SW News 15
Navigating to net zero
Navigating to net zero
After more than a year of being locked down, there is a growing sense of newfound freedom in the air at the moment, as society starts to re-open. In the next few weeks we will all be navigating our way to a new (and hopefully better) normal. It’s exciting, but also a bit daunting, because we don’t know quite what lies ahead.
Navigating any kind of uncertain future is tricky and that’s where roadmaps, pathways and scenario plans come in. Nowhere are these navigational tools more needed than in guiding the way to a net zero future.
In the last couple of weeks, two important navigational reports were published: Net Zero by 2050: a Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector from the International Energy Agency, and Vision 2050: Time to Transform, from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
These roadmaps provide invaluable guidance on the steps that need to be taken to transform our economy and society by 2050, and the milestones along the way. Perhaps even more importantly, they show us that it’s possible to get there.
At SW, we are currently discussing net zero targets and roadmaps with several of our clients. Our advice is to think first and foremost about the zero part of the equation and develop a plan to reduce your emissions to as close to zero as possible by defining the concrete changes you are going to make to your activities, across your entire value chain. This is where your efforts should be focused and it will require transformational rather than incremental change. You may need to re-think your whole business model to achieve it.
The big question on most people's minds then is: to what extent is it acceptable to use carbon offsets to achieve the net part of the equation? It's a case of doing careful due diligence to choose verified carbon offsets that emphasise carbon removal, in order to compensate for emissions you cannot avoid.* B Corp have produced this helpful guide to setting net zero targets, which outlines the key steps businesses can take.
In the next few months every business, every sector, and every country will be navigating its way out of Covid-19 restrictions. If we're smart we can use this moment to point the compass in right direction, pick up the net zero roadmap and embed sustainability as we enter a brave new world.
*Note: the carbon offset space is complex and fast evolving, so what constitutes good practice now is subject to change. But that's a whole other newsletter....