News & Events

02-11-2021

Business around the world need to join the race to Net Zero – but how can they do it?

The first, and arguably most important, goal of the COP26 United Nations climate change conference focuses on securing global Net Zero in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. For companies directly engaging in the production or use of coal and other fossil fuels, carrying out deforestation, or financing those who do, this goal serves as a clear cease and desist order. But for those working in other areas - be it retail, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, technology, or the myriad other industries which are not directly related to these harmful activities, the route to Net Zero is more ambiguous.
Net Zero

Calculating their own carbon footprints a challenge for organisations

The first major challenge for these organisations is to calculate, with a reasonable degree of accuracy, their own carbon footprints, across scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions*. Many of the large multi-nationals are well underway with this, particularly this across Scope 1 and 2 emissions. However, the interconnected, globalized nature of our economy means that for all businesses to be able to accurately calculate their scope 3 emission - which include sources such as purchased goods and services from their supply chain - a level of emissions calculation, collaboration and data sharing that involves almost all businesses globally is required.

Carbon credits could help businesses in their progress towards Net Zero

Once a business understands its carbon footprint, how can it then progress towards Net Zero whilst also maintaining a successful operation? Actively reducing their footprint is vital of course, but for many the answer lies, at least in part, in the use of Carbon Credits. Put simply, Carbon Credits are a tradeable financial product, whereby a value is placed on the verified carbon reduction/removal achieved by company A, which can then be sold to company B to offset against their own emissions. Carbon Credit markets help larger businesses to neutralize emissions which are currently unavoidable in their operations, whilst at the same time supporting environmentally friendly initiatives which are actively working to improve the health of the planet. These initiatives often include added benefits such as protection for biodiversity and local communities as well as carbon reduction.

How Control Union can help

Control Union works with a wide range of carbon schemes, including those aimed at verifying carbon footprint calculations, and those which help environmental champions access the carbon markets through creating verified carbon credits for sale. Loek Verwijst, Deputy Director of Control Union Certifications Germany, is one of our carbon experts. His explained his aspirations for COP26:

“Carbon Credits are going to be an essential tool for businesses in their attempts to reach Net Zero, but at present Carbon Credit markets are immature, with not enough clarity on which credits can support which mandates. I hope that COP26 leads to international alignment of these markets, with investment and regulation to boost accessibility for those sectors who can generate the credits. A wider supply of these credits will hopefully make the price per tonne of carbon less volatile, making it easier for businesses to commit to carbon neutrality.

“In addition, I hope that COP26 brings the issue of carbon footprint into the boardroom, so that it is considered alongside the current fundamental of profitability when making business decisions. If COP26 can prompt regulations which encourage this it would be a fantastic step forward in our combined efforts to limit global warming.”

At Control Union we work to support the actions of our clients in understanding and reducing their carbon footprint. To find out more about the carbon schemes we work with, please follow the links on the left, or alternatively contact us on certifications@controlunion.com to find out more.

References: 
* https://www.carbontrust.com/resources/briefing-what-are-scope-3-emissions

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