From Net Zero Pledge to Implementation - Six Steps Your Company Can Take
With COP 27 done and dusted, we see many new pledges like the loss and damage funding. The loss and damage fund came about as developing countries seek compensation for bearing the brunt of climate change despite lower emissions than developed countries. There is a significant increase in calls for action towards climate change, especially from developing nations.
Countries are already feeling the effects of global warming, from more erratic and extreme weather to food insecurity. Nations may set the tone for net zero standards but companies have a role to play in reducing emissions as well. Although we have roadmaps to achieve net zero by 2050, how can companies go about implementing this?
In this article, we cover 6 steps a company can take once they have pledged to achieve net zero emissions.
1. Establish a Sustainability Committee
Having a sustainability committee or appointing some employees to be in charge of the firm’s net zero efforts would help to streamline the process of achieving net zero. These are people who are in charge of the firm’s overall sustainability strategy. The committee should be made up of representatives from all areas of the business, including operations, finance, marketing, and human resources.
The committee should be responsible for monitoring and evaluating the progress of the sustainability initiatives, and making adjustments as needed. It should also develop education and training programs to ensure that all employees understand the importance of sustainability and are aware of the company’s goals. Finally, the committee should work with stakeholders, such as suppliers, customers, and investors, to ensure that they are on board with the company’s sustainability initiatives.
2. Develop a plan to reduce emissions
Developing a plan to reduce emissions is a critical step in any sustainability strategy. To do this, the sustainability committee should begin by conducting a comprehensive audit of the company’s current emissions. This should include both direct and indirect emissions, such as those from energy use, transportation, waste, and other sources. Consider using the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol standards to track emissions. Once the baseline emissions have been established, the next step is to develop a plan to reduce them. This plan should include specific goals and timelines, as well as strategies for achieving them. It should also include a monitoring and evaluation process to ensure that the goals are being met.
The sustainability committee should also research the latest technologies and strategies for reducing emissions, such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, carbon capture and storage. They should also consider the financial and operational impacts of any proposed changes, and ensure that the plan is feasible and cost-effective. Finally, the plan should be communicated to all stakeholders, including employees, suppliers, customers, and investors, to ensure that everyone is on board with the company’s sustainability goals.
3. Set measurable goals and track progress
Setting measurable goals and tracking progress is an important step in achieving net zero. The SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely) framework can be used to set goals that are realistic and achievable.
Once the goals have been established, implement a tracking system to measure progress. This system should include a timeline of key milestones, as well as a method to measure the success of each milestone. It should also include a process for tracking and reporting progress to all stakeholders, including employees, suppliers, customers, and investors.
Finally, regularly reviewing the progress of the goals and adjusting them would allow for a more agile and responsive approach to achieving net zero. Regular review also ensures that the goals remain relevant and achievable, and that the company is on track to achieving its net zero goals.
4. Inform employees and outline steps they can take
Companies can start by educating their employees about the importance of sustainability and the role they can play in reducing emissions. This can be done through training sessions, presentations etc.
Be specific in the steps that employees can take to achieve net zero. For example, encouraging employees to go car-free at least once a week and having vegan lunches. Companies should also provide employees with the necessary resources to make sustainable switches, such as access to renewable energy and energy efficient appliances. Consider implementing green employee benefits (link to article) that can help motivate employees to take action against climate change.
5. Get stakeholders involved in your sustainability strategy (suppliers, customers)
Employees are not the only stakeholders that should be involved in a company’s sustainability strategy. In fact, everyone up and down the value chain has a part to play as well. Involving suppliers in your net zero strategy signals to investors that sustainability is important to the company and may have rollover benefits of encouraging suppliers to be more sustainable themselves. Oftentimes, suppliers tend to be smaller business owners that may not have the means to implement sustainable strategies. This is where larger firms can help out by incentivising them to make sustainable switches, for example subsidising electric vehicles for transportation.
To educate stakeholders about sustainability initiatives, companies can create educational materials, such as brochures, videos, and webinars, to explain the importance of sustainability and the company’s commitment to reducing emissions. Companies should also consider hosting events and workshops to further engage stakeholders and explain the various initiatives they are taking to reduce emissions.
Finally, companies can use their social media channels to share information about their sustainability initiatives and encourage stakeholders to get involved.
6. Establish partnerships with other companies to share best practices
Establishing partnerships with other companies to share best practices is a great way to accelerate progress towards net zero. By forming partnerships, companies can share their successes, learn from each other’s mistakes, and gain access to resources they may not have on their own.
When establishing partnerships, it is important to find companies that share the same values and goals. This will ensure that the partnership is mutually beneficial and that both parties are committed to achieving their objectives. Once the partnership is established, the next step is to create a plan for sharing best practices. This could include setting up regular meetings to discuss progress, exchanging resources, and sharing data and insights. By working together, companies can make faster progress towards their sustainability goals, while also helping to create a more sustainable future.
Above, we have outlined six steps your company can take to move forward from your Net Zero Pledges. As we move towards a Net Zero world by 2050, consider implementing some of these steps in your firm’s sustainability strategies.