Three Steps to Start Your Net Zero Emissions Journey

22 Oct, 2021

Organisations are being urged to act now and set out their plans of becoming net zero.  Here are three simple steps you can take to start your journey today.

One of the core goals of COP26 is to secure global net zero by mid-century and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. To reach net zero, we need to be taking out just as much carbon from the atmosphere as we are putting into it.

This change will be difficult for lots of organisations, particularly those who emit a lot of carbon.  Here are three simple steps you can take to start your journey to becoming net zero today:

1. Know Your Carbon Footprint

Before you can make changes, you need to know what your environmental impact is.  The Carbon Trust have an SME Carbon Footprint Calculator which is a useful tool to help you measure your carbon footprint. 

2. Understand the Emission Categories

Your carbon footprint is measured in categories called ‘scopes’ which are defined by the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol:

  1. Scope 1: direct emissions from owned or controlled sources.
  2. Scope 2: indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating, and cooling consumed by you.
  3. Scope 3: all other indirect emissions from your company’s value chain.

Most of your emissions and cost reduction opportunities fall within the Scope 3 emissions, however they are harder to eliminate.  You can find out more about Scope 3 emissions on the Carbon Trust website

3. Set Your Objectives and Start Making Changes 

Once you’ve identified the sources of your carbon emissions and which categories they fall in to, you can start putting plans in place to reduce them. 

Factors falling into Scopes 1 and 2 are often the easiest and quickest way to make changes for example you could switch to a renewable energy supplier, electric vehicles, install solar panels or a rainwater harvesting system. 

For Scope 3, look at your supply chain, could you purchase more environmentally friendly products? Is the packaging recycled, recyclable or compostable? How do your employees commute to work? Could you offer a bike to work scheme or car sharing incentive?

You might be surprised to learn that you could even look to reduce your carbon footprint by supporting reforestation.  This not only helps reduce carbon but also provide wildlife habitats, supports biodiversity, and enhances the natural landscape.  To help us reach net zero, we need around 1.5 million hectares of additional woodland!  You can read more about this on the Woodland Trust’s website

Wherever you decide to start, make sure to set yourself SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound) which will help provide direction and focus.  For example, we will switch all our company vehicles to electric by 2025.  

Once you’ve set your objectives, you can put your plans in to action.  

How Can the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard help?

Whilst ISO 14001 doesn’t require your carbon emissions to be calculated, it sets a framework for you to understand your direct and indirect emissions sources.  In addition, it also takes into consideration the lifecycle of your supply chains environmental impact of its products and services which is useful when you’re trying to reduce your Scope 3 emissions. 

If you’re interested in starting your journey to becoming net zero, we can support you through the process, call our team on 0330 058 551 or request a quote for ISO 14001 today.  If you’re interested in learning more about  ISO 14001 and its benefits, take a look at our Introduction to ISO 14001 online module.

ISO Quality Services Ltd are proud to specialise in the implementation and certification of the Internationally recognised ISO and BS EN Management Standards.

Do you want to get ahead of your competition? Win more tenders or save time and money on reoccurring issues? Contact us today on 0330 058 5551 or email info@isoqsltd.com.

Alternatively, you can request a quote by filling out our enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.

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