The Climate Change space is really exciting right now. There is lots of activity and I am happy to be a part of it.
But back in 2008 when I set up my first business working in this space (and the Climate Change Act had only just come into effect), it felt like our message over action on carbon was like pushing treacle uphill!
Yes our large manufacturing clients loved the first reason “Net Zero should be important to you”, but only if the payback on low and zero-carbon technology was less than 18 months!
Reason Number One
Energy savings! The deliverables of a Net Zero plan are energy reductions. And boy do we need these reductions more than ever with constantly rising energy prices. One of our clients said this week, had they not taken our advice and taken those bold steps to install energy reduction equipment and renewables, they would be facing an uplift of £3m on their energy bills! Let that word “uplift” sink in. Passing £3m onto customers at this moment of rising inflation would not be welcomed!
By working with us on your Net Zero strategy, we will find you energy savings, to help combat rising prices.
(The BBC just reported “High gas prices are likely to remain for at least the next 36 months” – Northern Ireland’s Utility Regulator – Rising energy bills: High gas prices ‘to continue for three years’ – BBC News).
Much further down the track (fourteen years later than my first venture into the Climate Change space), with umpteen successful and as many failed Government policies, uncoordinated and sometimes coordinated legislation, and countless “Climate Change” conferences (some generating more carbon emissions than they saved), we now have enshrined in law a Net Zero target for 2050.
Reason Number Two
Cameron and Osborne (like Morecambe and Wise but massively less fun), whilst helping to drive in green legislation, never understood that in order to kick-start a UK green revolution, tax rises from those using fossil fuels would be needed to create the massive investment in a low carbon economy and help those organisations think about driving change. But look now, if you want to supply a Government contract (over £5m) you must show that you have a Net Zero plan. And if you are a subbie, supplying an organisation who wants to supply a Government contract (over £5m) you too will need to exhibit a Net Zero plan, as your client can only fully understand their emissions, if they understand yours.
This last statement about who needs to understand who’s carbon emissions, opens up a big can of worms talking about the scope emissions as defined by the Green House Gas Protocol.
We are months away from Government taxes on business who are not able to reduce their carbon emissions. I don’t think this is just for the large corporates, it’s for all, as the whole of the UK needs to be Net Zero.
What does Net Zero mean? Well, the actual definition…
“a target of completely negating the amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activity, to be achieved by reducing emissions and implementing methods of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere”.
We are not talking about ZERO CARBON here… as that is about creating no emissions. Being Net Zero is about doing your best to reduce, exploring renewable energy, then finding ways to offset what you can’t stop using in your organisation. A balance.
Don’t worry, if all this seems too confusing right now, book onto one of our Net Zero Manager Training Courses, listen to some of our webinars, or book a Strategic Vision Day for your organisation!
Reason Number Three
If your organisation needs some funding going forward, then you are going to need to exhibit that your organisation has a plan for Net Zero. Large institutions are signing up to the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures.
In a nutshell, they need to exhibit that their investments are sustainable, so guess what, they feed the reporting down to the organisation needing funding, you.
Plus interest rates for sustainable investments are lower – check out the former UK Green Investment Bank, now owned by Macquarie with significant investments in the Green sector.
Reason Number Four
Employees want more!
My third business in the Sustainability sector is Climate Change Professionals. Part of our organisation is to find candidates for some amazing roles in Sustainability and the Built Environment. Candidates are asking questions of the organisation they are about to work for and they want to scrutinise the detail of that organisations Sustainability and Net Zero plans. And with every candidate having the choice of five or six organisations, those which stand out in this field will attract the best talent.
Reason Number Five
Some large corporates are well underway recording, reporting and targeting their scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions.
In order for them to make reductions in their scope 3 emissions, they need to talk to their supply chains and understand your emissions. If you haven’t had a letter or email yet, you will.
When you were in school, do you remember the feeling if you hadn’t prepared for a test you were taking that day? My advice is to get ahead of these letters and emails. It is so much nicer when you can respond in a robust way and not be on the backfoot. It’s also nicer when you are ahead of your clients, taking solutions and opportunities to them. It’s also nicer when you and your team understand the impact of your organisation on the Planet and you can actively engage with clients about it. There is no shame in holding your hand up and saying “this is where we are, we want to do better, but this is our starting point” because we all need to start somewhere!
And you also don’t need to have a kneejerk reaction or panic. It’s about setting a credible route map, with incremental steps year on year. Our work with a multitude of clients has taught us that!
If you have a letter or email or you want to get ahead of the game, then contact me to find out how we can support you.
Reason Number Six
This actually is my favourite reason and leads on from the previous. Post pandemic and in the era of Climate Emergency, now is the time to differentiate your organisation from others by understanding your emissions and having a plan to reduce. For me, I created the UK’s First Zero Energy Cost/Net Zero Business Park ten years ago! Back then I knew we had to do more and challenge materials and practices in the building World. I knew we had to explore other ways. Now I am reaping the benefits with higher rentals, higher yields, zero voids, and a bucket load of clients in the construction and development sector asking me how I did it and if I can help them?
We also help multiple businesses each year to understand where their growth is going to come from, does a low carbon future holds the keys for your organisation? Engage with clients over low-carbon solutions and see your relationships change. I dare you to be bold. Let us help you with this transition.
Reason Number Seven
The next generation and a sense of purpose!
Our kids. Often in our Strategic Vision Days on Net Zero, our clients have compelling stories of the need to act for the health and well-being of their children. This should be one of the biggest drivers. I can also tell you that improving the Sustainability of your organisation will also help you feel better about yourself and your sense of purpose in life. Trust me. Start the process and see the difference. Climate Change anxiety is real and mental health is real, so help yourself whilst making a more sustainable future for your organisation at the same time.
Reason Number Eight
Often at Strategic Vision Days, we might find a few with the attitude of “what is the point of us doing this, if places like China don’t bother?”
We are all responsible for our Planet and we lead other countries by our example. Also, when everyone understands the carbon impact of the product they are buying, and there are other products on the market with lower emissions, we will make informed decisions, forcing places with lesser Sustainability records to improve. We won’t get anywhere unless we all start somewhere. And we can help show your clients the emissions of your products. We also have some software (thanks to my second business in the Climate Change World, that I developed with Lord Redesdale), that can manage all the data you might get from your supply chain and help you comply with environmental legislation.
Finally, for me seeing the pictures and videos of places I love in Malawi flooding and thousands of families displaced means that this journey to Net Zero needs to be started by all organisations now!
Thanks for reading. If you want to discuss anything in this article, contact me on 07867 780 661 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org