What does net zero mean for your business?

As the impacts of climate change become more severe the race to net zero is accelerating with more and more businesses, cities, investors, and institutions committing to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. But what do we mean by net zero? And what is a net zero strategy?

Transitioning to a net zero world is one of the greatest challenges humankind has faced. It calls for nothing less than a complete transformation of how we produce, consume, and move. It means achieving an overall balance between greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity and greenhouse gas emissions taken out of the atmosphere (for example by oceans and forests).

This transition is already underway, with the European Climate Law, the EU has set itself a binding target of achieving net zero by 2050. As an intermediate step net zero, the EU has raised its 2030 climate ambition, committing to cutting emissions by at least 55% by 2030. At a national level, Ireland is now on a legally binding path to net zero emissions no later than 2050, and to a 51% reduction in emissions by the end of this decade. Customers and employees and regulators are also stepping up requirements on companies to show full transparency of emissions, targets and results, and to align strategies and solutions with science-based targets.

Organisations that act today will become the industry leaders of tomorrow. In the process, they can win new business and gain a competitive advantage. Therefore it is vital that all organisations develop a net zero action plan and begin their transition. We recommend organisations take the following initial steps:

  1. Commit to a science-based net zero target in line with limiting global warming to 1.5°C to stave off severe climate disruptions that could exacerbate hunger, conflict and drought worldwide.
  2. Assess and analyse your emissions, report them publicly.
  3. Develop an emission reduction action plan which includes the allocation of time, resources and talent to achieve your science-based targets.
  4. Integrate sustainability and your net zero action plan into your business strategy, products and services.
  5. Engage with your community and your employees to accelerate climate action.

Organisations that take these initial actions are the most likely to survive and thrive as we transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy. But make no mistake, transforming your business is not an easy task. That is why partnering with like-minded organisations to share best practise and hiring extra expertise where needed is highly advised.

We are a sustainability consultancy with proven expertise in net zero strategy and helping companies to identify and deliver actions that lead to real world emissions reductions. We are ready to help your organisation. Contact us today.

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Madeleine Murray

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