Green business: the carbon negative revolution
Companies are taking matters one step further and making the leap towards becoming carbon negative. This move should also bring various benefits in terms of business strategy.
In recent years, many companies across the globe have pledged to become carbon neutral and help tackle the issue of climate change. Around half of UK businesses are hoping to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
But now, companies are taking matters one step further and making the leap towards becoming carbon negative. This is a significant investment in reducing carbon emissions and this move should also bring various benefits, in terms of business strategy.
With energy prices around the country continuing to rise, energy efficiency and cost effectiveness are vital for any business wishing to progress in this difficult climate. Going carbon negative makes perfect sense in the current economy.
So, what does ‘going carbon negative’ actually mean? And how can a business achieve carbon negative status?
What is a carbon negative organisation?
Put simply, carbon negative organisations sequester more carbon than they produce. Somewhat confusingly, the term ‘climate positive’ also has the same meaning, and you may see this terminology used as well.
Choosing to become carbon negative can accelerate your business towards its net zero targets. You have reached carbon negativity if the amount of CO₂ emissions you remove from the atmosphere is greater than the amounts you are releasing into the atmosphere. This might include bioenergy processes with carbon capture and storage, for example. By changing your daily business processes and actively removing carbon from the atmosphere, you are making a positive impact – on your business and the atmosphere. Sustainability is now a corporate strategy of choice, helping businesses to strive ahead of competitors towards net zero targets. It can also form part of a wider Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy, which provides transparency to stakeholders.
How can businesses implement carbon negative structures?
Reduce energy use
With energy prices sky-rocketing, it is in the interests of every business to limit energy usage to only that which is necessary. Energy efficiency is the most obvious way to reduce consumption and it can bring numerous environmental and financial benefits. Transparency surrounding energy efficiency could also increase a business’s standing, in a market where consumers are becoming more aware of the environment. Energy efficiency is therefore an essential component in the journey towards net zero.
Consider encouraging employees to incorporate efficiency into their daily lives – such as switching off appliances when they leave the building, closing windows when HVAC systems are in use, and making the most of any natural light. These measures can go some way towards reducing your energy consumption.
An energy audit can assess how much energy is being used in each sector of your business. An audit typically looks at factors such as lighting, heating, water usage, air conditioning and the use of electrical devices. Ongoing performance monitoring can also provide reassurance that your systems are delivering to a good standard.
Incorporate green appliances
Installing renewable energy sources allows businesses to save money, whilst also reducing their environmental impact. Solar panels and heat pumps are also remarkably easy to upkeep.
Not only will these renewables cut costs, and reduce your environmental impact, taking these measures can also demonstrate your business’s sustainability credentials. This can potentially attract a wider range of eco-aware clients.
Switch to more efficient lighting
LED lighting is the most cost-effective and durable option, for both businesses and households around the world. Making the switch to a different lighting system for buildings, possibly on multiple sites, can seem daunting. But the eventual return on investment will be beneficial from an environmental perspective, as well as saving you time and money. These bulbs require far less electricity power and have a much longer lifespan.
At EIC, our lighting solutions have helped businesses to upgrade their systems and reduce their carbon footprints.
Get in touch today to find out how EIC can help you to integrate effective and efficient lighting solutions into your business.
Optimise heating and air conditioning
Taking control of your heating and air conditioning could make a big difference to your emission levels. Switching your systems off when they are not needed can help your business to save money and reduce unnecessary waste.
Implementing temperature controls means that heating and air conditioning units are only used when they are needed. So, no energy will be wasted during out of office hours.
Encourage greener commutes
Transport is the largest contributor of greenhouse gases in the UK, and accounts for 28% of all emissions. Consider offering a Cycle to Work scheme to encourage your employees to reduce their environmental footprint. Carpooling, public transport, and walking can also help businesses to lower their carbon footprint.
When assessing a business’s energy consumption, government schemes (such as ESOS) take into consideration the amount of energy used on transport. So, for eligible businesses, lowering energy consumption from transport is essential.
Set science-based targets
More broadly, your business should align itself with net zero targets and then go above and beyond this, to become carbon negative. The Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) is a well-established method for reducing carbon emissions, based on climate science. The SBTi independently assesses and approves companies’ targets in line with its strict criteria, which furthers the aims set out in the Paris Agreement. The target is to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
You can find out more here.
Offset (but beware of greenwashing)
Whilst it should not be overused, carbon offsetting is a good way to compensate for your carbon emissions. Carbon offsetting involves investing in projects that sequester carbon, such as planting trees. Offsetting will help to stabilise global temperatures in the short term, and in some cases, foster restorative projects that will act as natural carbon sinks for centuries to come.
Offsetting projects generally fall into four categories: Nature-based, renewable energy, community projects and waste-to-energy projects. You should only invest in carbon offsetting projects that have been independently verified, such as Verra or Gold Standard.
What’s more, the SBTi have recommended that carbon offsetting should only be used in the route to net zero as a transitionary and supplementary tool. When you choose EIC to help you navigate the route to net zero, we provide you with the most sustainable options and only provide carbon credits for emissions that cannot be avoided or reduced in the short term.
At EIC, we understand that your corporate social responsibility credentials are key to maintaining the reputation of your business. We offer a comprehensive Carbon Management Plan service to ensure that your business is transparent and accountable with respect to its carbon emissions.
We can help you to formulate your carbon management policy, set carbon reduction targets and measure emissions and monitor progress on an ongoing basis.
In addition, we offer a verified carbon credit scheme to assist you where you may require carbon offsetting to supplement your emissions reduction strategy.
Get in touch today to find out how we can help you to become carbon compliant.
Where does EIC come in?
Achieving a carbon negative office space brings businesses a lengthy list of benefits. Aside from the potential to save money and reduce energy usage, businesses could attract a larger number of potential customers with its transparency regarding its carbon related business plans.
EIC understands that intelligent building design and frugality around resource-use work in hand in glove. As such, EIC offers a comprehensive carbon service combining building management, intelligent procure and compliance acumen.
Marriage of these three pillars means unlocking the full potential of sites, and leveraging for the benefit of all. EIC’s full offering is available on our Services page.
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