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  • Writer's pictureAnne-Marie Soulsby

Demystifying Decarbonisation Part 2

Updated: Sep 13, 2022

In this Part 2 of two blog posts I will cover how you decarbonise and how to get help. Check out my previous post about decarbonising here to find out what decarbonisation is all about and why you need to decarbonise.

How do I decarbonise?

In terms of decarbonisation, you may already be doing that, as the price of oil, gas, petrol and diesel continue to rise. By reducing your company's energy demands and also being more fuel efficient you are on the road to lowering your impact on the planet.

1. Make a commitment.

Think about a SMART target, is it specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound? Most SMEs can pivot their business much faster than bigger corporations, after all many companies evolved dynamically during the pandemic so you already have the skills to adapt to this new challenge. Many companies are picking 2030 as the date they will be net zero, could you push and meet this goal earlier?

2. Involve the whole organisation.

It is so much easier when you have all your employees, co-founders and investors onboard. They need to understand why this is a great new direction for the business in terms of growth, resilience and opportunities. Your team is going to be implementing the changes and they can also come up with some awesome ideas of how to do this, including fun ways to decarbonise such as hypermiling competitions.

3. Get more knowledge and skills.

Not many business owners or employees are climate change scientists or sustainability experts! Getting some training and coaching into your organisation will mean that everyone will understand what climate change is, why they need to decarbonise both at home and in the workplace, what they need to do and how they can do it. Luckily I can provide certified Carbon Literacy training and Sustainability coaching sessions for you and your business that will ensure everyone is climate clever.

4. Calculate your emissions.

If you can’t measure your decarbonisation you can’t easily manage it. There are some free and some low cost tools available that can make this part a lot easier. It's important to know your baseline and to work to reduce that by 90%. Like running a marathon; it is tough but doable!

5. Develop a mindset and strategy.

Just like running a marathon it is a good idea to develop a mindset and to come up with a plan. There are so many ways to decarbonise your business, by being more efficient in heating, lighting and transportation to minimising waste and packaging. The best way to decarbonise is to look at what is easy to do, makes a significant impact and doesn’t cost too much. There is software that can do that for you or you can work it out yourself by looking at where your biggest emissions are and the cost savings or investment you need to reduce these. If you are looking for an easier option contact me so you can work with one of my associates to devise a personalised action plan together that fits your budget and timescales.

6. Implement the plan.

Once you have your plan you need to get going with those actions. In order to keep motivated, think about creating a visualisation of your decarbonisation journey, such as a graph that plots your decreasing emissions every week. This is a helpful reminder for you and your employees of just how far you have to go, and how much you have already achieved. If you find you are not sticking to your plan try and figure out why and what barriers you may need to overcome to get you back on track. Don’t be afraid to adjust your plan to fit with a changing business environment or if you can get to net zero even quicker.

7. Engage with your suppliers.

A large proportion of your scope three emissions lies with your suppliers. This is a great opportunity to share the wins you have made already reducing your scope 1 and 2 emissions, which will have also improved your business. If your suppliers are onboard to decarbonise, you may find new ways to collaborate or even discover how to monetise waste streams. The possibilities are endless! Your relationship with your suppliers is crucial, but you may have to consider finding alternative suppliers that are more willing to help you reach your net zero goal if your current suppliers are not willing to shift. This will make your business more resilient so although it is not nice, it is necessary.

8. Offset any remaining carbon.

Once you know you have reached 90% reduction across all three scopes and you cannot reduce any more, it’s time to look at some carbon offsetting options. You will need to check for offsetting projects that are genuine and are truly doing what they say they are. This website is a great start and features the gold standard of offsetting options.

9. Get Certified.

Once you have reached your decarbonising goal it is time to get certified to demonstrate your achievement to your customers, investors, suppliers and employees. There are several certification programs out there and you will need to do some research to find out which best suits your business and budget. Once you have passed you can use this in your sales, marketing and publicity as well as featuring on your products or in your services.

10. Tell your customers.

Communicating with customers about your decarbonisation journey needs to be navigated with care so that you don’t appear to be greenwashing. If you are only decarbonising to become compliant then this will be picked up by your existing and potential clients. Be honest and be truthful, use data to support your decarbonisation strategy, educate your customers and use common sense. If you need help with communicating your decarbonisation journey then contact me for personalised guidance.

You may now be asking yourself "OMG that sounds great but overwhelming, where can I get help? Don’t Panic! I’m here :)

There are three ways in which I help you develop the skills you need to reach net zero.

An accredited course from the Carbon Literacy Trust designed for everyday people who want to make a positive change and take action on climate change.

Carbon Literacy is “An awareness of the carbon costs and impacts of everyday activities and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions on an individual, community and organisational basis.”

Over six hours of online training plus two hours of homework the course covers:

  • the basics of climate change science

  • what’s already happening globally & locally

  • how your actions affect climate change

  • the tools & knowledge to reduce your impact

  • how to build your own climate action plan

  • how to begin creating your own Carbon Literacy course

Courses are available with the latest scheduled available here.

Contact me if you would like a course delivered for a group, at a time that suits you. Min 6 pax.

What if you have a decarbonisation action plan but it never gets implemented? You need Sustainability Coaching. It’s like having a Personal Trainer for your environmental impact.

Why does Sustainability Coaching work? Imagine your goal is to run a marathon. Some people can train by themselves, some use an app, a book or YouTube video to set their training regime, some join a group and some people need to hire a personal trainer. Coaching gives you the same results as working with a PT, just that we drop emissions, not weight.

It’s all about making you accountable for making progress, providing motivation, developing your skills, celebrating successes and overcoming barriers so that you show up and do the work. Putting in a couple of hours a month means decarbonisation is much more achievable.

Contact me for a free chat about how this works.

3. Net Zero Accelerator Program.

Coming soon - a new program for a cohort of 10 SMEs to reach net zero in one year, including certification, carbon accounting software, support and training, all for a great value price. Contact me if you would like to be added to the waiting list!

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