Get to grips with Net Zero-related words with our Jargon-Buster

Businesses of all sizes have a crucial role in helping the UK achieve its goal to become completely Net Zero by 2050.

Before Christmas, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an ambitious new target to reduce the UK’s emissions by at least 68% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

The new target to reduce missions – our Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Climate Agreement – is among one of the highest in the world. It commits the UK to reducing its emissions at a faster rate than any other major global economy.

Over the past decade, the UK has cut carbon emissions significantly. It became the first major economy to legislate for Net Zero emissions by 2050.

Businesses have a pivotal role in supporting these aims, with an increasing number of private sector firms implementing strategies to cut their emissions.

Last November, the UK’s five most prominent business organisations – the CBI, the FSB, the IoD, Make UK, and the British Chambers of Commerce – wrote a joint letter to Government to call for a more joined-up approach to climate policy to help the UK reach its long-term carbon reduction targets.

The organisations, which represent more than five million UK businesses between them, also published a report, called ‘A Just Transition to Net Zero’, which sets out the five core principles needed to achieve this goal:

  • Ambition
  • Accountability
  • Delivery
  • Opportunity
  • Cost

The report is intended to act as a ‘fairness test’ for policymakers when designing regulatory policy frameworks and prioritising investment in low carbon initiatives.

Businesses of all sizes, and in all sectors, have committed to playing a key role in creating a low-carbon economy to help the UK achieve its Net Zero goal.  

This will require both individual and collective action and closer collaboration between businesses, public sector organisations and Government, to build the strategic low-carbon infrastructure and technology needed to support this aim.


A shift in mindset

Many businesses will need to invest in low-carbon technologies and solutions, and some may require targeted support to assess and reduce their carbon footprints.

The UK’s business community has undergone a significant shift in mindset over the past few years, with SMEs, in particular, seeing the business benefits of reducing their carbon emissions in the drive towards Net Zero

And with COP26 on the horizon, this has never been more crucial.

However, while big businesses have significant budgets and resource to support green initiatives, smaller firms still need support to make sure they don’t get left behind.

With climate change high on the global political agenda and cross-party support for the UK’s Net Zero ambitions, it’s crucial that all individuals and businesses play their part, but equally important that small companies aren’t disproportionately hit.


The path to net zero

The journey to Net Zero will look different for every business.

So, it’s essential you have a robust strategy in place to identify your priorities and targets, define the activities you’ll need to undertake to achieve them, and assess the opportunities and risks that working towards Net Zero will bring.

Your senior management must be on board to drive forward these objectives and help achieve buy-in from your customers, staff, suppliers and other stakeholders.

And your Net Zero strategy must be underpinned by a robust system for data collection, monitoring and reporting.

Without this, you won’t be able to establish your baseline starting position, monitor your progress and report your emissions data effectively.

The Government’s Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) policy, introduced in April 2019, obliges many companies to disclose their energy and carbon consumption.

The reporting framework is intended to encourage the implementation of sustainability measures within businesses, supporting companies in cutting costs and improving productivity while reducing carbon emissions.

Businesses account for around 25% of the UK’s emissions, so there’s a considerable onus on firms to play their part.

CBN Expert was created to make it easier for any business in the UK to start their journey towards Net Zero, by giving them the tools they need to understand their current position, make the changes needed and track their progress.

It is only with knowledge and understanding that businesses can begin to affect change and bring their people, customers and stakeholders along with them.

Our CBN Expert Dashboard can help you take the first step towards Net Zero. Get in touch today to find out more.