Learn: Emission reductions

How to Reduce Your Emissions

Developing a comprehensive emissions reduction plan entails a structured approach to address Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. 

First, it's crucial to conduct a thorough emissions inventory, identifying all sources of emissions within the organisation's control (Scope 1), emissions resulting from purchased electricity (Scope 2), and indirect emissions across the value chain (Scope 3). With this baseline data, businesses can set specific, measurable, and time-bound emissions reduction targets based on their unique carbon footprint. 

To reduce Scope 1 emissions, companies can prioritise energy efficiency improvements, transitioning to cleaner fuels, and implementing renewable energy sources where feasible. For Scope 2, procuring green energy and improving energy efficiency are key strategies. Addressing Scope 3 emissions often involves collaboration with suppliers to source sustainably, promoting sustainable product usage, and considering remote work policies to reduce commuting. 

Regular monitoring, reporting, and transparency are essential for tracking progress and ensuring the effectiveness of an emissions reduction plan. Additionally, engaging employees and stakeholders in sustainability initiatives can drive meaningful change and foster a culture of environmental responsibility.

See below for a brief example of an emissions reduction plan for a service-based, hybrid working company, let’s call it “FlexTech”.

Scope 1 Emissions Reduction

Scope 1 emissions for FlexTech mainly arise from using a fleet of vehicles for employee travel to client sites, and utilising backup generators for power outages. Here's how FlexTech can reduce Scope 1 emissions:

a. Fleet Management: For its employee travel, FlexTech can transition to a greener fleet. Investing in electric or hybrid vehicles can lower carbon emissions from the use of company cars.

b. Renewable Energy: The company can explore cleaner energy sources like biodiesel or solar panels/batteries for its backup power needs.

Scope 2 Emissions Reduction

Scope 2 emissions typically stem from purchased electricity, which is a significant part of FlexTech's operations. To reduce these emissions:

a. Green Energy Procurement: FlexTech can source electricity from renewable or carbon neutral energy providers, or invest in its own rooftop solar array if feasible.

b. Energy Efficiency: Conduct an energy audit to identify key areas of opportunity to use less energy in their office space.  Use the results of the audit to implement changes and more energy-efficient technologies such as LED lighting and energy-efficient HVAC systems which can further reduce indirect emissions from purchased energy.

Scope 3 Emissions Reduction

Scope 3 emissions for FlexTech encompass a wide range of activities related to its value chain, including employee commuting, business travel, and purchased goods and services. Here's how they can address these emissions:

a. Hybrid Working: By encouraging and supporting remote work, FlexTech can reduce emissions associated with employee commuting. This works best when employees are on a green or carbon neutral energy plan so that the business doesn’t pick up the electricity related emissions when employees work from home. 

b.Encourage low emissions commute options:FlexTech can educate their workforce on commute emissions,promote public transport, and incentivise carpooling or cycling to work.

c.Supplier audit: Performing an audit of everything you are spending money on can help you to remove services you no longer need. This will benefit your carbon footprint.

d. Supplier Engagement: FlexTech can work closely with suppliers to encourage environmental transparency and climate action. This may not necessarily impact FlexTech’s carbon footprint (unless the suppliers are inspired to become carbon neutral). This is because supplier related emissions factors are generally based on industry averages. However, getting the climate action conversation started can help to spark action, particularly if others are doing the same, and this is definitely an initiative worth shouting about when communicating your climate initiatives. 

e. Sustainable Supplier Policy: This can facilitate the identification of sustainable sourcing options, and reduce emissions associated with procurement. FlexTech could refer to the list of carbon neutral members on Trace’s website, or similarly on the Climate Active website. Carbon neutral suppliers, if identified as such by FlextTech, will not contribute to FlexTech’s carbon footprint.

f. Virtual Services: Where feasible, FlexTech can transition to virtual meetings and services, reducing the need for business travel and the associated emissions..

g. Carbon Offsetting: To offset remaining emissions, FlexTech can invest in credible, high quality carbon offset projects. This does not reduce their carbon emissions but helps to compensate for their existing emissions while they work on carbon reduction

Reducing emissions in a service-based business requires a multi-pronged approach that addresses Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. As businesses adapt to the changing energy landscape, taking action to reduce emissions is not just a responsibility but also an opportunity to lead in a more environmentally conscious world. Reach out to our team for advice on your own emissions reduction plan.

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