In June 2019, parliament passed legislation requiring the Government to reduce the UK’s emissions of greenhouse gases by 100%, relative to 1990 levels, by 2050 – otherwise known as achieving Net Zero.
And so, the race began, with a third of the UK’s largest companies committing to achieving Net Zero goals by the deadline, and that number is rapidly growing as the reality of what needs to be done is amplified by the messages and actions we see every day from businesses that are committed to ‘going green’.
Achieving Net Zero by 2050 is not going to be an easy task, and one of the first steps is to get to grips with an understanding of what it is and what’s involved – something that can be made challenging with so many myths and misconceptions out there.
Here we look to cut through the noise and tell you exactly what you need to know about Net Zero…
1. “I’m not too sure what it is, but it’s probably not something I need to worry about”
The first misconception with Net Zero is that many people don’t understand what the term means.
A Government study found that only 39% of respondents know a lot/a fair amount when it comes to their knowledge of Net Zero. At Consultus, we think of Net Zero as ‘achieving a state in which the activities within the value-chain of an organisation result in no net impact on the climate from greenhouse gas emissions’.
Climate challenge is happening now, not in the future. So, whether you choose to understand it this week or next year, it’s not going away.
2. “Net Zero can be put on the backburner for a while”
Achieving Net Zero is everybody’s responsibility – as the adage says, ‘if you don’t know, get to know’. In fact, customers who are committed to Net Zero will only source from businesses with the same ethos. Many businesses have even challenged themselves to accomplishing Net Zero before 2050. In fact, 200 businesses have committed to reaching Net Zero by 2040.
3. “Achieving Net Zero is too expensive”
Most projects undertaken in working towards Net Zero are actually cost neutral and can often provide savings. In addition, most projects can be delivered on a funded basis where the cost is recovered from the energy saved/generated. At Consultus we’re able to review all of these options for you.
4. “Our existing operations and buildings are too difficult to contribute to Net Zero”
There are many projects that can be put in place to make operations and sites Net Zero with little-to-no disruption to a business. At the top of the tree, the largest Net Zero advantage can be gained through your own onsite generation, private wire and Power Purchase Agreements – a long-term contract under which a business agrees to purchase electricity directly from a renewable energy generator.
5. “We have a renewable energy tariff/we buy carbon neutral products, so we are Net Zero?”
Having a renewable energy tariff in place doesn’t make you Net Zero – although it is a start. However, no product can be completely carbon neutral, there are emissions in any product.
6. “Net Zero isn’t something we know enough about, where do we even start?”
We can help start you on your journey to Net Zero by identifying the route that makes most sense for all your stakeholders, talking you through the options and helping you make the right choices for your organisation. This mix can change over time – and that’s ok.
You will almost certainly need to wrap green energy into your supply contracts, use carbon offsets, and get energy certification. We can help you find the right balance of green measures and costs. The best place to start is with our Net Zero Pathway Tool.
Our Net Zero Tool is a unique asset and is sector and technology agnostic. It is designed to deliver a clearly understandable bespoke pathway for your own organisation to achieve its Net Zero goals within defined timelines. Self-service or guided support means you can explore your options and proceed at a pace that suits you, developing your strategy and agreeing roles and responsibilities in a planned and orderly way.