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Net Zero Emissions and the Time Machine: Advice From the Future

10th November 2020 - Written by Geraldine Boylan

Is your business ready for net zero emissions by 2045? If this still seems like a long way off, how about 75% reduction by 2030 in Scotland? That’s what the Scottish Government’s roadmap says – not yet a legal obligation on companies but with the public purse poised for spending with companies and organisations who are demonstrating their net zero and environmental sustainability credentials.

With only just over 9 years to go, the business and organisational transformations which will be required for the short-term future mean starting to plan now! The Conference of Parties (CoP 26) due to be held in Glasgow for world leaders in the response to the Climate Emergency being moved to November 2021, then some will feel there is a delay, so perhaps put plans on the ‘long finger’ again. But be under no illusions, despite COVID, despite Brexit, despite the impending economic difficulties, the climate is changing and we must adapt and take action now to mitigate future impacts.

As the saying goes, “change, even for the better is not without pain”. This pain may mean financial planning to meet investment costs, partnerships for trade, research/development and ways of working and moving. It might mean transforming business models and embracing the circular economy – servitising products (think Netflix vs Blockbuster video), remanufacturing and retaining value and customers for longer. The other side of pain, is in fact, opportunity. Ask any good business person. IT, remote working learnings from this COVID world have already accelerated innovation, ways of working, consumer habits including buying local and appreciation of green space and exercise in travel such as walking and biking.

Get your plan to net zero emissions started – and start now. You/we might not have all the answers today; at Mabbett we are helping clients to create a framework for managing net zero in your business, providing training and consultancy support. This means gaining real commitment from leadership, building awareness and competency, generating an initial baseline and carbon footprint, objectives for absolute year-on-year reductions (science based targets), offset plans (but not forever) and exploring opportunities for reduction/elimination of greenhouse gas emissions, all managed within a Plan-Do-Check-Act structure.

In 2045 when you get in your time-machine to come back to 2020, what do you imagine you’d be advising your past-self today (I’m not sure which tense to use here! – I’ve used the Back To The Future film as a benchmark)? Invest in green tech? Get rid of those diesel vehicles? Transform your business model? Simply to get an action plan – sooner? The world will not be the same, so neither will your business. Be in business in 2045, seek out the opportunities from this new world of net zero emissions, and let your grandchildren thank you that you had the foresight to protect their future as well as your business. You have the opportunity to directly and positively impact your sustainable business future – but you must act now.

Geraldine Boylan

My aim is for sustainable growth of our great team to support our interesting client base. I would describe my technical strength as being an environmental generalist - which is actually harder to achieve than it sounds.