How to make a Net Zero Strategy feasible for your business?

With our ambition to become B Corp certified, as well as being a business that helps other organisations on their sustainability journey, it was important that we understood our environmental impact and eliminated this.

 

With the government enacting new legislation to mandate Net Zero targets by 2050, it was important for Profit Impact to get on board and make the required changes. 


We're a small consulting business that has been designed to allow our teams maximum flexibility, keep our environmental impact low and enable competitive pricing. So, creating our strategy was not as difficult as we may have anticipated, and it did highlight things that we weren’t aware of about how we operate.


After some research and calculations, we are proud to announce that we will be Net Zero by the end of March 2022, the end of our financial year. 


We now have a thought out strategy which was made possible by reflections on our emissions and making key targets to reduce them. 


Here we outline the 3 steps we took to take us from where we are today to where we want to be - which is a business that has a Net Zero impact on the world in which we live.



Step 1: Raise your business’s understanding of the climate crisis


Before we rushed to create a Net Zero strategy, it was essential to understand and educate ourselves on what we actually wanted to achieve and what steps we needed to take to do this. 


Put simply, Net Zero is the balance between the amount of greenhouse gases produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. It is achieved when the amount added is no more than the amount taken away. 


A successful Net Zero strategy needs every member of your team on board. This requires both the right and sufficient sustainability training for each staff member along with a clear company purpose and goal. 


In our business environment it isn't enough to say this is important for the environment, but also firmly believe that this strategy will make Profit Impact more competitive and have a boosted reputation.


This was not hard for us to do because we already made sustainability a key focus for us, and every member of our team clearly understood what we wanted to achieve and why. 


We have a wide range of sustainability research that our team reads through each week and discuss every Wednesday in our Team Sustainability Huddle. We also have defined sustainability goals which the team have full training on, so they are engaged in the process and know what they can do to contribute to its success.


We recommend reading through our insights and programs to guide your team to make tangible changes and learn more about the sustainability journey. 


Step 2: Calculate your carbon footprint


The second step to making a Net Zero strategy is calculating the carbon footprint of the business. 


This seemed intimidating at first but once we educated ourselves on how to measure carbon emissions it wasn’t that hard to calculate. 


By determining the scope of our emissions, we discovered that many of our impacts fall into Scope 3 emissions, which for many businesses account for more than 70% of their carbon footprint. 


The Scope 2 emissions from energy consumed is an area that immediately caught our attention, and we predicted reducing this Scope as a key goal of ours.


We then created a measurement tool in Google Sheets and used this to input our data collection. 


Our team works from home and we do very little travelling to clients' premises, using minimal office supplies such as stationery.  So, it was quite easy to make accurate estimates and it did not take us too long to get a measurement of our carbon footprint. 



Step 3: Set your goals and timelines


Once we calculated our carbon footprint, our first plan of action was to set our emission reducing targets. 


Not only does this move us towards our Net Zero goals but setting them is a key part of our sustainability initiatives. Achieving Net Zero needs both a long-term vision and a specific plan with targets and milestones to hit along the way.


Once we reviewed the carbon emissions data, it was clear what our main targets needed to be to achieve the reductions we were aiming for. 


We considered the priority of initiatives to see what was essential to be tackled first. Our main targeted changes are:

  • Move all the team to renewable energy.
  • Move to a renewable website host.
  • Reduce our volume of video calls and use carbon friendlier video wherever possible.
  • A conscious reduction of email sent.
  • Regular review of tabs open to create good habits.
  • Continue using refurbished tech.



What were our measurements?


This chart shows how our carbon footprint is currently made up:




With 51% of our carbon footprint in the 6 month review energy, it is no surprise that our main priority was to encourage all team members to use renewable energy. This required all stakeholders to be accountable and on board with our strategy. This has been an easy switch as the team all understood the impact of fossil fuels and wanted to contribute to the solution.


Our second largest carbon footprint impact is the hosting of our website which contributed a quarter of our footprint (25.8%). Over the next six months we’ll be reducing our website hoster and switching to a more environmentally friendly solution.


The remaining footprint (23%) we can make small changes to, such as:

  • Switching our morning meetings and all future internal meetings from Zoom to Google Meets to reduce our impact.
  • Being mindful of emails sent and the number of tabs opened on your screen.


We expect to reduce our carbon footprint by 81% in 6 months just by focusing on reducing our emissions, this leaves less than a quarter of a tonne (231kgs) of carbon to offset. 


This chart shows how we plan our carbon footprint to look like in March 2022:



For all organisations, achieving Net Zero will involve a combination of emission reduction and offsets. 


We are aware that some residual emissions will remain after our implemented reduction plan, so our  strategy to reach net zero will include a small amount of offsets. 


Using the Gold Standard is potentially a service we could utilise to offset our unavoidable emissions, we estimate the cost as cheaply as $10 per 1000kg through this purchase.


We are committed to reviewing our carbon footprint every 6 months as our business changes. As an example we believe as we grow it will be unlikely that our travel will be as negligible as it is today so we need to regularly monitor our impact and adapt our strategy accordingly. 


This requires transparency and effective communication and training throughout the business that we are passionate to achieve and maintain. 



Our tips to start your Net Zero Strategy


By calculating your emissions, you can see exactly where your impact is to then make a strategy to reduce it. 


Profit Impact has a number of services to help you if it seems intimidating, to guide you on your journey to more sustainable business. 


Our Net Zero service is available for you to understand the current emissions impact of your business to then pursue an achievable strategy to net zero. You will receive hands on advice and tailored support, as well as informative and inspiring resources to mold you into a sustainable leader. 


You should also make some key changes to reduce your operational environmental impacts, like:

  • Switching to renewable energy.
  • Buying refurbished technology such as laptops, we recommend Klyk.
  • Introducing a policy to limit data storage and emails.
  • Introducing carbon training for your teams.
  • Keeping travel to a needs basis only.
  • Leading best practice from the top of the business.
  • Having a plan in place to measure, manage and report on your environmental impact on a regular basis.



Conclusion

Using our targets within our strategy and very minimal offsetting of remaining emissions, we will achieve Net Zero by March 2022.  


For Profit Impact, it was not a lot of work due to the simple nature of our business. We understand that this could be a longer process for other businesses, but considering that 70% of businesses' carbon footprint are Scope 3 emissions, this may not be as complicated as assumed.


Once you set out to learn more about your impacts, the process of moving forward to Net Zero will be less complicated.  


Profit Impact is here to help ease this process and guide you through your approach to achieving Net Zero. You can sign up for our Net Zero Service or book a call with Sarah today! #ConsciousBusinessPerformance