Developing a decarbonisation strategy
The world has changed. So have the expectations of your customers and employees. Companies are coming under ever-increasing pressure to demonstrate an effective ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) and sustainability strategy. Whilst previously the preserve of large to medium-size companies, a recent survey suggests around one-fifth of smaller firms are now dedicating resources to ESG management.
A decarbonisation strategy is a plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
The process you should follow:
- Assess your current carbon footprint. Measure your energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from all sources, including electricity, natural gas, transportation, and waste.
- Set targets for reducing your carbon footprint, and establish performance measures for achieving these targets.
- Implement the solutions you have identified. This could include or changing business practices.
- Collect and analyse data, in order to demonstrate progress against your commitments, and make adjustments where needed to stay on track.
- Share your successes and challenges with stakeholders, including employees, customers, and suppliers, to build support for your decarbonization efforts and create opportunities for collaboration.
- Continuously update and improve your strategy. Keep track of new technologies, policies, regulations and global trends to maintain and improve the effectiveness of the strategy.
- Align board and senior management remuneration with environmental performance.
Successful ESG practices stem from clarity of purpose, strong leadership, behavioural change and the development of a sustainable culture. It starts by building capability and board and management level; establishing goals and commitments; acquiring and nurturing talent; and communicating effectively. The key to embedding sustainability is to focus on the business case for these initiatives.
Your decarbonisation strategy should align with your overall business strategy. For example, your strategy may consider:
- Changing your working practices to reduce commuting emissions
- Relocating or redesigning your workplace environment
- Upgrading equipment
- Installing renewable energy systems
- Developing new product or service offerings
- Working with your supply chain, logistics team and distribution partners to reduce emissions.
- Investing in carbon capture
Specific strategies and solutions that work best for SMEs will depend on the industry, size, and location of the business, and whilst these strategies will vary, the basic elements will be the same.