Net zero by 2050: How your business can help to stop global warming

Is your business doing everything it can to be environmentally conscious? Tackling the global climate crisis can feel overwhelming on an individual level, especially given that relatively few firms do the majority of the damage.

Just 100 companies were found to be responsible for 71% of global emissions between 1988 and 2017. But the fact is that stopping climate change will require a collective effort from all individuals and businesses, no matter their current contribution. It’s a reality that’s repeated by the UK government in its pledge to become net zero by 2050.

Below we explore what that goal means and offer practical tips on how your organisation can reduce its environmental impact.

What is the net zero target?

The UK is one of the first major countries to set out a clear target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by the year 2050. In short, this means reaching a balance between the emissions produced by all cars, homes and industries, and the emissions taken out of the atmosphere.

Achieving this goal will reduce the country’s contribution to global warming and in turn help to alleviate serious flood and heat risks that threaten our future.

For businesses, the government says this will require ‘decisive action and significant investment and innovation’. So how can you play your part?

How your business can work towards net zero status

You could already be well on the way to reducing your business’ carbon emissions – or only just scratching the surface. Either way, get ideas to incorporate into your plan for going green below.  

Reduce energy consumption

Energy use and demand for energy are two crucial components of the move towards carbon neutrality. To reduce yours, your team will need to look at how, when and where your business uses energy in order to spot opportunities for improvements.

Upgrading the heat and energy efficiency of your premises is a great place to start no matter the size of your setup.

Re-assess staff transport

Transport is another key focus area for climate task forces, with the adoption of electric vehicles seen as a necessity in decarbonising our journeys. If you offer company cars or use other fleet vehicles, now is the time to switch.

Encouraging and possibly incentivising use of bikes and public transport will also have a positive impact.

Implement new systems

New or developing technologies such as offshore wind and battery storage have made the UK’s net zero target seem far more feasible than it was even a decade ago. There are lots of options out there – but investing in the right systems for you can help to scale your efforts significantly.

If your plant or factory is a serial air polluter, for example, implementing an industrial gas cleaning and thermal system could clean up your emissions.

Create a conscious culture

The success of any major business objective often depends on securing buy-in at every level of seniority. Just as wider societal change is needed to achieve the government’s target, creating an environmentally conscious culture can help you reach yours.

Look to engage your team and inspire positive change where possible, be it through workshops, initiatives or even new roles and responsibilities.

Speak to experts

While you may be able to draw up a rough plan yourself, speaking to external experts will help you get smarter as a business. You could call on a consultant to draw up a bespoke roadmap towards net zero and manage any major changes.

As environmental challenges differ by sector and area, you could also benefit from joining local or industry-specific support groups.

Ultimately net zero means different things to different businesses. But by making a commitment through the methods that work for yours, that worthwhile target will become achievable.