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.

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

Within the macro area of the ecological transition, it is important to mention the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. This plan of action was signed in September 2015 by the General Assembly of the United Nations and came into force on January 1st, 2016. This Agenda has identified 17 objectives and 169 targets, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), towards which members states aim to end extreme poverty, and create a fairer, environmentally sustainable world (United Nations). Participants are thus called upon to change their approach with a view to achieving the targets by 2030. To track global progress towards the SDGs, a set of 230 indicators was adopted on March 11, 2017, by the UN Statistical Commission. These indicators, as defined at that time, are intended to serve as the primary basis for monitoring global progress towards the SDGs.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN

The commitment to these goals involves not only member states and their citizens but also companies, which make the pursuit of sustainable development objectives part of their corporate objectives. That way, businesses acknowledge the importance of their activities and the impact they have on society, thus actively participating in the change of the latter itself. These objectives and targets rapidly became a universal language for all types of institutions, governments, businesses all around the world, sharing common sustainability values, guidelines and commitments, and fighting for the same aims and results. Indeed, they offer a holistic framework for entities to contribute to their realization over the next 10 years.

As soon as Tapio was launched, driven by the urge to take action and support the UN’s initiative, the founders Louis Collinet and Nathan Clarke decided to integrate two sustainable development goals in their strategy and action plan, the most relevant ones to them and their business. Indeed, by allowing companies and people to take ownership of their CO2 emissions to reach carbon neutrality in an easy, user friendly and automated way, Tapio’s carbon management software answers to SDG 9Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation as well as to SDG 13Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

You have no idea which SDG your company could commit to? Or as an individual you would like to deep dive into one or several goals in particular ? Go have a look on the UN’s website and let yourself guide by your personal interests or your company’s core values.

What are the Science Based Targets ?

In the Paris agreement adopted during the COP 21, 195 states committed themselves to fighting climate change by limiting the rise in temperature to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century. To keep global temperature below this level, targets for reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG emissions) must be set by a multitude of actors. In particular, companies represent a  significant leverage considering global GHG emissions are influenced largely, directly or indirectly, by corporate activities. 

In fact, 1.000 companies among the world’s largest emitters are responsible for 20% of global GHG emissions.

(Science Based Targets initiative, 2016).

How can reduction objectives be set in each company in a fair and effective manner? Should some sectors or regions contribute more than others? This is where the Science Based Targets initiative1 (SBTi) comes in.

The SBTi aims to encourage and help companies to define reduction targets aligned with the latest scientific recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC or GIEC in french). In other words, the initiative promotes strategies in line with the level of decarbonisation required to maintain the increase in global temperatures to below 2°C or even below 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial temperatures. The purpose is to prevent the worst effects of climate change by showing companies how much and in what time frame they should reduce their GHG emissions.

Science Based Targets initiative is a key tool to prepare for and accelerate transition to a zero carbon economy.

(Science Based Targets webinar, 2020)

More than 1.000 companies worldwide are taking action against climate change by setting emission reduction targets through SBTi. Companies from all sectors and of any size are welcome to join the movement, as Spadel (BE), Dell Technologies (US), Deloitte (UK), or Renault Group (FR) did. SBTs benefit the planet and your company by, inter alia, boosting competitive advantage in the low-carbon economy.

Our all-in-one carbon strategy platform provides you the tools and guidance to reduce CO2 emissions, such as the ability to measure your progression towards your SBT(s).

1. Science Based Target initiative is a collaboration between CDP, World Resources Institute (WRI), WWF, and the United Nations Global Compact and one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments.

Sources
https://sciencebasedtargets.org/resources/files/PUBLICATION_SBT_BD_web.pdf
https://sciencebasedtargets.org/about-us