EACH BUSINESS IS BEING urged to play its part in reducing carbon emissions, to stabilise rising temperatures and slow climate change.
Described as a ‘code red for humanity’, the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report revealed some stark realities about the state of Earth’s climate in 2021. It highlights the effect human activity is having on the environment and Bureau Veritas is encouraging businesses to consider what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint and move towards Net Zero.
Published in August, the IPCC report is the first major review of the science of climate change since 2013. It revealed that global surface temperatures have significantly increased since 1970, with the past 5 years the hottest since records began in 1850. Scientists who produced the report attribute 90% of the global retreat of glaciers and the decrease in Arctic sea-ice to human activity, highlighting a number of hot extremes, but less frequent and less severe cold events.
Everyone to Act on Climate Change
The climate crisis is a global challenge, that requires everyone to act and contribute, and it’s already been demonstrated how this can be done. The ban on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in 1987 has averted a ‘climate catastrophe’ according to scientists. Continued and increased use of CFCs would have contributed to global air temperatures rising by an additional 2.5°C by the end of this century, it has been calculated.
With the UK hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November, the focus is on build back greener. Three quarters (78%) of UK businesses have made a net zero pledge, so firms should now be looking to shift from making long term commitments to accelerating action to reduce carbon emissions, according to Bureau Veritas.
“The key is to be realistic. With the UK’s own plan to become net zero by 2050, we see a lot of businesses making similar ambitious statements. We find businesses often don’t actually know how to accomplish this or have an over reliance on offsetting technologies which don’t even exist yet or feel that their actions will not make a difference. A successful and achievable net zero plan should include interim targets – to ensure efforts to become net zero are consistent and not left until it’s too late.
“Businesses that are not clear on what steps they need to take to play their part in this international effort towards tackling climate change can turn to a sustainability expert like Bureau Veritas to make assessments of their current sustainability performance and set in motion recommendations for an effective carbon emissions reduction plan.”
Business Emissions Reduction Priorities
According to Bureau Veritas, the immediate priority for businesses are:
- Understanding your business emissions. Firms must calculate their baseline carbon footprint arising from its day-to-day operations (scope 1 of Greenhouse Gas Protocol), and then look on to the wider value chain for indirect emissions – such as those from suppliers and customers (scope 2 and 3).
- Set interim science-based targets covering the next five years – considering how data will be collected, measured and monitored, to ensure the business is on track to achieve the long term net zero commitment.
- Focus on the easy actions – straightforward carbon reduction opportunities such as reviewing lighting, heating and energy use, employee travel, reducing waste and switching to renewable energy sources.
- Review more long-term complex initiatives – start collaborating with customers, suppliers, and regulators. This will help generate new ideas for improving resource use, and also quickly identify opportunities such as funding grants, and to access new markets, new customers and talent.