Making Your Business More Sustainable: A Zingy Guide to Your First Steps

Charting your Path to a Greener Tomorrow

In today’s business landscape, sustainability isn’t just a buzzword—it’s a necessity. At 1.5 Degrees, we have been carbon footprinting businesses like yours for five years. Our experts are here to guide you through the process, helping you avoid pitfalls and create a robust sustainability plan. We pride ourselves on being friendly, helpful, and collaborative, ensuring that your journey towards sustainability is as smooth and effective as possible.

1. Knowledge is Power: Measure Your Carbon Footprint

You can’t change what you don’t know. The first step is to measure your carbon footprint using the Government’s Environmental reporting guidelines for businesses. Even though their 152 page document might seem quite daunting, we’ve taken their process and adapted to make it effective for businesses like yours. It’ll require a little detective work but the data is usually available from your financial accounts and systems. Yes, the initial measurement may require some assumptions but don’t worry—that’s perfectly fine. We’ll be there to guide you every step of the way, refining and improving our data as we go.

2. Analyse and Engage: Identify High Emission Areas

Once we have a snapshot of your carbon footprint, it’s time to dive into the details. We’ll meet with your management team and/or board to pinpoint the areas with the largest emissions. These are often the biggest cost centres too! By highlighting these areas, we can start to see where immediate changes can have the most significant impact. Our expertise ensures that we can help you identify and tackle these areas effectively.

3. Plan and Prioritise: Tackle the Low-Hanging Fruit

With a clear understanding of your emissions, we can create a targeted plan to reduce them. Start with the low-hanging fruit—simple yet effective changes like switching to a green energy supplier or encouraging staff to rethink their travel habits. These initial steps can make a substantial difference and are often easy to implement. Our collaborative approach means we’ll work together to develop the best strategies for your business.

4. Take Action and Track Progress

It’s time to put our plan into action. Implement the changes and report back on the progress. Regular updates will help keep everyone accountable and allow us to celebrate the successes along the way. Consistent tracking ensures that we stay on course and make adjustments as needed. We’re here to support you throughout this process, ensuring that your sustainability efforts are effective and measurable.

5. Communicate and Collaborate: Share the Vision

A sustainable future requires teamwork and transparency. Work with our communications team to share your sustainability plan with your board, staff, and customers. Clear and consistent communication helps build trust and ensures that everyone is on the same page, working towards the same goals. We’ll help you craft the perfect message to showcase your commitment to sustainability.

Annual Iteration: The Key to Continuous Improvement

Sustainability is an ongoing journey, not a one-time project. Each year, we’ll revisit our plans, improve our reporting, further reduce emissions (and costs), and enhance employee engagement. By mitigating existing emissions annually, we move closer to our (and the Government’s) ultimate goal—becoming a net-zero organisation. Our experience and collaborative approach will ensure that your sustainability efforts evolve and improve year after year.

Let’s Create a Greener Future Together

Starting your business on the path to sustainability may seem daunting, but with our expert guidance and collaborative support, you’re well on your way. Remember, knowledge is the foundation, planning and action drive progress, and communication and iteration ensure long-term success. At 1.5 Degrees, we’re committed to helping you every step of the way. Let’s work together to create a greener, more sustainable future for your business and our planet. 

The sooner we start the easier it will be for your organisation and the greater impact we’ll have on the environment.

Ready to take the first step? Then drop us a line for an initial chat.

Redline Database Launch

We’re very excited to have recently launched Redline which is a research database for litigation against fossil fuel extraction.

“We have to use every weapon in our armoury to fight the fossil fuel industry.”

This project involved working closely with the UCL team at the Bartlett School for Environment, Energy & Resources and the School of Political science and was funded by UCL Grand Challenges.

The Business Benefits of Carbon Footprinting your organisation

We have been working with businesses large and small to help them on their Net Zero journey over the past few years and there are some real tangible benefits of voluntarily reporting on the carbon footprint of your organisation. As people at home and abroad experience the effects of climate change through extreme weather events in their everyday lives it is clear that there is only one direct of travel of your business – to become greener and more sustainable and to publish a concrete plan for your business to become Net Zero  – anything less risks being labelled green-washing. 

  1. Competitive Advantage: In an increasingly environmentally conscious market, businesses that actively measure and reduce their carbon footprint gain a competitive edge. Consumers are more likely to support environmentally responsible companies, which can lead to increased sales and customer loyalty.
  1. Cost Savings: Conducting a carbon footprint analysis often reveals inefficiencies in energy usage and resource consumption. By identifying areas for improvement, businesses can implement cost-effective measures to reduce their carbon emissions and, simultaneously, lower their operational expenses. This can include energy-saving technologies, waste-reduction strategies, and streamlined processes.
  1. Brand Reputation and Trust: Demonstrating a commitment to sustainability enhances a company’s reputation and builds trust with customers, investors, and other stakeholders. By transparently disclosing carbon footprint data and showcasing efforts to minimise environmental impact, businesses can position themselves as responsible corporate citizens, which can positively influence brand perception and attract environmentally conscious consumers.
  1. Regulatory Compliance and Risk Management: While carbon footprinting may be voluntary for now, there’s a growing trend towards regulatory requirements and reporting standards related to greenhouse gas emissions. Proactively measuring and managing carbon emissions helps businesses stay ahead of potential regulations, reducing the risk of non-compliance penalties and regulatory scrutiny. Moreover, it prepares businesses for future environmental regulations, ensuring they can adapt and thrive in a changing regulatory landscape.
  1. Investor Appeal and Access to Funding: Investors are increasingly factoring environmental performance into their investment decisions. By quantifying and reducing their carbon footprint, businesses can appeal to socially responsible investors and access a broader range of funding opportunities, including green bonds, sustainable investment funds, and partnerships with environmentally focused venture capitalists. This can improve access to capital and facilitate business growth while aligning with investors’ sustainability goals.
  1. Employee Engagement and Satisfaction: Engaging employees in sustainability initiatives, such as carbon footprinting, fosters a sense of purpose and pride in their work. When employees see that their company is committed to reducing its environmental impact, they are more likely to feel connected to the organization’s values and goals. This can lead to increased job satisfaction, higher morale, and greater overall engagement in their roles.

