ZeroMission Climate strategy
ZeroMission is a complete solution for environmentally ambitious businesses. It is a strategy to reduce fossil fuel dependency and emissions of greenhouse gases. Which leads to smaller ecological and carbon footprints.
ZeroMission climate strategy is summarised in the figure below.
Decide which emissions should be measured. Choose the biggest emission sources, but also those that you may have influence over. Scope 1 and 2 emissions are mandatory for company emissions reporting (different system boundaries, defined as ”Scope” according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol). Indirect emissions, Scope 3, are those emissions that occur upstream with suppliers or downstream with users of a company’s products. Most companies measure transport and travel, and paper use is also common. For many companies, such as those in the service sector, workshops and trade, the greatest emissions are indirect. U&W [you&we] has a web-based tool, Our Impacts, to measure, report and handle emissions.
We examine the data to assess whether the values are reasonable. Where data is not available we suggest appropriate estimates or extrapolate. If the company is responsible for the measurements then we help to verify them, for example, to ensure that the correct emission factors have been used. We analyse the data and write a report with suggested measures for an action plan.
It may be appropriate to undertake interviews among staff and other stakeholders in order to determine a starting point to measure the effects of future work with an action plan. Whenever we undertake interview studies we ensure that the interviewees get feedback on the results.
Motivation and engagement within the company is essential. Our method to achieve this is called Vision & Action. This method takes the form of a workshop for management and key staff, or ideally with mixed groups of staff, where the facts, opportunities and risks associated with climate change are presented and where ideas for how the company can work with this are free to flow. We develop visions, goals and plans. When agreement is reached and decisions are made, it is time for action.
U&W [you&we] have been involved in the production of the film Beyond the Line which describes the risks and opportunities for companies in relation to climate change. The films show that simple savings and efficiency measures will not be enough to drive the shift from fossil dependency, increasing emissions and rising temperatures. Businesses must do more. The film provides many examples of companies moving ”beyond the line”, which involves reassessing business activities, developing new products, changing business model and even attempting to mimic ecological systems where resource and energy efficiency is high and there is no waste. One way to create motivation and engagement in a business is to run a workshop with Beyond the Line as a starting point.
We recommend climate offsetting as the first action. Then work to save, increase efficiency and move towards renewable energy forms. Products with a large climate impact should be phased out and replaced with products that have a smaller impact. The same applies to production methods within the company and with suppliers. New business models should be considered in order to achieve the emission reductions that are necessary in the long run.
Some staff, in particular sales staff, are likely to need training in order to increase engagement and to be able to explain this work with climate issues to customers. External communication is important. Transparency and openness lead to credibility. We believe that the climate strategies should drive the business and the emissions reduction targets and measures should be communicated externally.
More and more companies are reporting their climate work to Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) or Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Many report because customers, investors and other stakeholders request this information of them. We help companies to respond to these questionnaires and reports.
Carbon offsetting incurs a cost. This cost should be shared out to the divisions, departments, and subsidiaries etc. within a company that cause the emissions. In this way, budget responsibilities and climate responsibilities are closely associated. One result of sharing the costs over departments is often great creativity in finding ways to avoid offsetting. It becomes a driver for efficiency measures and innovations.
A system for measurement and reporting of emissions should be integrated into the business management system, to ensure, for example, that data collection is coordinated, that progress towards all goals is monitored and that there is a salary incentive structure associated with achieving reduction goals.
Offset first, then work on efficiency
Many claim that a business should work with efficiency and savings as far as possible first, and then offset the rest of emissions. We claim that this is not the right way to go. It is hard to know when a business has done everything it can to reduce emissions internally, and when the right time has come to start offsetting. We believe that carbon offsetting should be the first measure taken. After that, work to improve efficiency and shift towards renewable energy should take over. Work to reduce fossil resource use in products and production takes time, investment and developments. Sometimes it is necessary to wait for new technologies to reach the market. in reality, a business is never finished with efficiency measures; it is an ongoing process.
Some would claim that companies that offset carbon do it to clear their conscience. That is not our experience at all. Our customers offset carbon as part of an ambitious sustainability project.
Defining boundaries in analysis of climate impacts
Many questions arise regarding boundaries and scope when measuring and analysing a company’s emissions. What should be included? As a first step, one should define the direct and indirect emissions of greenhouse gases. A common standard for this Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol). We recommend following this standard.
GHG Protocol divides emissions into three categories:
Scope 1. Direct emissions arising from the company’s own activities and own assets.
Scope 2. Indirect emissions in the form of purchased electricity, heating and cooling.
Scope 3. Other indirect emissions, for example from suppliers, transport, business trips, staff travel to and from work, use of the company products by customers and recycling/destruction.
It is a good idea to see the process of measuring emissions as a project that will develop over time to cover more and more emissions sources.
When deciding which emission sources to include in the measurements, aim to include:
- The largest emissions sources
- The emissions that are easiest to measure
- The emissions that it is possible to influence or act on
- Symbolic activities and sources which are visible and create engagement
Measurements should be made on an annual basis. The first year of measurements should be used as the base year and results for future years should be compared to the base year.
There are six different greenhouse gases that are included in the GHG Protocol, of which carbon dioxide is one. Other gases have a strong greenhouse effect, which means that even small emissions are very damaging to the atmosphere. For example, methane is 25 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. When assessing emissions, all emissions are converted to the same unit, so-called carbon dioxide equivalents, CO2e.