4 reasons your organisation needs a Net Zero Strategy now

City skyline at sunset with solar panels in the foreground.

Net Zero is something that we’ve all heard a lot about, but what does it actually mean and why is creating a Net Zero strategy important? Our Principal Consultant, Peter Michel, explains more. 

Firstly, what is Net Zero?

In summary, Net Zero means decarbonising at a rate that is sufficient to align with the Paris Agreement targets, so that global mean temperature rises no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. To achieve this, we must focus our efforts on decarbonising rapidly and offsetting only those emissions that are not feasible to eliminate. Purchasing offsets fund projects that avoid emissions or, better yet, sequester carbon out of the atmosphere. We are living through a pivotal period, when humankind is shaping the climate of the whole globe for centuries, maybe millennia to come, which affects not just us, but all life on Earth. While this central reality provides the primary motivation for all Net Zero efforts, there are a number of other immediate factors spurring businesses throughout the economy to take action.  

Primary Drivers of Climate Action

Regulation

The UK has set an ambitious, legally binding Net Zero target for 2050 and has already begun to roll out a suite of regulation to ensure this target remains achievable.  Understanding regulatory thresholds and obligations is something that businesses need to keep pace with, as there’s a growing risk of non-compliance if you’re not aware of this regulatory landscape, which is evolving and expanding quite quickly. These concerns are among the most commonly cited reasons businesses come to us for support with Net Zero strategies.  

Financial risk

There is also a further financial risk of having a carbon-intensive business. Carbon taxation is expected to increase in both rate and scope within the UK and jurisdictions around the world, as it is seen as likely to be one of the most effective tools for achieving Net Zero. Therefore, having carbon intensive operations will increasingly pose a direct financial risk to businesses as energy costs go up, especially if you’re relying on fossil fuels. Decarbonising your operations and supply chain is a way to reduce this risk and get ahead of this potential cost in years to come.  

Customer demand

A lot of our clients themselves have customers who are reaching out to them and asking questions such as: 

  • What are you doing about net zero?  
  • What targets have you set?  
  • What’s your emissions intensity currently?  

Without sufficiently robust answers to these questions, organisations can risk losing customers. These demands can be a huge motivating factor for organisations to start to take Net Zero seriously and ensure continued relationships with key customers.  

There is also further market potential for organisations who demonstrate credibly that their products or services are low carbon and benchmark against competition. By highlighting that sustainability is taken seriously, organisations can distinguish themselves from their peers and potentially attract more demand. 

Employee expectations

A 2021 market-wide survey from Goldsmiths, University of London and Microsoft found that over 70% of employees thought that sustainability should be a top priority for business in the next five years. The workforce is increasingly factoring in sustainability performance when making decisions about where to work and this is especially true as younger generations are entering the workforce. As the ongoing societal wealth transfer continues to place increased market power in the hands of younger generations, it’s important to keep pace with consumer expectations regarding climate performance. There is also further opportunity to demonstrate social sustainability through schemes such as B Corp and EcoVadis. Given increasing concern about sustainability, demonstrating positive action for the planet can help with talent acquisition and contribute to employee satisfaction.

To conclude, adopting a Net Zero strategy is not just an ethical choice that benefits the planet, but a sensible business decision driven by factors such as customer expectations, risk mitigation and regulatory pressure.  Navigating the realm of Net Zero Strategies can be overwhelming, however we’re here to help! If you’re ready to find out more, access our latest webinar recording and Guide to Net Zero Strategy, which provide everything you need to know to get started. You can also get in touch with our experts at hello@energise.com and they’ll be happy to help with any questions.

Written By    Peter Michel

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