12 Nov 2019
If you haven’t already heard the term, ‘Net Zero’, then you’ll undoubtedly be hearing a lot about it in the years to come. Faced with the very real threat of a climate emergency, the UK Government made a ground-breaking pledge back in June to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. Based on recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the commitment is a bold one, making us the first major economy to pass a net zero emissions law.
What Exactly is Net Zero?
For anyone not yet clued up, net zero simply means that any emissions produced will be balanced by schemes to offset the equivalent amount of greenhouse gases, e.g. by planting trees, or through carbon capture or storage.
Is Net Zero Achievable?
The UK already has policies in place to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, but it will take a considerable push to reduce this to net zero.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson used his recent conference speech in Manchester to announce his commitment to a sustainable economy. According to Business Green, Johnson said the UK could “lead the world with clean green technology and in reducing greenhouse gases that cause climate change.”
Despite the PM’s confidence, achieving net zero by 2050 is no mean feat and will require support from individuals and industry alike. For us to reach our emissions target, the government needs businesses and other organisations to get on board.
What Can Businesses Do?
Without the wider backing of the business community, we’re unlikely to achieve our ambitious target by the deadline. Businesses will need to rethink their approach to energy to play their role in reducing our overall emissions.
Here are a few things you should consider as a business owner:
- Go Beyond Compliance with SECR – Those mandated to Streamlined Energy Carbon Reporting (SECR) should use this opportunity to go beyond compliance, using the SECR legislation to kickstart their commitment to energy reduction. By building on the SECR Framework, not only will you be helping us achieve our net zero target -allowing you to promote your green credentials, by improving energy efficiency, you could also make significant cost savings. Good news for the planet and for your business.
- Create an Energy Plan – If you don’t already have an energy strategy in place, it’s time to get one. If you’re ahead of the game and have an established energy plan, take the time to review it to see where you can reduce your carbon footprint. Many businesses are making the switch to sustainable energy suppliers. An energy consultant can help you find the best supply contracts to suit your business from suppliers who use renewable energy sources.
- Consider On-site Generation – If your business premises are suitable, you could go one step further and generate your own energy. As energy costs continue to rise, more and more businesses are moving away from the grid, with 80% of businesses looking to generate a quarter of their electricity onsite by 2025. There is a whole host of technology on offer, from solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to combined heat and power plants (CHP). You’ll need to consider a range of factors to find the right solution for your business.