Every business has a responsibility to prove it is doing everything possible to help the fight against climate change.
Climate change is already evident across the globe – but if each of us reduces our carbon footprint, including businesses, we can make a difference.
The UK government wants to achieve its net zero target by 2050, meaning that the amount of greenhouse gases produced in this country would be equal to or less than the emissions it removes from the environment. It cannot achieve this target without the help of businesses of all sizes, across all parts of the country, across all industries.
- While environmental legislation has been introduced to firmly encourage change to be made at pace, meaningful and lasting impact can only be made through stakeholder buy-in within businesses.
- Businesses need to show their employees, investors, partners, customers, competitors, government and the wider community that they are making a real effort to reduce their carbon footprint – and share their roadmap to net zero.
- There are many ways in which businesses and staff can share their environmental strategies and successes and help build their reputation through the use of internal communications, articles, social media, events and more.
How can my business achieve net zero?
Businesses rely on resources, materials, energy and transport. Their activities tend to create emissions and waste, which combine to give them a high carbon footprint.
To reduce this and move towards net zero, a business needs to review its processes, gather data and knowledge across all departments, and work with its stakeholders to identify problems and find solutions.
By investigating and analysing its own activities, a business can build a sustainability strategy and set science-based targets for cutting its carbon footprint and eventually achieving net zero.
Listen to our training experts on how your business can become more sustainable, in our green skills podcast
Opportunities and risks
Introducing such measures can be costly and might even increase waste and emissions in the short term while they are being rolled out.
A business’s main aim is to make a profit. Moving toward net zero can help to streamline activities and increase efficiency, thereby making a business more profitable.
In terms of the impact it has on stakeholders, any success in decreasing the amount of harm being done to the environment will be welcomed by consumers, employers and other stakeholders, who will want to be aligned with a business with good ethics at its heart.
How employees can help boost your environmental strategy
Every business’s net zero plan should be individual to that business. While businesses can share learnings and experience with each other, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to reducing emissions.
Your stakeholders and staff are your greatest weapon in developing a sustainability plan for your business, so they should be involved right from the start and kept informed at every stage.
A useful way of doing this is to upskill your employees in green skills, so that they can keep informed, engaged and motived about changes in legislation and learn how to gather data, identify issues, report them, develop solutions and measure actions.
At TSW Training, we offer a range of IEMA courses at various lengths and levels to give your employees the skills they need to help the business fulfil its net zero objectives.
How to effectively communicate your environmental successes
A business’s net zero plan should contain a roadmap with a list of smaller targets to achieve weekly, monthly quarterly or annually.
Successes – or even failures – should be shared with stakeholders throughout the process to be open and transparent about what you are trying to achieve, how you are going about it and how you are measuring progress.
Where some measures don’t work as well as others, it’s better to identify these and look for better alternatives together with your stakeholders than to ignore them or hide disappointing results.
- Effectively communicating your progress should be achieved through strong internal and external communications strategies.
- The work being done by all employees could be celebrated through a mixture of website blogs, videos, articles, photographs and even company events to maintain employee engagement.
- A business could use the company intranet, newsletters, email, meetings and reports to communicate environmental success to internal staff.
- Marketing teams or branding agencies can effectively utilise business social media platforms, partner relations and the media/press to communicate positive messages externally to customers, competitors and the wider community.
Better for the planet, better for business
Your employees and partners are vital in making a real difference that will not only bring short term success, but will have a lasting and increasing positive impact on both the environment and your business.
By sharing the business’s progress and encouraging everyone to spread the word, not only will the company’s reputation be linked to making ethical, responsible choices, but the business will also be viewed as forward-thinking, agile and efficient.
It is businesses such as these that will attract and retain a loyal customer base, a motivated workforce, strong partnerships and investment.