Net Zero: business strategy tips

What makes a great net zero business strategy?

What you do is far more important than what you say, which has never been truer when it comes to net zero.

After COP26, companies making pledges and promises have been abounding, but the big question for organisations is how to ensure that these ambitious targets are effectively turned into effective action.

So, how can businesses move from ambition to action? To help we’ve outlined seven key areas you should focus on to make a great net zero business strategy.

Key components for a great net zero carbon strategy:

1- What will your future footprint look like?

It’s important to understand your past emissions and your current track record, there is a potential risk that focussing on previous emissions will only chip away at the problem. Instead, we think it’s important for organisations to make forward-looking projections into their emissions and to tie these to business growth plans and business strategy.

2- Align your ambitions with science-based targets

Did you know that there is now a range of industry-accepted targets which you can use to lock in your net zero ambitions? If you’re using weak net zero definitions, it can lead to accusations of greenwashing. SBTi’s Net-Zero Standard, for example, is the world’s first framework for corporate net-zero target setting in line with climate science.

3- Entrench net-zero into your larger company strategy

Net zero shouldn’t be just something you bolt on. It’s important to distinguish the key operating model changes that are required to deliver your net-zero targets. For large manufacturers, this can be a massive undertaking and it needs to be integrated into mature lean processes and customer journeys.

4- Apply focus to your supply chains

Your suppliers can make or break your net zero ambitions, so it’s important that there’s a significant amount of collaboration and knowledge sharing across industries on how to implement a net zero strategy, which is helping suppliers to learn from one another.

5- Avoid, Reduce, Innovate

When you’re preparing your net zero road map and looking at solutions, it’s important that you think about levers that can be used to keep on track. The first thing you should do is to avoid by changing designs and incorporating carbon into your decision-making process.

The second thing you should do is reduce – by using efficiencies as much as possible and moving to renewable sources of energy. Thirdly, innovate – through collaboration in green finance, cleantech and wider movements such as regenerative agriculture.

6- Boards seal of approval

You need to ensure that your CEO’s and board members understand the size and scale of the challenges to achieve net zero carbon. In order to do this well, it needs a massive transformation, which is driven top-down and is embedded throughout the organisation. You could look at establishing net zero as an agenda item at the executive level, you could assign management oversight of the net zero transformation, and evaluate net zero incentives structure. For example, Danone tied their manager’s bonuses to carbon reduction targets in 2009 – what could your business do?

7) Be transparent

Communication is key with any major change programme. You should share your strategy, both internally and externally, and any milestones you’ve been committed to delivering.

Get In Touch

We’re working with hundreds of organisations across the UK with their net zero strategies, helping them reduce their energy use and CO2 emissions. Get in touch with our sustainability team today to start your green journey!

T: 0161 543 4131