Follow a ‘reduction-first’ approach to tackling emissions, with offsetting used only to compensate for residual emissions that are not feasible to eliminate.
Ensure that you build flexibility, adaptability and responsiveness into your strategy by planning for the various scenarios you developed when assessing the drivers of change.
4. Embed and sustain the change to achieve your net zero goals
In many organisations, delivering net zero will require a comprehensive transformation impacting all areas of the business.
Critical success factors
Resourcing. Ensure that sufficient resources (human and financial) have been allocated to deliver the change – both in your own organisation and within partners across the end-to-end value chain.
Oversight. Ensure that the right metrics, mechanisms and oversight are in place to track and independently verify achievement of goals.
Performance. Ensure that strategic targets are cascaded throughout the organisation and embedded in people performance objectives/metrics to align behaviours and decision making with strategic direction on net zero.
Capability. Ensure effective communication, engagement, education and training are in place to equip the people in your organisation and more broadly, with an understanding of the need to change – and with the right skills and knowledge to make the change happen.
Alignment. Ensure all activities and leadership behaviours are consistent with your climate/net zero strategy e.g. senior leadership should lead by example; your organisation’s political lobbying, whether undertaken directly or via trade association membership, should be strategically aligned, etc.
Governance. Building on the earlier points on leadership, ensure that corporate governance is updated and optimised to align with the principles defined by the World Economic Forum. In particular, ensure that broader decision making takes account of climate and net zero implications.
5. Keep monitoring, learning and improving on net zero action
Stakeholder sentiment, innovations in low-carbon technology, climate legislation and our understanding of climate science, continue to change at a bewildering rate. It’s therefore vital that your strategy, targets and plans keep evolving.
Critical success factors
Horizon scan. Review and regularly assess the impact of emerging trends in sentiment, low-carbon technology, climate legislation, net zero best practice, etc.
Monitor. Continuously monitor progress towards your stated goals, taking remedial action where targets are not being met, and updating targets where needed.
Listen. Set up channels to continue capturing and acting on ideas and insights from all key stakeholders, including employees, lenders, investors, customers, suppliers, etc.
Collaborate. Proactively collaborate on an ongoing basis to share and action improvement ideas and innovations. This should take place across the end-to-end value chain and with other businesses and stakeholders, both within your sector and more broadly. You may even extend this to pre-competitive collaboration within your sector to accelerate net zero progress and deliver mutual advantage.
Incentivise. Consider opportunities to incentivise stakeholders to develop improvement ideas. These do not necessarily have to be monetary. For example, competitions to develop the best ideas or make the biggest difference can be a great way to raise awareness and drive positive engagement.
Benchmark. Regularly and proactively compare ambition, action and achievement with peer and comparator organisations – adjusting your plans and targets accordingly.
Act now on net zero to ensure future business viability