buildings and equipment. By reducing unnecessary asset burdens, carbon costs associated to them can also be reduced. ‘Spare’ office buildings can be sold to enable sustainable investments and reduce energy usage.
But a business’ short-term supply habits can also have a serious impact on carbon footprint. If a business continually over-orders stock, they are investing in wastefulness – from the production of those materials to their transport and eventual disposal. A shrewd approach to supply can reduce these impacts.
Source: Startups Magazine