With an estimated four million tonnes of CO2 emissions set to be cut by 2021 as a direct result of the new legislation, UK business has got a tough task on its hands. Frances Darton, a carbon reduction programme manager at Achilles, sees the measure a positive thing: ‘The introduction of mandatory reporting is a positive step and demonstrates the UK’s leadership in reducing its impact on climate change. Carbon reporting should not be viewed as a burden but as a commercial opportunity to drive operational and energy efficiencies.’
So how can companies get moving ahead of the legislation coming into force? Darton outlines below some tips for businesses affected by the requirements and the great many businesses already looking to improve their practice in sustainability:
Act now – Don’t bury your head in the sand. Do the research and get started, ensuring you make friends in those areas of the business that will support you with the data collation – from finance and your environment/sustainability teams through to facilities and HR.
Sustainability is here to stay - Long-term thinking will stand you in good stead when it comes to carbon reporting. We recommend choosing a structured approach that will support all your current and any future reporting requirements. It’s logical that genuine leaders in carbon reporting reap benefits across their organisations, including operational efficiency, energy efficiency and cost savings alongside enhanced reputation, brand leadership and marketing opportunities.
The business case – Organisations should look beyond the reporting requirement to realise the business benefit, identifying opportunities in carbon management and reduction. While measurement is a great starting point, we’d recommend considering a forward-looking programme or standard that focuses on achieving future reductions. This will not only drive quick wins but support a longer term approach to GHG reduction, future-proofing your carbon strategy.
Proud to be sustainable - Shout about what you are doing and highlight your achievements. It’s vital that your stakeholders – both internal and external - know about your commitment to sustainability. Keeping staff updated on progress will encourage engagement and will be key in driving the behavioural change required to make in-roads in your reduction strategy.
Business as usual – To deliver long-term cultural change, sustainability must be embedded as business as usual - top down and bottom up. Sustainability works when, together with carbon reduction, it isn’t seen as something that is ‘managed by another team’. The entire organisation must be engaged and have a strong sense of ownership.
Frances Darton is a carbon reduction programme manager at Achilles, a supply chain management business.