Managing Your Net Zero Risks & Opportunities


Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail” and in his book, “Life’s Little Instruction Book,” H Jackson Brown Jr says, “Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity”. Both quotes are poignant today as we continue to respond to one of the biggest challenges in our lifetime. All of us will be acutely aware as individuals and organisations how well we were prepared for the risk of a global pandemic, and how well we recognise that with every risk identified an opportunity to improve and take action has arisen.


As the UK moves tentatively and carefully into a re-emerging society, we are reminded that despite our focus being continually drawn to Covid-19, other challenges have not disappeared. Climate change remains as large a threat as it was before the pandemic began and time is not on our side. As he wrote in his article We can do better than return to normal our MD, Simon Alsbury, said, “We believe there is a stark choice for all of us on Earth and in the next decade, we will decide the future of our home and what our children's futures look like.” Simon provides timely advice on how to approach sustainability and your Pathway to Net Zero.


Energise have been helping clients on their Pathway for over 12 years and through continued assessment of risks and opportunities we have saved our clients a massive £35m in energy costs and 135,000tCO2e. We can help you do the same. We are committed to making your pathway as easy as possible, and as part of that, we are providing free access to our sustainability toolkit. This includes a free Empower Membership to our Net Zero Hub, where you can start your pathway to Net Zero, access guidance which will help you identify available opportunities to save money and reduce and rebalance your carbon footprint.


Before you start


Be Courageous – Commit yourself to be thorough in your risk review, focus on the opportunities you are going to discover and how you, your organisation and the planet is going to benefit from the process. You are doing the work of a real Zero Hero, so own it! (cape, underpants, the whole outfit!)


Team Work - Don’t do this process alone. Recruit individuals from each area of your organisation. They will have better insight into their area.


Lean in – If something makes you uncomfortable, as Brené Brown says, “Lean into the discomfort of the work.”


Reach Out – Help is here if you need it. Net Zero Hub offers the “ask an expert service” and access to our forum where you can get advice from those who are or have already completed this process and best of all you can join for free.


Start the Process


Energise actively seeks out the highest standards. Where they don’t exist, we create our own. When it comes to risk and opportunities around your energy and carbon, we frame what we are doing in line with the Paris Agreement, and where applicable, the relevant ISO standards or industry standard. At each stage of the process we ask a series of questions to identify your risks and uncover the available opportunity.


Step One - Complete a PESTLE

An analysis of the organisation’s context, reviewing the environment in which your organisation operates from a Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental standpoint.

  • Everything you understand as an impact should then be framed as a question so that the organisation can understand its context. Here are some example questions:

  • Does your company have the right systems in place to be able to measure and report emissions in your operations and supply chains?

  • How might climate change and the Paris Agreement affect your company’s operating costs, business continuity and markets? Which risks must be managed?

  • What planning and research have you done into consumer attitudes towards a low carbon future and sustainability?

  • Are you using ICT to its full potential in your operations to improve their efficiency?


Step Two - Complete a SWOT


An analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that are apparent from your organisation’s context and current position. The status of the landscape of a SWOT may help define the businesses strategic approach.


Example Questions:


  • How can I address my weaknesses to take advantage of my opportunities?

  • How can I capitalise on my strengths to successfully combat threats?


Your Risk and Opportunities Register (R&O)


With consideration to the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that you identify, you can evolve this into a R&O which should be reviewed and updated regularly and can be managed as part of a systematic approach within your day to day operations. You may also choose to apply key performance indicators and targets.


Create Your Action Plan


A document focussed on what actions you are taking to realise your opportunities and mitigate, manage and review your risk. Action deadlines should be created, your team assembled, actions delegated and timetables for reporting back defined.

Measure Success


Don’t forget to measure and report on your successes!


Be a Hero, go Net Zero!


Sarah Penn is the Operations Director at Energise and oversees all of our client’s pathways to Net Zero – you can connect with Sarah on LinkedIn or read more about her in our Spotlight on Sarah Penn.

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