March 31, 2022

Article

Lots of SMEs are thinking about the road ‘net zero’ and recognising that there may be challenges along the way. We set out below a couple of these challenges and how support is available to get you to your target.

What are the challenges of net zero?

One of the most challenging areas of net zero can be understanding what that this actually means. Many organisations are being asked where they are on their net zero journey and how they are going to get there but what one organisation interprets as being net zero may not be the expectation of another. This can make it hard for an organisation to know where to start. When any organisation talks about being net zero they need to define what is within scope of their net zero project and what is not. For example if we are considering travel is the organisation simply looking at the emissions from company owned vehicles or are they also including their employees business travel emissions, or even their commute to work? Once the scope of emissions is agreed, the expectation in terms of how this will be counteracted needs to be considered. There are again differing approaches, some will be satisfied with making a straight carbon offset to neutralise their emissions whereas others will be changing their behaviours and the way in which the organisation runs to reduce their emissions as far as possible and only then will they make an offset.

Once you have got over the education hurdle there are then the common barriers to all change management projects of both rime and resource. This is where we can come in……

How can we support the journey to net zero?

We can work with you to take away the time commitment that is needed to get on top of your net zero business plans. We can do this in the following ways:

  • Support you in understanding your current carbon footprint. When starting a net zero journey it is good to get to grips with where you are now so you know where to go next.
  • Work with you to set key targets, objectives and a business strategy for net zero. Once you know your starting point and you are looking to your next steps, it is vital that there is clear stakeholder engagement all the way to the top of the business. Rolling out a net zero business strategy, is not a one person or one department job, it will impact the whole business and requires absolute buy in from the leaders. This can sometimes require an element of education to ensure that the Business Why is understood…..there will be one and we are happy to support these conversations to help you draw this out!!! Once this is clear a business can then look to start to build a strategy and a pathway to net zero. This will require new policies and procedures to be implemented, KPIs to be set and a governance structure to be in place to ensure there is full accountability.
  • Taking things further and wider, either for businesses who have wider sustainability aspirations, or those who are already achieving net zero, an Environmental and Social Governance health check can be completed. The health check is aligned to the UN Global goals and other regulations and provides you with an overview as to the areas of sustainability your business could focus on to help you get to a more sustainable future.

Support from others

There is currently funding available from Somerset County Council through their Somerset Growth Accelerator Fund Grant Scheme which could result in a business being awarding £25,000-£50,000 towards a decarbonsation project provided 25% is matched by the business or £100,000 in exceptional cases, requiring a 50% match funding . There is a tight time frame in place with the window closing on 11 April, however this is a great opportunity for any business that is looking to make changes in the near future. If you are considering new technologies or changes to your working practices to get you towards a net zero future then, express your interest now!

Contributing to your Success

If you would like to start your net zero business conversations, please get in touch with your usual Albert Goodman contact or Sophie Parkhouse direct.

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