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Reduce your business carbon footprint

Our first goal is to help you reduce your carbon footprint by cutting the greenhouse gas emissions of your business. Why? 


Reduce what you can, offset the rest

We need to reduce our carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and to zero by 2050 to limit global warming to 1.5°C. This requires a massive collective effort on the part of governments, consumers and businesses. The truth is an either/or approach won't get us there, we need to both reduce and offset.

We are guided by this simple principle - reduce what you can, offset the rest.

Why reduce your carbon footprint?

Here are 3 great reasons for reducing what you can:

  • The world is moving to a low-carbon economy - reducing now will help you prepare and get on the front foot 
  • Offsetting costs you money - saving energy and reducing waste saves you money
  • Reducing your footprint demonstrates leadership - doing the heavy lifting makes your commitment to the climate more credible and helps avoid 'greenwashing'

Why offset your carbon footprint?

There is no doubt that offsetting is an important part of the toolkit too:

  • We can't reduce to zero immediately - reduction plans take time, whereas offsetting we can do now
  • Offsetting builds momentum - companies that offset, typically reduce their emissions over 3 times more than others (Ecosystem Marketplace, 2015)
  • It doesn't matter where in the world we make savings - global warming is caused by the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions


    How to set Science-based targets

      How do we know how much to reduce our footprint by? if we are going to make a meaningful contribution to reducing the impacts of climate change we need to set our reduction targets in line with the overall goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. This is called setting 'Science-based targets' for carbon reduction.

      There are 3 types of target that we help you to set:

      Absolute target

      This is a commitment to reduce the total emissions, in absolute terms, of all or part of your business activity, over a defined period of time. For example you might say,

      We will reduce my total footprint from 100 tonnes of CO2e to 58 tonnes of CO2e over the next 10 years. 

      It's best practice to set a long term absolute target for reducing the emissions of your own operations (also known as Scopes 1 & 2) as a minimum. It's also a good idea to set absolute targets for individual activities over shorter time periods to help drive action and build momentum.



        Intensity target

        This is a commitment to reduce the intensity of your carbon emissions depending on the amount of activity you are doing. This type of target can be particularly useful if your business is expecting to grow significantly over the period as it may be difficult to reduce the absolute emissions in your supply chain and customer activity. Here are some typical intensity targets:

        Over the next 10 years we will reduce our supply chain emissions from 100 tCO2e per £1m of spend to 48 tCO2e per £1m of spend

        Over the next 7 years we will reduce the emissions of this product line from 56 kgCO2e per product sold to 48 tCO2e per product sold

        Over the next 5 years we will reduce the emissions of this factory from 1.2 tCO2e per sq metre to 1.1 tCO2e per sq metre 


        Qualitative target

        Sometimes it is important to set a target that you cannot put a number on. This might be an important symbolic goal, or something that will encourage your employees, customers or suppliers to get involved. Typical qualitative goals might be:

        Install charging points for electric cars in the staff car park

        Hold an energy saving workshop

        Put up reminders to switch everything off at the weekend


        Prioritise based on impact and engagement

        One of the advantages of our detailed report is that it breaks down your footprint by category so that you get a clear picture of which activities have the biggest impact on the climate and can target your actions accordingly.

        Getting your employees, customers and suppliers involved in your efforts to reduce your footprint is crucial to success, so it is also important to consider actions that will encourage this.

        We help you prioritise your action plan to meet these two goals.


        Getting a good mix of reduction targets

        The right mix of targets and actions is important to make sure that you are heading in the right direction over the long term and that you start building the momentum in the short term. This will be unique for your business, but will likely include:

        • A long-term (5-15 years) absolute target for the emissions produced by your own operations (Scopes 1 & 2)
        • A long term absolute or intensity target for the emissions produced by your supply chain and customer activity (Scope 3)
        • 1-3 short term (1-5 years) targets for reducing the emissions of specific activities
        • 1-3 qualitative targets

        Learn more about the different scopes of activity

        We have found that 4-6 targets at any one time is enough to give you focus and build momentum.


        "If we are going to do it, we want to do it properly" 
        - Tim Pearce, Haines Watts Accountants

        © Sustainable Business Design Limited

        21 Naunton Lane, Cheltenham, Gloucs, UK GL53 7BJ



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