Two years ago, in 2019, the UK became the first G7 country to make it a legal requirement to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
To succeed, this will require a drastic reduction in emissions and major investment in removing remaining emissions from our atmosphere.
From business decisions and new technologies to lifestyle change, there is massive potential for us to cut emissions at both an individual and collective level.
Support will be needed from the Government and businesses will, according to a UK Energy Research Centre report, need to make a “fundamental change to their business models and operating practices”.
If we are to succeed in meeting this target, it is imperative that the Government ensures there is sufficient support for businesses to confidently make this transition.
Our Government must also be more ambitious and support firms so they are able to take advantage of significant economic opportunities.
First, it is crucial you have a clear understanding of what “net zero” means for your business.
Reaching a point where we produce absolutely no greenhouse gas emissions would be virtually impossible.
That’s why the term is “net zero”, rather than “absolute zero”. By agreeing to go “net zero”, it means that together, we are committing to removing enough emissions from the atmosphere to balance what we produce.
By doing this, it is hoped we can reach a point where the emissions created by human activity are completely balanced by the emissions that our activity removes from the atmosphere.
Small businesses and ‘net zero’
Small businesses make up more than 99% of UK businesses and provide some 60% of private sector jobs.
That means the Government will not be able to reach net zero across the UK without also helping small businesses get there.
Results from a recent study from the Broadway Initiative suggest that the majority of small businesses are confused about what net zero is, and how we reach it.
This blog looks at what steps you can take to start your journey to net zero, and why it is a good idea for your business.
Why is ‘net zero’ important?
We as a society must do more to address our contribution to global warming.
UK businesses have a crucial role to play if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
Many firms – large and small – now prioritise green choices and sustainability in their their business models.
It is certainly in your best commercial interests to be mindful of your green credentials.
According to Statista, 80% of UK residents have stated that they are either “fairly concerned” or “very concerned” about climate change.
Circular reports that consumers are increasingly interested in products and services that are more sustainable. Therefore, cutting your emissions will be good for business.
The risk of setting targets that seem a long way in the future – in this case nearly 30 years – is that they do not incentivise immediate action.
However, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is keen to stress the importance of immediate change, saying that, “lower greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 lead to a higher chance of keeping peak warming to 1.5°C”.
In other words, businesses and the Government must act now to play our part.
There are many ways to measure your carbon emissions and track the impact of your efforts to reduce them.
Collaboration is key, whether you are part of large and complex supply chains or an SME looking to start your net zero journey.
So, too, is having a strategy and a timeline towards carbon neutrality in place now.