co2 written as clouds to represent net zero emissions

What is Net Zero? A quick and easy to understand guide.

December 3, 2023

Net zero is a commonly used phrase when discussing energy and sustainability, but what you may be wondering is what does it actually mean?

In this simple guide, we’ll explain what the net zero means, why it matters and the impact it may have on you and your business. 

What is Net Zero?

The term net zero refers to achieving an overall balance between the greenhouse gases emitted and the total amount of these gases removed from the atmosphere. 

Ultimately, to achieve net zero, the greenhouse gases that are being emitted must not exceed the amount that is being removed from our planet’s atmosphere.

This vital balance can only be achieved if we reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being produced. Whether that’s achieved by changing our day-to-day behaviour, more efficient business practices or using innovative technologies (e.g. carbon monitoring, capture and storage) alongside offsetting the emissions which can’t be removed. 

carbon emissions and pylons at sunrise which are being reduced as part of net zero initiatives

Why does Net Zero matter? 

The goal of net zero is to reduce the impact of the adverse effects of climate change which has been directly linked to greenhouse gas emissions, especially carbon dioxide. 

According to Oxford University, human-caused carbon dioxide emissions need to fall by 45% by 2023, and net zero globally achieved by 2050 to prevent the worst climate damages.

To achieve this target, we have to collectively accept this responsibility and acknowledge that we all have a role to play in protecting the future of our planet for generations to come.

The transition to net zero can also be considered as a driver of economic growth in the UK, with a booming energy sector fueled by innovation, creating numerous job opportunities and encouraging investment in green technologies. 

 Why should businesses care about Net Zero? 

The UK target for net zero is 2050, but Scotland has committed to achieving this five years earlier in 2045, so businesses need to be ready to comply with new laws and make changes to their practices throughout the transition to net zero. 

While adapting to change and implementing new ‘greener’ ways of working may seem daunting at first, there are several reasons why businesses should care about net zero: 

  • Cost Savings: Being more energy efficient allows businesses to reduce their energy costs and make savings on their energy bills. 
  • Competitive Advantage: Get ahead of your competition! Using innovative technology and more efficient practices to win over clients and be more competitive in your sector. 
  • Accountability: In the coming years, businesses can expect to be tightly regulated on their energy consumption. In order to comply with future regulations, it is important for businesses to understand their usage, as regular reporting is likely to become a legal requirement.
  • Commitment to Sustainability: Having a strategy not only shows that you are taking environmental issues seriously, engaging in corporate social responsibility (CSR) can improve your organisation’s reputation both internally and externally as the business is considered to be ethically responsible. 
  • Employee Attraction: Sustainability is a key issue for young people in the UK (who will make up the majority of the future workforce) with 60% fearing businesses’ commitments to the environment will be forgotten in the aftermath of the pandemic. 

Strategies to Achieve Net Zero

It’s clear that setting a target is not enough, for many it’s simply just words. 

Therefore businesses need to develop short and long term strategies accompanied by a clear action plan of how you are going to achieve your goals to meet the net zero targets. 

This may include: 

  • Reducing your emissions by using less and being more environmentally conscious. 
  • Reducing wasted energy by investing in innovative technologies – e.g. carbon monitoring or smart lighting.
  • Finding more sustainable energy sources – e.g. renewables like solar or wind power. 
  • Removing carbon through carbon capture and storage systems.
  • Offsetting your emissions with financial investment in carbon reduction or removal projects. 
wind turbines in a field at dusk

Our Self-Assessment Energy Audit is a great place to start, as it will help you work your current energy usage and figure out the key priorities for your business’ energy saving strategy. 

At Utili-Tay, we can help you identify exactly how and where you are wasting energy with innovative technology, Eniscope that allows us to monitor your energy usage and help you to understand how your business can be more efficient. This can reduce your carbon footprint, help you make savings on your energy bills and ensure that you’re not left behind in the transition to net zero.

Get in touch with our team to learn more about how your business can be prepared for a greener future.

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