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Busines Case for Sustainability

In 2019 UK Gov amended the Climate Change Act to commit the UK to achiever net zero by 2050. Ramping up a previous 80% reduction by 2025 to 100% reduction in emissions by 2050. Extreme weather incidents and reporting of record temperatures has escalated sustainability to the top of the agenda. Good news the UK has almost halved it GHGs since 1990 with larger organisations making considerable progress on building strategy and reporting. United Nations is pushing countries to accelerate these pledges by a decade to avoid the 'ongoing climate disaster'. There is a compelling opportunity for SMEs who make up 90% of all firms globally, to collectively make a huge impact on sustainability.

47% of leaders want to make an impact but are confused as to where to begin, 77% of small firms don't know how to measure their carbon emissions and weave this into a wider CSR strategy.

There is increasing pressure on small businesses being squeezed by inflation, supply chain risks due to the war in Ukraine and Brexit and a tight labour market. This blog sets out to simply explain why building a net zero strategy is good for business and importantly the planet.

What is Net Zero?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, net zero is a target completely negating the amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activity, to be achieved by reducing emissions and implementing methods of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

In other words, Net Zero means businesses no longer releasing GHGs into the atmosphere, whether that be CO2 or Methane and removing an equal amount of CO2 from the atmosphere that we release into it.

Primarily this is associated with addressing the need to limit the global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius as outlined in the Paris Agreement. 

In cases where it is challenging to eliminate all emissions, offsetting measures come into play. Governments, corporations, and organisations are increasingly making commitments to be net zero by specific target year.

Why Net Zero for the Business?

Regulation and Compliance

All companies and organisations who apply for central government contracts over £5million in value, including MOD, NHS, state educational facilities and local councils need to demonstrate their alignment with net zero policies. This is enforced under PPN06/221.

Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) requires large companies as well as listed small businesses to provide regular reports on their environmental and social impact activities initially impacting 50,000 businesses across Europe. Aim is to standardise and define a common reporting framework.

Bring proactive now can enhance long term resilience for the inevitable acceleration of evolving regulatory requirements for businesses. Be ready for the change!

Customer Demand

Smaller companies will be impacted as their larger clients will scrutinize their whole supply chain to meet new reporting metrics such as CSRD and avoid sanctions. Customers are likely to prioritise suppliers that align to their sustainability objectives and share their values. Being proactive around sustainability future proofs your profitability, protecting your existing customer base and ensuring you are in an optimal position to build new pipeline.

Access to Funding 

Aligned to the Net Zero targets set by the UK gov, funding, grants initiatives and investments are available for businesses that are actively working towards net zero. Organisations that have a clear net zero strategy and actively working to achieve targets set within an action plan are positioning themselves to leverage the grants, investments provided by the UK Gov who have set aside £5billion for UK businesses to become greener.

Cost Savings

Building a sustainability strategy can help businesses save costs while driving efficiencies, fundamentally improving the bottom line. Taking practical steps in reducing carbon footprint by cutting down on energy, water consumption and adopting recycling practices can drive efficiencies. Building sustainability into every action and decision supports growth and profitability without mitigating your impact on the planet.

Talent Attraction and Retention

Employees who are connected with their place of work are more inclined to stay with their employer, 80% of Gen Z job seekers want opportunities that better align to their interests and values. It’s their no1 job hunt priority covers Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Career Growth, Flexible Working, social impact and Environmental Sustainability. 40% of millennials have taken a job with a company because of the company's sustainability practices.

In conclusion starting on a pathway to carbon zero doesn't need to be complicated, it is important to start the conversation and understand how your business can make a significant positive impact on reducing your carbon footprint. Net Zero whilst being good for the planet also provides tangible business benefits for organisations including reducing costs, improving brand recognition, investment opportunities and competitive differentiation. Specific steps may vary dependent upon your company size and industry, stay ahead of the curve, and take early action.

How can Pathway to Carbon Zero help?

Contact Pathway To Carbon Zero


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