How can a business achieve Net Zero?

December 18, 2023

In every part of society, people are becoming more climate conscious.

As part of the Paris Agreement – signed by 196 world leaders – we all have a responsibility to work towards stopping global warming from reaching below two degrees Celsius about pre-industrial levels, by removing as much Carbon Monoxide from the environment as we emit.

This is also known as becoming Net Zero. Scotland is leading the way, with a declaration that as a country, we will reach Net Zero by 2045. We’re all moving to a greener way of living, and sustainable businesses are becoming more attractive to both customers and stakeholders.

If you haven’t started thinking about your business’ path to Net Zero, now is the time to start.

So, how can a business achieve Net Zero?

Here are the steps you need to take.

carbon emissions and pylons at sunset

Monitor your emissions

The first step to achieving Net Zero is understanding where your emissions are coming from.

You can start with our Self-Assessment Energy Audit, which will help you quickly identify areas of energy consumption and wastage.

Once you have completed this, one of the most effective ways to measure your emissions is through Carbon Monitoring.

You can read more about why Carbon Monitoring is important here.

You can evaluate this yourself with complicated calculations. Or, you can work with a partner and utilise a specifically designed carbon monitoring system.

Here at Utili-Tay, we use a system called Eniscope, which uses installed hardware to provide granular data and insights about your energy use in real time. This helps you put your energy use into real-world context, and spot trends of wastage and inefficiencies over time.

We recommend you undertake carbon monitoring for an initial period of at least 3 months, after which point you will have enough data to identify fluctuations and make informed decisions.

You may also want to perform a Life Cycle Assessment of your products to understand their environmental impact, if applicable.

Analyse the results

Now that you have collected data on your carbon consumption, you can analyse the results to understand where your inefficiencies lie.

Examples of wastage will be personal to your business operations but could include:

  • Leaving equipment on when it is not operational.
  • Lighting unused office spaces.
  • Increased heating costs due to poor building insulation.

From here, you can start to create an action plan to cut down on your carbon emissions and set benchmarks to stay on track.

Make a plan

Based on the data you have collected, you may choose to either cut down emissions as a whole or reduce energy consumption in a particular area of your business.

The plan you create will be personalised to your business, but here are a few suggestions of activities you may want to consider:

  • Converting to energy-efficient lighting in key areas of electricity wastage.
  • Building an electric transportation solution.
  • Reducing product packaging or implementing recyclable solutions.
  • Setting out business-wide recycling and waste disposal practices and monitoring their uptake.

Of course, your goals need to be specific, measurable, and time-bound, to give you the best chance of success. They also need to be realistic in line with the data you have collected.

For example:
Reduce excess electricity use across all units by 23% over the next 12 months.

Educate your team

Achieving Net Zero isn’t something you can do alone. It requires full commitment from every member of your team.

Our collective carbon footprint is a pressing issue across all areas of life, and so in many cases, your employees will be excited to get stuck in. They may even wish to drive your strategy, so you should consider appointing a ‘Sustainability Champion’ to help encourage everyone to do their bit.

You may need to provide some education on the actions you are taking and how they will help. Consider putting on some sustainability awareness training and internal talks, to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to meeting your Net Zero goals.

Measure your progress

As you work through your action plans, it is important to continuously monitor your results against your original readings. This way, you can continue to adapt your actions if you feel it is necessary.

Sometimes the smallest actions can make a huge difference. We recommend starting with quick wins, such as turning off lighting, heating, and equipment when not in use.

The actions which are likely to have a long-term impact will typically require investment, such as optimising your processes or committing to carbon offsetting through initiatives such as afforestation.

solar PV panel on a sunny day in Dundee

Invest in renewable technologies

Finally, one of the key steps you can take towards achieving Net Zero is investing in renewable technologies, such as solar power, wind, geothermal, and hydro.

Renewable technologies form fundamental parts of the UK government’s pledges towards achieving Net Zero. Here are a couple of the commitments that have been made:

  • Banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035.
  • Generating all electricity from clean sources by 2035.
  • Installing 600,000 heat pumps every year to replace gas boilers by 2035.

With that in mind, now is the ideal time to get ahead of the curve.

In conclusion, how can a business achieve Net Zero?

We hope that this blog has helped you understand how a business can achieve Net Zero.

The action you take to reduce your carbon impact will be unique to your business needs, but the best first step you can take is carbon monitoring.

Here at Utili-Tay, we are passionate about helping businesses improve their environmental footprint and achieve a greener future.

If you would like to find out more about our services, please get in touch.

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