As climate change becomes a more and more pressing issue, the phrase 'Net Zero' comes up increasingly often. In 2019, the UK Government committed to achieving this target by 2050.
Net Zero means there is an equal balance of carbon going in and out of the atmosphere. Many institutions globally have come to view this as the standard for measuring their commitment to climate goals.
Sustainability has become not just an important plan, but a vital goal and mission for organisations. With ESG initiatives driving changes, the concept of carbon neutrality and net zero is becoming more of a reality.
What Does Net Zero Mean?
Net Zero means the balance of carbon going in and out of the atmosphere. It also refers to the global target of negating the amount of greenhouse gases created by human activity.
Net Zero can be achieved through reducing emissions and absorbing existing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, but this is no small feat.
Net Zero doesn't mean an organisation is not releasing any carbon into the atmosphere. It only means that the carbon they emit is balanced by the carbon they take out of the atmosphere. As a result, Net Zero strategies involve measures that reduce this carbon such as planting trees or reducing carbon footprint.
Global warming and climate change will have an impact across every industry. Reducing the amount of damage done to the environment is not only an ethical issue, but a practical one.
Committing to Net Zero is one of the most significant steps an organisation can take in protecting themselves in the future.
How Does ESG Contribute To Net Zero?
ESG, or Environmental, Social and Governance, is a metric used to evaluate organisations on their sustainability efforts. It is becoming an increasingly important aspect of business to investors, as concerns about climate change rise.
Environmental, the E in ESG, refers to the impact an organisation makes on climate change through its greenhouse gas emissions, waste management and energy efficiency.
Social, the S in ESG, refers to human rights, labour standards and issues such as workplace safety and security.
Governance, the G in ESG, refers to the system used to define rights, expectations, and responsibilities between different stakeholders, as well as the rules and policies in place to ensure this standard of behaviour.
With sustainability surfacing as a global objective, many investors are demanding ESG plans that outline a path to meeting net-zero carbon emission targets. ESG plans and policies help to navigate a way to net zero. They set crucial targets and hold institutions to sustainability standards.
What Can Your Organisation Do To Help Achieve Net Zero?
Reducing the dependency and use of fossil fuels can help organisations achieve those important ESG goals like Net Zero. Still, it can be more complex than simply switching to renewable energy.
No matter the challenge, reaching Net Zero emissions goals comes down to gathering and understanding the data.
In order to reach Net Zero, it is crucial for organisations to monitor and evaluate all carbon-emitting assets. Without this data, it is impossible to efficiently control energy usage and environmental footprint.
This is where ESG comes in as a helpful solution. ESG reports are designed to provide your organisation with the information and data about its environmental impact. This can then help you come up with the right strategy and plan to reach your net zero goals.
A basic guideline for achieving Net Zero goals for an organisation might look something like this:
- Calculate your carbon footprint. An organisation’s carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced due to its operations.
- Gather and track data. By examining and recording your company’s energy usage, you can spot trends and identify areas of improvement.
- Create a plan. After understanding the carbon footprint and data of your organisation, you can formulate a plan to reduce and eliminate emissions. Following through with this plan is the most crucial step.
Being proactive about Net Zero will aid your organisation as the landscape of sustainability and its regulations changes and grows.
Organisations should consider undertaking their own climate risk management, exploring how their organisation might be able to combat the climate crisis. Carbon emission plans and targets are an effective way to plot your waste and emission output. They can also help to investigate carbon footprint across product life cycles and supply chains.
Organisations could look at investing in clean tech to reduce energy consumption, and increasing the use of resources from renewable sources.
It is also important to understand how natural resources are used across operations, with specific considerations on issues like water scarcity, land use and biodiversity, and raw material sourcing.
Coming up with a comprehensive sustainability action plan for your organisation is vital and ESG reports are a key way that you can achieve this.
ESG reports evaluate your organisation's ESG strategy to determine what is effective and what needs improvement. This information can then be used to better your organisation’s practices and create long term ESG goals.
However the process of reporting, data collecting and performance tracking for ESG can be time consuming, and this valuable time could instead be spent developing your plans in order to achieve global sustainability.
This is where Convene ESG comes in.
Convene ESG and Net Zero
At Convene, our ESG expertise has helped us develop our new reporting tool Convene ESG, to help streamline your ESG report building process.
Our end-to-end approach simplifies and automates much of the process, and will help your organisation not only generate a report, but be able set up and track your ESG goals.
Our peer comparison feature also allows you to see which disclosure items your peers have reported on, as well as the best-practice recommendations for your industry.
With Convene ESG, you can be sure that your ESG report building runs smoothly, so you can instead focus on developing your environmental practices.
Find out more about how Convene ESG can help your organisation here today.