We are kicking the new year off with enthusiasm around reducing our operational carbon emissions!
I’m keen for us to set some business emissions reduction targets this year.
We’ve always struggled with this as over the years as we have learned to run pretty lean.
But we don’t want to use that as an excuse!
I am not sure what a good/realistic target would look like. Would anyone be comfortable sharing their reduction targets with me?
Anyone know what happens when you meet your target? I assume at some point you can’t reduce anymore… Can you build fluctuation into your target? Such as reduce emissions by 25% per person from this year with a goal of gettin gto [insert amount of carbon] and once that target is met can it flex up and down by 3% each year? Or is it just maintain that number and don’t go above it again?
I am trying to work out if we can set some science based targets for reduction based on this option “We regularly monitor and record emissions and have set specific science-based targets necessary to achieve global goals to address climate change” and I keep reading all the links provided and I can’t seem to understand what that means in practical terms? Any ideas where to find information on science based targets?
Thank you in advance. Any help very much appreciated!
We are both office based and remote working, where our predominant emissions are heating, cool and transport. Your company seems to appear the same, so I think this will apply to you.
We decided to shoot for carbon neutral rather than a phased approach. Our emissions are a lot lower than a manufacturing, construction or travel business, making it an easier standard to meet.
Our carbon emissions increased to 156 tonnes in 2021 FY due to remote working and despite a major reduction in travel. Previous years our emissions were between around 100 and 125 tonnes.
So the scale of what we offset was a lot lower than many other companies have to deal with. If you do the assessment and can afford to offset it all, then it makes a difference to your team and likely your B Corp points (and the planet )
I cant comment on the target of reductions. Though your thinking about a target reduction per head with some tolerance and growth in head count, seems to make sense.
The process we went through is here
Hope it helps
Thanks for sharing Marty - a great read and have shared.
So I’ve discussed some of this with Ekos after becoming carbon neutral last year. A reduction target really is very individual to the company and what you think is realistically achievable over a set period of time.
A science based reduction target is absolutely the best way to assist in figuring this out. This looks at your current emissions and tells you how much you would need to reduce by 2030 to stay in line with a global 1.5 degree warming limit.
I was advised that this would be 42% for overall carbon output, however the guy I was working with wasn’t completely confident in the calculator.
This is also unrealistic for us (most likely) as we’re rapidly growing organisation and so I would also like to set a reduction target by FTEs & revenue instead.
We’re holding a workshop with Ekos to help determine what this looks like in a few weeks. I would like to get us as close to that 42% as possible in the next 8 years, but as a complete guesstimate I think this will look more like 20%.
Best info can be found here: https://sciencebasedtargets.org/, but I would definitely reach out to Ekos or Toitu for assistance if you feel lost/stuck.
Anything you can’t reduce you would offset to reach carbon neutrality (and to keep us under the 1.5 degrees warming ), but obviously the goal is to not have that carbon pumped into the atmosphere in the first place.
Hope this helps a little, and happy to chat more at the catch up/coffee!
Personally, I avoid intensity based targets (i.e. per FTE or $ revenue) as that is against the science based targets approach, instead look at where the opportunities are and therefore start to work through a realistic plan of what you can reduce.
Setting targets I find a bit of a dark art - there’s an element of science, an element of business/strategy, and a healthy dose of ambition/desire that you put into them, but if you take the grounding from science and then work from there.
Another thing we do when looking at targets is we separate behavioural vs. investment emissions sources - so travel is behavioural, electricity is an investment. Whilst again this isn’t 100% accurate, it helps us identify where the opportunities to intervene and reduce emissions lies.
To help us shift the dial we are moving (just in the process of it now) to having business unit carbon budgets for travel that our executives are responsible for managing within. So each Exec gets their travel budget in $ and emissions and will get reporting on how they are tracking within budget. I’m happy to give an update on how this goes and if it helps shift behaviour at all.
Yes, you’re right in that there will become a point where it’s hard to get more efficiencies in your business, that’s where offsets become vital, as Marty has talked about.
You can see our targets here and I’m also happy to talk to you about our experience if it’s useful. Our sustainability approach | Who we are)