What is preventing companies from taking action against climate change?

As Millenials, we are the first generation born knowing the risks our lifestyle will have on the planet. I always thought at some point we would have blamed our parents for their lack of action. Today I am a father, and I start to understand that we will be part of the blamed generation. We are now adults, we have jobs, some even pretty cool ones with great responsibilities in amazing companies. (Maybe,) it’s time for us to leverage our experience to move the lines. Long story short, we have to act. I refuse to be held responsible and have to find a way to explain “why?” to my grandchildren … All things considered, it’s way easier to act than to experience flashback flame or backlash in the future from our children and family.

Today, climate sceptics are the exception. Most companies acknowledge the situation, the risks and the potential consequences. In our collective unconscious, when a problem that might impact our lives so greatly is identified, we fix it or at least we try. If I’m detected with cancer, I will try to fight and cure it even though no miracle solution exists yet. In our case, why are companies not acting on climate change? Problems have been identified, risks are widely documented (pretty scary ones) and solutions exist however action leaves much to be desired. Why? 

After 18 months building Tapio, I personally met and interviewed over 100 companies (SMEs, listed corporations, international NGOs, SaaS, natural-based solutions, green-tech, etc.). I started to identify a pattern as to why companies are so slow to respond  to the climate situation. 

First, companies face a massive lack of internal competences. Fixing climate change is not part of their core business. It is a resource they have to acquire, develop or hire for. As we can imagine, they already have work to do. So, as long as they can avoid it, some will. Who are we to blame them? Luckily, climate change is becoming a pressing priority due to public, and government pressure.

Then, when they decide to act, they face an incredibly complex universe made of standards, calculation protocols, external auditors, a wide variety of solutions, regulations and frameworks. Highlighting a lack of human and financial resources. They have to find a way to act with precision and quickly on their main emission driver(s). They have to move forward step by step and the first step is the most important one but also the most complex one.

Eventually, the process is taking place in a changing environment. Indeed, mentality and regulation are evolving, luckily for the better but still evolving. Companies do not know the destination, they just started to accept they’ll have to start the journey. This adds a layer of uncertainty to the whole process. How to measure which action is worth taking if you do not know the exact goal or how results will be calculated? Companies are blind sailing on an unpredictable ocean.

To conclude, highlighting the problems does not mean we defend inaction. If we remember one thing from primary school is that “you have to read and understand the problem statement to respond to it”. Now that we roughly know the issues, let’s act.

At Tapio, we created a Carbon Management Software trying to take action as easy and efficient as possible removing external blockers, like the ones we just mentioned. Our goal is to build the tool that will allow your company to take its responsibility and transform your carbon-related commitments into reality. Together, let’s walk the talk.

As a company, how to lower your carbon footprint ?

As a company, why do you need to take control of your environmental footprint now

  • Hop on the momentum : Paris Agreement, Green Deal, … scientific recommendations are all pointing in the same direction.
  • Engage your stakeholders : employees, clients, investors, suppliers, … show them your commitments and onboard them on an impactful journey. 
  • Create a competitive advantage : differentiate yourself from your competitors.
  • Get ahead of regulation : start now and you will be prepared for future uncertain economic imperatives.
  • Enable cost reduction : on the long run, you will earn a high return on your carbon reduction investments even though the investment cost seems massive in the beginning of your process

Now, in order to take control of your environmental footprint, you need to develop a carbon strategy.

What is a carbon strategy?

The plan a company has to build when they decide to take their environmental responsibilities and play a role in the ongoing sustainable transition. The carbon strategy’s purpose is to manage and reduce all Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions generated by a company’s activity. Different gases are emitted but for practical purposes, the term ‘CO2 equivalent’ describes those GHG in a common unit. 

The problem is, once a CSR reflection is engaged in a company, people often struggle to start, set targets and make decisions about carbon emissions. 

Actually, it makes sense that companies do not turn into carbon experts overnight. They have their own reality, limitations, economical restrictions and ressources. It creates a paradoxical situation where companies want to act but do not know where to start or do not have the necessary resources to launch such a process.

A carbon strategy is not an end in itself but a necessary means to achieve a sustainable transition.

Tapio is a Carbon Management Software helping companies to understand, set and follow in time a carbon strategy. All carbon strategies will end up being unique but four essential elements have to be addressed and represent the four main pillars on which Tapio’s platform is based.

  1. Measure and Analyse – you cannot solve what you do not understand.

A carbon report is an estimation of all carbon emissions from a company’s activity. As the starting point of a carbon strategy, it sets the baseline on which to take action. To easily analyse data, Tapio offers an overview of the company’s carbon report through relevant and visual dashboards. 

Here are some extra tips to keep in mind along the way:

  • Do not try to skip this step, it will decredibilize all the strategy. 
  • Choose an external partner that follows protocols (GHG or Bilan Carbone) : you will have to collect and provide specific data but cannot make the assessment yourself.
  • Do it at least once a year to keep the big picture in mind and track your progress towards your goals. 

  1. Reduce – the perfect ton of CO2 is the one that is not emitted.

Sustainable transition means cutting GHG emissions in order to limit global warming and achieve a net-zero carbon future. After analysing where there is room for improvement in the carbon report, solutions can be established. Tapio provides a generator of clean and alternative solutions aligned with the company’s needs and financial resources. 

The objective here is to reduce all the emissions of your activities which sometimes implies to restructure some operations or rethink the way you perform. As laborious as it may seem, keep the big picture in mind, you commit, at your scale, to help reverse climate change. 

  1. Offset – what you cannot reduce today, you can offset.

You’ll have to make choices and accept a certain level of non-compressible CO2 emissions in the first years. Those incompressible emissions should be reduced at most. However some will stick around. Therefore offsetting is a possible option : financing carbon capture projects to compensate these remaining emissions. Tapio works with experts to offer certified and transparent projects. Social impact is also part of these offsetting projects: Tapio ensures that these initiatives bring co-benefits to local communities and their environment.

  • To reduce is your highest priority, only afterwards would offsetting come in handy. 
  • Choose wisely your project, if they are not certified or transparent enough, you’ll probably give your money to the wrong organisation and risk backlash. 

  1. Engage – Discuss the matter and spread the word 

Acting towards sustainable transition by setting a carbon strategy is essential but also profitable. Customers, investors and the next generation of employees are in demand of transparency, sustainable purpose and resilience. A sustainability aligned strategy is key for future market leadership. By taking action on your environmental footprint, stakeholders’ interest will be higher and will create more opportunities. Tapio makes it possible to publish and report a company’s carbon strategy to the world (or specific actors, employees for example). By spreading the word, we will convince others to follow and the impact will be exponential.

  • Feel comfortable to communicate on your carbon strategy even though it is not perfect. Transparency speaks for itself, the objective is not to be the best in class immediately but to show you aim for improvement.
  • Onboard your employees in your carbon strategy to keep them engaged and attract new talents.  

This is how Tapio, all-in-one Carbon Management Software, has been conceived. It provides companies with a guide towards carbon neutrality and gives them the latest science-based and business insights on the subject. Reach out to us for any additional information, we will be happy to talk and guide you through our software and tools. 

Bonus Tips – avoid the traps. If you decide to start your sustainable transition, it needs to be real and fully transparent. Expectations are high today (and will only increase further) and people are not ready to believe everything they read. Make your initiatives, objectives and progress public.

A carbon strategy is not a presentation of the final results but of the journey. Do not hesitate to share an unperfect current situation. It’s the reason why you are implementing your strategy. The plan must be solid and flexible to easily integrate feedback and improve.