Did you know that large UK corporations are now obliged to report their full power use, climate risks and mitigation plans? In the words of sustainability expert Olivia Bertham, full carbon accounting is soon going to be market standard.
Speaking to Berkhamsted Chamber of Commerce, Olivia began by describing the true commercial cost of climate change – shipping orders lost, supply chains broken, crops devastated – a total cost of $329 billion to the world economy in 2021 alone. The result in the UK has been that large businesses have to measure and reduce their emissions. And the knock-on effect, as Olivia said, is that these businesses are now looking down their supply chain for local firms that have calculated and reduced their own carbon footprints. Increasingly, being net zero and able to prove it, brings business with it.
Olivia was followed by Richard Brash, who gave examples of how his firm, Brash Solutions Ltd, has measured and cut its carbon footprint. One of the key factors, Richard said, was getting employees on board. Once his staff had added up their working emissions, they soon came up with solutions such as cycling to work and low-carbon approaches to ongoing projects. Richard also mentioned some shortcuts to calculating a business’s carbon footprint. For instance, many laptop manufacturers provide conversion tools to calculate the emissions involved in manufacture and usage of their product. But also, Richard explained, it sometimes pays to quantify what you know to be your largest sources of emissions first.
Both presenters described how corporations are now having to report and reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions. These are the greenhouse gases produced by a company’s buildings and vehicles, plus power usage. But for most local SMEs, working in the service sector, Scope 3 emissions are the main challenge. These are the emissions caused by a firm’s supply chain and ongoing use of their product. So every action that emits carbon is connected when you’re doing business. Fortunately, as Richard explained, in scope 3, approximations and data shared from other businesses are a great help towards calculating the full carbon impact.
By the end of the presentation many of the chamber of commerce audience were wanting to sign up to the local Net Zero Hub. This is a group, led by Richard and Olivia, that will host regular Net Zero Hub online discussions. The sessions will be open forums where people can share experiences and self-help solutions and gain access to Richard’s net zero database.
If you’d like to join the Net Zero Hub, please email email@example.com.