What is Net Zero?

Net zero means balancing greenhouse gas emissions from your activities with measures that remove them. Climate scientists say we must reach net zero before 2050 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change with an interim target of halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Credible net zero commitments

All businesses and organisations will have a different range of climate impacts and emissions with different options for reducing these. If your organisation is looking to establish a credible net zero commitment you will need to consider how you are going to achieve this.

A credible net zero commitment should have several key elements including:

  • Front-loaded emissions reductions

Emissions should be brought down as much and as quickly/in the near-term as possible – the science tells us we need to half emissions by 2030.

  • Interim targets

The science tells us that we need to reach net zero before 2050. Interim targets are an important way of staying on track.

  • A decarbonisation plan

A net zero pledge must be supported by a plan to have any credibility. Although it is normal to have some uncertainties around future costs and feasibility, a decarbonisation plan should cover from now to the interim target (e.g., 2030) should be fully costed and its impact on carbon emissions calculated.

  • Cautious removal through offsetting

Carbon removals and offsets should only be used in addition to reducing emissions – particularly because carbon removals associated with many offsets are not permanent and not equivalent to the stability of fossil fuel-based carbon.

How we can help

Our team can help you to establish a credible net zero commitment and an associated decarbonisation plan or ‘pathway to net zero’ by:

  • Calculating your emissions to produce a baseline carbon footprint for your organisation (or verifying your own in-house calculations)
  • Mapping out and evaluating GHG emissions across your organisation’s value chain and establishing which of these should be included within your net zero target.
  • Investigating a range of carbon reduction actions (with estimated costs and carbon savings) -outlining the quick wins, short and mid-term actions as well as longer term options.
  • Establishing which of these are appropriate or feasible for your organisation.
  • Using these potential carbon reduction actions to establish a decarbonisation plan and map out your Pathway to Net Zero.