Our net zero journey blog
As with all businesses that are committing to net zero, the journey is complex. Control Energy Costs' own journey to net zero continues at pace, as Auditel works with us over the coming months to measure all our operational scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, with the goal of enabling us to create a robust, meaningful and achievable carbon reduction plan, along with setting our net zero goals and targets.
As with all net zero journeys, we never get to the end. Control Energy Cost's own journey to net zero continues and is evolving in light of our recent merger with ECS. The merger has brought many benefits to our clients and the Control Energy Costs 'family'. We have engaged our carbon partner, Auditel, to carry out a fresh review of our carbon footprint.
As sponsors of the 2023 Gatwick Diamond Business Awards, it has been a privilege to judge all the fantastic entries and select a winner for the Environmental Culture Award.
We have met some great people who really are going the extra mile to embed a culture of behavioural changes within their businesses and have truly bought into the idea of profit for planet. Deciding on a winner has been tough, but drawing on our own experiences of the challenges, we have selected Ridgeview Wine Estate as our winner.
The Energy Crisis, as it has become known, seems to have changed priorities for many businesses. Sadly, budgets that some of our suppliers had previously set aside to embark on their own Net Zero Journeys, have been pushed back a couple of years, while they look for ways to balance books against a huge increase in energy costs. Not a challenge we were expecting to be faced with as part of our own journey, but one that we will continue to work our way through.
As almost 100% of our emissions as a business come from our suppliers, we will continue to purchase certified offsets to balance our emissions. We are continuing to work on solutions with our suppliers, helping them understand the wider commercial benefits. As an SME, it is far more difficult to be influential.
From conversations we are having with our clients and suppliers, it certainly feels as if the Net Zero momentum is gathering pace. More and more businesses seem happy to have a conversation on the subject as pressure within supply chains starts to mount.
We had previously reported a slow response to our own supply chain assessments where we asked many of our suppliers for confirmation of their carbon footprint and whether they were working on a commitment to be Net Zero by 2050. Sadly, that still remains an issue and we suspect will be a common problem within the service sector. We will be attempting to re-engage with our own supply chain on the subject, and from 2023 onward, will consider decisions around moving to different service providers, where they are able to help us achieve our own Net Zero goal.
Drawing on our own experiences of trying to get other businesses to buy into the idea of joining us on our journey to Net Zero, this month we presented at an Educational seminar to businesses within the Gatwick Diamond Business community.
Our presentation was set up to spread the message to businesses who may be thinking that Net Zero is not yet relevant to them. We wanted to emphasise that in a world where optimising a supply chain builds reputation amongst those who have expectations for a sustainable business, not taking action could ultimately costs them customers.
It is vital that every business understands their position within a value chain and the impact they can have in being part of the overall journey to Net Zero for anyone they do business with.
Two months on and we have had almost no response to our simple supply chain assessments. It's amazing how few businesses don’t seem to see the big picture - their scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions make up part of our scope 3 emissions.
It is clear that the journey is going to take time, but we won't give up!
The past month has made it clear how challenging it will be to get a response to our supply chain assessments. We have asked many of our suppliers questions around whether they know their carbon footprint, split by scopes 1, 2 and 3, and whether they have a commitment to Net Zero by 2050.
In the meantime we have now purchased certified offsets to balance our 2020 emissions within membership of the Net Zero Club. We opted for tree planting in the UK via Forest Carbon, who lead the way in developing woodland creation and peatland restoration projects for carbon capture and ecosystem services.
After fully assessing our carbon portfolio across scopes 1,2 & upstream 3, it is now clear that almost 100% of our carbon emissions come from our suppliers and value chain. This may suggest that we cannot act on these emissions, however, we believe in asking the difficult questions and pressuring our supply chain to join us on the journey to reach a Net Zero target.
As a short-term strategy to act on our carbon portfolio, we are taking responsibility for the emissions generated within our supply chain and are about to purchase certified offsets to remove our carbon contributions throughout 2020. In our next blog we are aiming to confirm that we are carbon neutral, with full details of the certified offsets we have purchased.
We acknowledge that the vast majority of our emissions fall into scope 3 and that it won’t be possible for us to reach Net Zero without suppliers joining us on the journey. We are now working to engage with our supply chain. For us, our suppliers are an upstream risk to our Net Zero transition.
We are also finalising our options for a responsible carbon offset to rebalance our emissions whilst we work through our strategy.
All our data is now set up within the Net Zero Club portal and our carbon footprint for 2020 has been calculated at 48 tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent).
Overall, our footprint for 2020 is far lower than average and we have been rated as B for performance within the Net Zero Hub, which is encouraging, but we still have work to do to get ourselves to net zero.
We are now working to identify and implement changes within the business to reduce our environmental impact, and will be looking at responsible carbon offset options to rebalance our emissions whilst we work on our plans.
All our data for 2020 has been submitted and step one is complete!
We’re also working on our 2019 and 2021 data, to counterbalance the abnormal data from 2020 (see our May post below) and to get a fuller picture of our starting point.
We’re working with our partners Energise on this journey to net zero and are members of their Net Zero Club, which makes the whole process much simpler. Their guidance and support are very much appreciated.
Next stage - mapping out our pathway to net zero!
We’re making great progress with finding all the data to identify our carbon footprint.
However, one big challenge that we didn’t foresee at the beginning of this process, is that the 2020 data we hold is not really representative of our “normal”.
This is going to be an issue for pretty much every business on this path. What with lockdowns and closures over the last 14 months, working from home and an extended and gradual return to the office, the mix of our direct and indirect emissions are very different to how they would normally have been.
This would be an issue for many organisations working to establish their carbon footprint based on data from 2020.
In 2020 we decided that, as a business, we were going to start our journey to being net zero.
We’ve created this blog so you can track our progress – after all, being open and accountable is an important part of the process! – and perhaps be inspired to start your journey as well.