What Makes a Robust Corporate Emissions Reduction Strategy?

corporate emissions reduction strategy - male worker in blue uniform outdoors with solar batteries at sunny day

Interest in climate action is surging and businesses are racing to transition to net-zero. These commitments to carbon neutrality or net-zero emissions demonstrate both tangible actions to decarbonise and leadership in the shift to a low carbon economy, but where does your business start to ensure you build a robust corporate emissions reduction strategy?

From our webinar ‘Offsets are not a net-zero strategy’ here’s a simple and quick explainer with seven steps to a robust, corporate emissions reduction strategy.

Corporate Emissions Reduction Strategy in 7 Steps

1. Collaboration and Stakeholder Engagement

Any emissions reduction strategy including a corporate emissions reduction strategy is a collaborative exercise that requires both the internal and external stakeholders across the corporate value chain to work together. It is essential to understand where your organisation-wide emissions come from, and what can be done to collaboratively to address them. You then need to build buy-in across the whole business and commit to tangible actions to understand and reduce your emissions.

2. Define Clear Boundaries and Scope

When you develop a net-zero strategy it is important to include a carbon account and understand what you include and exclude. Many organisations go carbon neutral by measuring, reducing and offsetting their scope 1 and 2 emissions. However, for a robust emissions reduction strategy and a genuine net-zero target (particularly those aligned with Science-based Targets) you also require scope 3 (value chain) emissions to be factored into your carbon account. Learn more about Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

3. Solid Modelling of Emissions Reduction Trajectory

To set a forward-looking emissions reduction target, the modelling needs to be solid and clearly understand your emissions to date, and for the target year. The inputs into the model must be robust, credible, comprehensive, transparent, and traceable.

4. Quantitative Interim Targets

Interim milestones are crucial. We’re seeing a lot of momentum for commitments to net-zero targets, however, without interim milestones, these will not be achievable. Interim targets are your foundation and key to giving you the best chance of success to reach your future goals and target.

5. Detailed Action Plan and Commitments

These need to be both short and medium-term and should focus on opportunities for emissions reduction and operational changes. It is important to prioritise what is achievable for the business and also leverage current technologies and practices and not rely on future tech that might become available. Renewable energy for example, should be one of the first things you tick off in your net-zero strategy.

6. Report and Share your Achievements

Focus on transparent reporting, talk about your progress and update your stakeholders along the way. Implementing a corporate emissions reduction strategy is not always smooth sailing but it is achievable and demonstrates leadership and something to be proud of. Share your journey, engage your team and stakeholders and build respect and loyalty.

7. Think Circular not Linear

After you’ve implemented your strategy, it’s also important to think about your onward journey in a circular, rather than linear way.  Regularly revisit your strategy and actions and utilise an adaptive management approach to test new actions and ideas and learn over time. As new methods and proven technologies do become available, you can further refine your strategy and increase your reductions in ways that may previously have not been available.