A roadmap to Net Zero: The how? and why? of carbon reduction for your business

Business Insights

The climate crisis

The climate crisis is the most pressing issue of this generation. Global emissions and temperatures are continuing to rise and reaching record levels, and the disastrous consequences of this on our climate, oceans, and biodiversity are already clearly visible. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) special report published in 2018 detailed the devastating impacts on the world if global warming reached over 1.5 degrees warming above pre-industrial levels. Impacts include coral reefs ceasing to exist, annual heatwaves causing wildfires and droughts, ice sheets collapsing, the wipe out of species, and millions of lives at risk.

More recently, the IPCC published its 6th Assessment Report on the Physical Science Basis of climate change. This built on the previous report as a code red for humanity, highlighting the scale of the climate emergency and need for countries and governments to take rapid action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The disturbing findings showed that warming is projected to hit that 1.5 degree threshold between 2030 and 2035, no matter what the scenario. Only drastic and urgent action to reach the net zero carbon emissions target within the carbon budget will limit the impacts and enable warming to decrease back below 1.5 degrees. The report comes at a crucial time ahead of the Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in November 2021, where countries will need to agree to take actions which are proportionate to the scale of the climate crisis. Signatories to the Paris agreement will need to raise their ambitions for mitigating climate change in line with these findings.

Although the 6th Assessment Report provides perhaps the most concerning outlook yet, there are opportunities for organisations looking to embrace, adapt and reduce their emissions (as well as increasing risks for those who fail to take action).

Roadmap to Net Zero

Net zero means reducing emissions as much as possible whilst acknowledging that where greenhouse gas emissions still occur, they must be offset entirely through long term carbon capture or storage. The UK’s legally binding net-zero target by 2050 will likely mean further requirements for businesses will be introduced in the coming years. A recent poll conducted by O2 and the British Chambers of Commerce, found that just 1 in 10 SMEs are measuring the carbon footprint of their operations, with one of the main challenges being a lack of in-house understanding or expertise.

A roadmap to net zero can be broken down into 4 stages:


This is calculating how much carbon an organisation or product generates and is commonly referred to as a carbon footprint.


Once you’ve completed a carbon footprint, you might want to set a target to reduce your footprint over time. You might also want to consider working towards a Science Based Target or a commitment to Net Zero.


You can utilise carbon specialist consultants to help you achieve your targets via their provision of carbon management plans with specific actions and suggestions based on the latest technologies available, as well as for insight into future developments and onsite audits by energy professionals to recommend specific areas for improvement.


Offsetting plays an important role in achieving carbon neutrality or Net Zero, as many organisations, despite efforts to reduce their own, have unavoidable GHG emissions, so they use offsets to compensate them. An external consultant can help you to procure high quality, third party verified offsets to use alongside reductions in emissions as part of your carbon management strategy

Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG)

More and more companies are coming under increasing pressure from investors, regulators, employees and customers to not only monitor and reduce their carbon emissions, but to incorporate this into a wider sustainability strategy, accounting for all ESG factors.

ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance and is a framework used by organisations to evaluate their success beyond short-term profit, aiming to create positive social and environmental outcomes, and achieve long-term sustainability.

Not only does ESG assess a company’s environmental impact and stewardship via environmental criteria, it also evaluates how a company manages relationships with and creates value for stakeholders via social criteria, and addresses company leadership and management philosophy, practices and policies via governance criteria.

Businesses can address these areas and achieve their sustainability goals by working with Comply Direct, a leading sustainability consultancy providing carbon management and full ESG project management which can you read about HERE