If we are to meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, society as a whole will need to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Even though the mid-century mark is decades away, we are far off track from achieving this goal, and time is running out fast.
If we are to have any hope of correcting our course, the latest research suggests global greenhouse gas emissions will need to drop by half by 2030, making the 2020s a truly pivotal decade in our battle against climate change.
The challenge that lies ahead is undoubtedly a daunting one, but businesses around the world can make a hugely important contribution by bringing their own emissions to net zero by 2030.
Responding to the climate crisis with requisite urgency is essential for the health of the planet and a prudent business decision also. Taking your first steps towards net zero will grant you a headstart on the regulations expected to come into force over the coming years.
A net zero strategy constitutes a much more comprehensive response to your impact on the climate than a carbon neutral strategy. Unlike carbon neutrality, achieving net zero requires a business to compensate for Scope 3 emissions – your value chain – as well as Scope 1 and 2 emissions.
Although you are only indirectly responsible for your value chain emissions, it is likely these constitute the majority of your total emissions. They are also the most difficult to obtain an accurate footprint for – precisely why accounting for them is so integral to addressing our environmental impact.
After a footprint has been calculated and emissions have been reduced, a company wishing to become net zero must set one of the following targets:
Net Zero Target (NZT): A date by which an organisation will bring their net emissions to zero through emission reduction and offsetting.
Science-Based Target (SBT): Ensures all business operations (including the value chain) are compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5°C in line with the Paris Climate Agreement goals. Businesses that set an SBT have the option of having it validated by the Science-Based Target Initiative, which demonstrates the credibility of your commitment but can be cost-prohibitive.
Businesses with an NZT are able to count avoidance offsets, which chiefly protect existing carbon sinks, towards their net zero goal. However, if your business has one or more SBTs, your unavoidable emissions must be compensated for with regenerative offsets, which actively remove and sequester carbon from the atmosphere through afforestation and restoration activities.
All Carbon Balanced projects include such activities, which improve the land’s carbon capture and storage capacity. WLT are able to offer specific regenerative offsets, separated from avoidance offsets, so that businesses with SBTs seeking net zero certification can make the most efficient offsetting choice for their needs.