What is Net-Zero?

ESG

What is net zero and why should small and mid-sized businesses care?

Net-zero: It is all over the headlines  

I was at an event last week and the title of it was, “The Road to Net-Zero.” There were corporations, small businesses and industry leaders – all asking what it is and how it will impact their business. 

To discuss net zero, we need to first talk about emissions. Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions include CO2 (carbon), methane and more. They come from our factories. They emerge from the way we grow or make our food. They are a result of our cars and planes. These emissions go up into the atmosphere and they get trapped. They are heating up the Earth. You’ll hear the term global warming. This is it.

A net-zero economy 

Net-zero companies, economies, or businesses are characterized in this way because of their emissions, waste, etc. being zero. One trick: these organizations could still emit GHGs, but they may offset them by buying up carbon credits from another, greener business, or they could invest in carbon capture technology. The general result is that their total emissions are zero. Get it?

How to get to net-zero as a business

There are several ways that businesses have moved the dial and pushed their waste, emissions and risk way down to get close to zero. Others offset to drive towards nil.

  1. You could do that by only using good renewable energy or switching to electric cars. Companies could move datacenters or capture energy from solar or wind energy. It’s getting rid of all those things that cause the emissions to go up. These emissions are warming our planet. 
  2. Alternatively what other people do is they offset the carbon, methane or other GHGs that their company or their economy or their country produce by planting trees or even by capturing carbon. Carbon capture technologies sound very science-fiction, but tehy do exist. It really is a thing! They capture carbon before it gets emitted into the atmosphere.

Getting your company to net-zero

There are 3 steps in getting your business or organiztion to zero emissions. An initial assessment or baseline of your Greenhouse Gas emissions is key. Even a digest of your current waste, water usage, etc can provide a good picture of where your company sits in realtion to environmental impact. 

Knowing your baseline can then jumpstart your business to create 2 or 3 initiatives that can draw down or counter the harm you are currently doing to the planet. Some companies start reducing energy usage through optimization. Others begin switching suppliers. 

Communicating to your state stakeholders that sustainability matters to your business is a good way to inspire your stakeholders. Some – maybe your boards or lenders – will be happy to hear that these measures are actually saving you money and allowing you to do more with less. Other will be proud that your company has a strong and clear purpose toward change. 

Net Zero is good for business. It’s good for the planet too.

Thanks!

~Team ThisRock