How to set the right goal for your carbon-reduction strategy

carbon dioxide sign in tree

When it comes to corporate sustainability, the stakes are high. And with the ever-growing need to cut carbon emissions to mitigate against climate change, there’s no room for error when planning your carbon-reduction strategy. We look at why setting clear, measurable goals is the foundation of a successful carbon-reduction strategy.

Why should I set a goal?

Make meaningful carbon reductions

Any attempt to reduce your organisation’s carbon emissions is undoubtedly a move in the right direction, but by setting specific goals, especially ones that follow climate science, you can be assured that your organisation is contributing to global emissions reduction in a robust way.

A robust carbon strategy will incorporate steady, stated reductions in absolute carbon emissions, with interim goals on the way to net zero. Having an effective carbon strategy that works towards a firm target will allow you and your organisation’s stakeholders to have confidence in your efforts – meaning you’re less likely to attract criticism from consumers and competitors.

Stay on track

Without a goal, how will you measure your success? By setting targets, this allows you to measure your progress as you move towards net zero. As part of our Carbon Action Programme, we provide quarterly updates and annual strategy reviews to measure performance versus targets.

Shout about your climate ambitions

Once you’ve set your target, you can start shouting about your ambitions. Inform your stakeholders, include your goals within your PR and marketing strategy, and include details within your SECR and ESOS reports.

The importance of Science Based Targets

At E&CM, we strongly advise clients to set goals based on Science Based Targets (SBTs) when developing their net zero or carbon reduction strategy. Science Based Targets are aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement – this means they’re in line with efforts to limit global warming to below 2oC above pre-industrial levels, and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.

How do I set my goal?

In order to set your goal, you’ll first need to understand your current emissions, which can be done using a rigorous carbon footprinting exercise – E&CM can carry out this carbon footprinting for you, supporting you with data collection and measuring your emissions in line with internationally-recognised best practice..

Any sustainability goals should be realistic yet ambitious. They must be achievable for your organisation but challenging – and as we’ve mentioned, they should make a fair contribution to global emissions reduction.

Scope 1, 2 & 3

One of the most important considerations when developing your strategy and setting your target is your scope. Will you focus on emissions from internal operations only (Scope 1 &2), or will you include Scope 3 and scrutinise the emissions from your entire value chain? SBTs insist on measuring Scope 3 and normally must include a target to reduce them.

To net zero or beyond?

Driven by the UK’s target to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, big companies are leading the way with their own net zero commitments. Some are going even further, with Microsoft making a commitment to becoming carbon negative by 2030, stating “those of us who can afford to move faster and go further should do so.”

Whether your goal is to get to net zero, or beyond, we can work with your major stakeholders to understand your ambitions and find the right strategy and timeframe for your organisation.

E&CM’s Carbon Action Programme

If you’re struggling to set or realise your organisation’s goals for carbon reduction, then our Carbon Action Programme will help set you on the right path. Whatever stage you’re at, our carbon specialists can help you define your net zero strategy, reduce emissions, remain compliant and reduce costs.

Our approach breaks the process down into four steps: Understand, Plan, Do and Review. The first step covers carbon footprinting, (measuring your scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions) and defining your level of ambition. We’ll then help you with goal setting, looking at all the options available to you to cut emissions, in line with your budget and investment criteria. We can then support with the implementation of your strategy, supplying a wide range of energy and carbon reduction solutions to help you reach your target. Finally, we ensure you’re hitting your milestones through regular reviews and reporting.

To find out more about our Carbon Action Programme, get in touch:

E: [email protected]
T: 0330 166 4444