While there are many tools out there to help your organization get an initial estimate of its carbon footprint, it’s advisable to work with experts like 1.5 Degrees for more precise and dependable measurements. We’re here to walk you through the process, offering assistance in marketing, business strategy, and engaging your employees to craft a solid Net Zero plan. 

Let us support you in reaching your sustainability objectives effectively and reliably.

Net Zero: Now is the Time!

When you see companies as diverse as O2, GSK and Brewdog matching the Net Zero environmental ambition of the Extinction Rebellion you know that times are changing.

Earlier this year O2 announced the most ambitious plans to be Net Zero by 2025.

Last week BrewDog published concrete plans not only to be Net Zero but to be carbon negative. We’re not sure if the term carbon negative or carbon-reducing or even ‘Negging’ will stick, but it’s a great initiative. This is our approach too.

Net Zero BrewDog

This approach can be applied to any business big or small.

  • Measure your footprint
  • Make concrete plans to reduce your footprint with SMART goals.
  • Plant trees to compensate in the short term.

This week GSK announced plans to become Net Zero by 2030 too. They’ve realised that their mission to make healthy people needs to ensure a healthy planet for those people to inhabit.

As GSK CEO Emma Walmsley, said, “As a global healthcare company, we want to play our full part in protecting and restoring the planet’s health, in order to protect and improve people’s health. Improving the environmental sustainability of our business also makes us more resilient, protecting our operations, so we can deliver the products that patients and consumers rely on.”

In fact, thanks to the efforts of the organisation Science Based Targets over 1000 companies from across Europe have signed up. Check the list on their website and see if your organisation has signed up to back the emissions reductions the scientists are recommending and if not go and ask your management team why not.

As these large organisations are finding the business benefits of measuring and reducing your emissions are clear:

  1. Minimise waste and costs
  2. Improve employee satisfaction/engagement
  3. Gain a competitive advantage by reassuring your customers that your operations aren’t harming the planet we all share.

All these benefits apply regardless of the size of your business.

Earth Day 2020

Today, Wed April 22nd 2020 marks the 50th Earth Day. The Earth Day movement has been running since 1970 and getting louder each year.

I really love the fact the environmental movement seemed to take off once the iconic Blue Marble photograph was taken in December 1972 by astronaut Harrison Schmitt on the Apollo 17 mission.

In fact Wikipedia states that this is one of the most widely distributed images of all time, which gives us hope in a world of Kim Kardashian selfies.

The Earth Day 2020 mission:

Our world needs transformational change. It’s time for the world to hold sectors accountable for their role in our environmental crisis while also calling for bold, creative, and innovative solutions. This will require action at all levels, from business and investment to city and national government.

Earth Day website

That’s where we come in.

As individuals, staff members, directors and industry leaders the time for bold, creative and innovative solutions is now and we’re the people who must deliver it for our planet.

Before it is too late.

Covid-19 Provides a Welcome Check and Reset of Our Compass

Covid-19 certainly put the brakes on our company launch! 

For the first few weeks of the lockdown here in the UK, most businesses were solely concerned with survival, making sense of the Government’s support packages, and trying to ensure staff could work from home effectively.

Now that we’ve established our routines and worked out our emergency short-term survival strategies business leaders are now starting to look up and ahead to the future and to make sense of their place in a post COVID world – whatever shape that takes.

The RSA has published a fascinating set of insights based on a YouGov Poll of over 4500 respondents in conjunction with the food industry. It reveals some fascinating insights into how the psyche of the British public has changed over the last few weeks. More importantly, it shows how their attitudes are likely to change once we start our recovery.

Amazingly the poll finds that a massive majority of 85% of respondents want to see personal or social changes that they have experienced continue in the future. Only 9% want everything to go back to how it was before the pandemic.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screenshot-2020-04-17-at-17.23.30-1024x428.png
Graph from the RSA report

According to the poll, and also anecdotally speaking to our contacts, people have enjoyed feeling fitter through more exercise, have been eating better by cooking from scratch, have felt an increase in the sense of community and have appreciated the cleaner air.

We think this means they’re going to be looking not only at businesses from a consumer point of view but also considering the type of organisation they work for, and ones that help support their vision for a better future.

You can read the story in full on the RSA website and download the full dataset here